Lifestyle

New Year's traditions from across the world

Countries across the world celebrate New Year's but not all at the same time or in the same way.

After conducting some research, a list has been complied of traditions that some countries hold near and dear to their heart.

Ireland 

Let's begin in our own home - Ireland.

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Aside from nights out with friends or nights in with family and loved ones, what do we as a nation do to celebrate?

According to Google and some people around the office, below are the most popular New Years traditions here.

Opening the front and back door. This allows the new to enter through the front door while the old is released through the back door.

After some Googling, it was discovered that we also leave a space at the table for those we have lost the past year. This is not something I have heard before, but perhaps it's still done!

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The most common answers were that the Irish like to go out partying, enjoy a New Year's Kiss, and make some resolutions for the year to come.

Spain

In Spain, the tradition is to try to eat 12 grapes.

When the clock strikes midnight, Spaniards try to eat one grape per chime.

Those who don’t manage to eat all grapes at the right time face the threat of bad luck for the following year.

If you do gobble all your grapes, good luck, prosperity, and happiness are said to be coming your way.

France

The French usually begin their New Year's Eve with a quiet dinner with some family and close friends.

Some like to dress up for the dinner, as costume parties are very popular while ringing in the New Year.

Unlike in Ireland, mistletoe is used on New Year's rather than Christmas. The big difference is that in France, the aim is not to kiss one special person as the clock strikes twelve, but to kiss everybody.

After dinner, usually people do one of two things; either head to a club or head outside where people will be enjoying a street party.

In Paris, the most popular locations for these kind of parties are at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

In terms of New Years superstitions, some regard the weather as a prediction for the year to come.

Wind blowing east means fruit will yield, wind blowing west means fish and livestock will flourish, if wind blows south there will be good weather all year round, but wind blowing north predicts that there will be crop failure.

Poland

In Poland on New Year's, food is the star of the show.

If you are to celebrate the occasion in Poland, you can expect to see tables heavy with hot food.

Although, if invited into a Poles home on New Year's Eve, don't expect it to be spotlessly clean.

The New Year is the only time that Polish housewives or husbands do not stress about shining floors and windows.

This is because some believe that while tidying, cleaning, and scrubbing, you can accidently sweep away your happiness.

Another superstition believed in Poland is that noise can scare away evil forces. For that reason, firework displays that are louder that usual take place.

In the past, young boys used to run around with rattles trying to get rid of anything that could bring misfortune to the coming year.

Portugal 

The celebration of New Year's Eve in Portugal is called Réveillon.

The country has many traditions, but not all can be completed every year, as you only have 12 seconds to do each!

Similar to Spain, one tradition is to eat 12 raisins, one on each chime of the clock.

You make a wish for each raisin eaten, and it's believed that one raisin represents one month of the year.

Wearing brand new underwear is another tradition the Portuguese enjoy.

The colour of your new underwear is selected based on what you want from the coming year, with each colour representing something different.

Blue brings luck, red represents passion, pink predicts love, yellow wields wealth, green gets good health, while white is said to transfer tranquility.

Argentina

In Argentina, it is common to take a step from a couch, chair, or any small height.

This allows you to "step into the new year."

Usually, people will 'step' into the new year leading with their right foot to ensure you are stepping in with the right food forward.

Because it is the Summer in Argentina on New Year's, it is common to have parties outdoors or on the beach, ending with a display of fireworks.

The Argentine women, similar to those in Portugal, like to wear pink underwear on New Year's Eve.

Pink underwear is said to bring love your way the following year.

Turkey 

Interestingly, people in Turkey smash pomegranate on their doorways on New Year’s.

The superstition is that the more seeds that burst out of your fruit, the more good fortune you will have coming your way.

Aside from this, gathering with family for a feast is one of the most popular ways to celebrate New Year's.

Some enjoy playing board games and watch special programmes on TV after dinner.

Belly dancing is a less common, but still acknowledged, Turkish tradition.

Ghana

In Ghana, New Year's Eve is not necessarily something that is celebrated, per se.

Generally, Ghanaians spend the day preparing for the New Year.

When night comes, they take part in something called a 'crossover' or 'night vigil.'

This involves people heading to churches or places of worship and 'crossing' into the New Year.

Drumming, singing, gestures of recognition, and prayers take place during this sacred ceremony.

Suriname 

On New Year's Day, hundreds of people go to Elly Purperhart on Independence Square for their annual swit watra wasi or sweet water cleanse.

This consists of water with added aromatic liquids, herbs, and flowers.

People either receive the swit watra from a gourd to wash their hands, arms, neck, and face on the spot, or they take a bottle home for washing or bathing.

Following their swit watra wasi, they can rest assured that they are entering the New Year as a cleansed human.

The myth in Suriname is that the beginning of a New Year is the perfect time to start a fresh life.

As well as this, the streets and houses are decorated with lights and other ornamental things.

People spend time with family and friends on New Year's Eve, and once the clock strikes midnight, houses are left so people can gather in concert and wish others well.

El Salvador

El Salvador has one of the most unique traditions I have heard about so far.

One minute before midnight on New Year's Eve, people crack an egg into a glass of water and leave it by an open window.

In the morning, whatever shape your egg has taken represents what will bring you good fortune for the year.

Another tradition sees people wearing their underwear inside out for the last few hours of the old year.

After midnight, they can be returned to the correct position.

This is said to bring new clothing to your wardrobe in the New Year.

Botswana 

For the youth in Botswana, New Year's Eve is a very exciting time.

The norm is to descend on Maun to find the best party. Here, fireworks will begin once the clock strikes midnight and people can be heard screaming "happieee."

For the elders, it's a little bit less exciting.

Like Ghanaians, they spend New Years Eve in crossover services.

They begin at 6pm and end at 6am on January 1st.

It is believed that at midnight, breakthroughs and blessings for the new year are imparted to the people by God.

It is important that you are awake and in church to receive this, as it is believed that if you are sleeping, these gifts can be stolen from you by powers of darkness.

Texas

Texans like to spend New Year's with a full belly and happy heart.

Therefore the New Year's Eve meal is a very important tradition.

Salted pork and jalapenos are foods commonly included in meals.

Black eyed peas are also added in.

Due to their swelling up while cooking, it is believed the peas bring prosperity to those who eat them.

If served with a side of collard greens, your meal will be welcoming wealth into the New Year for you.

Regardless of your traditions or beliefs, New Year's Eve should be a time of family, friends, and fun.

WLR wishes everyone a very Happy and Healthy New Year.

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