How New Year is Celebrated Around The Globe
New Year's Eve is almost upon us which means most of us will end up at a party having a little too much to drink, perhaps watching some fireworks or just watching the countdown on TV before heading to bed but around the world, NYE celebrations vary wildly and involve unique and exciting traditions. Here we take a look at a few ways the world celebrates.
1. Hogmanay - Scotland
Referring to the celebrations by their Gaelic name of Hogmanay, this is actually a 3-day event in Scotland and most of the action takes place in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh as they pay tribute to their Viking roots with a 'river of fire' as 8,000 revellers holding torches light up Old Town's streets, from Parliament Square to Calton Hill and pipers, drummers and folk in full warrior garb roll through.
Traditional dances of ceilidhs can be found up and down the country whilst just outside of Edinburgh city you can take part in the Loony Dook where costumed revelers plunge themselves into the icy waters of the Firth of Forth.
2. Grapes At Midnight - Spain
Many people in Spain can be found with 12 grapes in hand at the stroke of midnight as they try to each one with each ring of the bells and if you can manage this, you are destined to have a prosperous year ahead of you.
Some make it harder by trying to do it with a cocktail stick but head to Puerta del Sol in Madrid for Nochevieja, and you'll find many enjoying the fireworks with grapes in solid form in one hand and in liquid form in the other.
3. Smashing Crockery - Denmark
Whilst most people would probably try and avoid smashing things up, Danes store up their chipped plates, glasses, and crockery over the year and then take them to their friend's doors and hurl them hard to make sure they shatter on the doorstep.
The more shards on your doorstep in the New Year, the more popular you are, and the better year you will have.
4. Offerings To The Sea - Brazil
Those living near the coast of Brazil often head to the sea as the new year greets them in order to offer bouquets or flower petals to the goddess of the waters.
Many will wear white to bring peace to them, and it is good luck to jump seven waves as you wade out into the water.
5. Eating 7, 9 or 12 Times - Estonia
Almost everyone over indulges during the festive period but Lithuanian's take this to its farthest degree on NYE by eating 7, 9 or 12 times on the eve of the coming year as the tradition goes, eating seven, nine, or 12 times means you'll have the strength of that many men with those numbers being the lucky ones.
It is best to leave some food on your plate after each meal though so to please your ancestors with something they can enjoy too.
6. Ice Baths and Peeling Bells - Japan
According to the Buddhist tradition, 108 is the number of human desires and thus, causes of suffering so by ringing bells 108 times, it scares off bad spirits and brings in good luck and faith in the new year.
Others will wear all white before stripping down and bathing themselves in ice baths in order to cleanse themselves of sin for the New Year.
7. Junkanoo Festival - Bahamas
A festival tradition that happens on both Boxing Day and New Year starting at 2 am on the first day of the year as people take to the streets in wid and colorful costumes, dancers parade down the walkways and roads whilst musicians beat goatskin drums.
Born of a time when plantation slaves were allowed time off to celebrate Christmas as a community, these loud and vibrant celebrations now take place against a far more appealing backdrop.
8. Fortune Telling Metal - Finland & Germany
In many European countries, including Finland and Germany, they drop especially melted meta into cold water and then try and read the future from the shapes formed.
For example, if it makes the shape of a flower, it could mean they have an unknown admirer. Nice.
9. Dressing Up As Bears - Romania
According to old folk stories from Romania, bears are a special creature that has the power to protect and heal and so, just before the new year rolls around, people dress up as bears.
This is to scare off any lingering bad spirits before the start of the new year, so you get things off on the right foot.
10. Taking A Suitcase For A Walk - South America
In many parts of South America, people will take their suitcase for a stroll to encourage the coming year to bring them many adventures ahead.
The suitcase is empty to make things a little easier, but for the adventurous in life, this may be a good way to start the year.