With the old year ending, and a new one closing in, we found that our thoughts tend to unite at this time of the year. Re-evaluating our past decisions, questioning new ones, and reflecting upon the events of the past year all lead us to hope for better things for the year that’s about to roll in. And that is why, for this new year, we’ve decided to think globally; what do people from all over the world do on New Year’s Eve?
In the Philippines, locals surround themselves with anything round, to symbolise coins and wealth, all in the hopes of a new year of prosperity and good health. As a result, everything in the country is round on New Year’s; from polka dots on clothes, to round food, and pockets filled with coins. It is believed that this helps keep the money flowing. Ah if only, Filipinos, if only…
One of the oldest Danish New Year’s Eve traditions is smashing plates, cups, you name it. Danish people aren’t malicious, it’s actually out of love that they smash crockery against their loved ones’ houses to wish them good luck in the new year.
If you’re ever visited Spain on New Year’s Eve, and you desire good luck and prosperity for the following year, all you need to do is eat 12 grapes, one for each month of the coming year. The trick is, you should eat one grape with each strike of the bell leading up to midnight.
In South American countries like Brazil, Mexico, and Bolivia, your fate for the new year is determined by the colour of your undies. Yes, that’s right. If you’re looking for love, red is your colour. However, if you’re just wishing for a fatter bank account like the rest of us, go for yellow.
When we say Russians, you say hardcore. You should know from the name of the country that you’re in for hardcore celebrations. We’re talking drinking the ashes of the burned paper that your wish is written on, in a glass of Champagne (we expected vodka).
Burn baby burn; that is the motto for the New Year’s Eve in Ecuador. To cast off any bad mojo or bad events that went down, Ecuadorians burn scarecrows filled with paper, old photographs, you name it. Listen to Ecuadorians, maybe they got it right; turn all your shit into ashes, perhaps that’ll make the new year better.
The Greek eat a cake called Vasilópita, in which there’s a coin or a small object of some value, and it’s a known tradition that whoever gets the lucky slice (if they don’t crack a tooth first) will secure a lot of good luck for the coming year. Greeks also turn off the lights until midnight so that they can start the new year with fresh eyes.
The Japanese are a special folk. You see, all they want for the new year is to rid themselves of their past year’s sins. The only catch is, it can only be accomplished by ringing their bells 108 times. Buddhist temples ring their bells 108 times when the clock strikes 12.
While in Egypt we have the Turkish coffee readings, in Germany, they take it to a whole new level. Germans melt lead in a spoon using a candle. After the lead melts, they throw it into cold water; and the shape that the lead settles on in the water should offer you clear guidance as to your fortune for the next year. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
The Swiss are just like the lot of us, more money equals happier people. And to accomplish this, they believe that dropping whipped cream or ice-cream on the ground equals richness for the upcoming year. It almost pains us to think of all the abandoned ice-cream and whipped cream scoops on street pavements…
By Dina Khafagy