First Community Financial Group, Inc. Blog
You can’t say goodbye to 2023 and welcome another year without celebrating New Year’s Eve. Various countries have their own traditions and celebrations, but there are also common ways to celebrate this special occasion.
Eating Good Luck Food
One of the highlights of New Year’s Eve is the different kinds of food to be shared with family and friends. However, as we’re anticipating a better year, we also love to pick those that have meanings and let us bring good luck, like the following examples:
12 Grapes at Midnight
A popular tradition in Spain includes eating 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve — that’s one grape at each stroke of the clock at midnight. These grapes represent the 12 months, and you have to eat all of them to enjoy a lucky year. Otherwise, the upcoming year might be harsh to you. So, you better chew all of them before the clock stops chiming!
In Greece, Mexico, the Netherlands, and other countries, round cakes symbolize the circle of life. Others would put some trinkets or coins inside the cake. Then, if you’re lucky to get it, you’re expected to experience good luck in the coming year.
PorkPigs symbolize progress in countries like Austria, Portugal, and Cuba. So, eating pork on New Years’ Eve is common as a way to attract prosperity for the next 365 days.
Legumes look like old Roman coins and symbolize financial prosperity. That is why Italians have lentils, and Americans add black-eyed peas to their dishes on New Year’s Eve.
Long noodles are thought to give you a longer and healthier life. You’re supposed to eat them while making sure they don’t break in half. Meanwhile, in Japan, people eat soba noodles on NYE to symbolize their journey from the old year to the new one. This also means leaving behind their regrets in the last year.
Wearing the Right Underwear
A few countries, particularly in Latin America, have this superstition that you can manifest success and prosperity if you choose the right color of underwear. For instance, if you want to get lucky in love and relationships, wear red underwear on NYE. Meanwhile, yellow underwear could bring you luck, money, and happiness.
Sharing a Midnight Kiss
Another popular New Year’s Eve tradition that most people, if not all, love is the midnight kiss — with your partner or even a new friend. Wondering how this part of the history of New Year’s Eve started? It’s thought to be from Saturnalia, a pagan festival in ancient Rome, which involved a lot of singing, dancing, drinking, socializing, sharing gifts, and kissing!
In German and English folklore, a midnight kiss is a great way to start the New Year as it would help you bring good luck. Also, it’s believed that the person you kissed contributes to the fate of your year. So, you might want to pick your partner carefully.
Making New Year’s Resolutions
From achieving a healthier body, spending more time with family, and pursuing goals and aspirations, to loving ourselves more, we’re fond of creating New Year’s resolutions. However, did you know that this tradition started about four millennia ago? Babylonians would make promises to the gods to ask for a better year.
Then, Romans would also offer sacrifices and promise Janus to show good deeds. These include returning farm tools that they borrowed from others and settling their debts. Meanwhile, Christians treat the occasion as a time to learn from their shortcomings in the past year and focus on ways to become better for the upcoming year. While the spiritual side of New Year’s resolutions is gone, creating New Year’s resolutions has been centered on personal development.
Ringing in the New Year also involves throwing fireworks or using different types of noisemakers. If you want to know when or where the firework tradition began, we have to go back to the seventh century A.D. in China.
Fireworks were meant to scare off evil spirits. They’re also known to bring prosperity and good luck. Even different designs and colors correspond to various types of luck, including fertility, love, and health.
Keeping Doors and Windows Open
It may be cold on New Year’s Eve, so keeping your doors and windows open might not be a good idea. However, in the Philippines, doing this at midnight helps you get rid of the negative energy from last year and attract good energy for the upcoming year.
Hanging Onions on Your Door
This sounds like another bad idea as your home might not look or smell great during New Year’s Eve. However, in Greece, this practice means growth and rebirth. Parents would then ask their children to put the onions on their heads to draw good luck for the year to come.
Throwing Water Out the Window
Another practice believed to ward off evil spirits is throwing water out the window on NYE. This is especially popular in Latin America. The tradition also symbolizes renewal, making it a good way to say goodbye to the old year and start a new one.
Wearing White Clothing
In Brazil, a beach getaway is a common way to celebrate New Year. However, people there also love to wear white outfits during New Year’s Eve to experience good luck and peace for next year.
Singing Auld Lang Syne
If you’ve been to some New Year’s Eve party, you must have heard people singing the Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne.” In the English language, it means “old long since” or “for the sake of old times.” Want to know more about the origin of this popular song? In 1788, Robert Burns wrote this poem in the Scots language. However, it was inspired by a Scottish folk song.
Even if you don’t know or understand the lyrics, you’ll still enjoy it, with everyone forming a circle, singing, and holding each other’s hands. While “Auld Lang Syne” is about old friends and memories, it’s also a perfect song to bid farewell to an old year and welcome a new one.
Dropping the Ball on NYE
Watching the ball drop at midnight — either in person or on TV — in Times Square has been embedded in the history of New Year’s Eve too. However, you might ask how this tradition even began. Back in the day, sailors would use what’s known as time balls or chronometers for setting their timepieces. Through a spyglass, they would navigate the harbor and find balls thrown into the water at specific periods.
In 1829, the earliest time ball was dropped in Portsmouth. England. Another one was used in 1845 in Washington, D.C. Then, in 1907, the tradition of dropping the ball in Times Square on New Year’s Eve began.
Having a Toast
One of the most popular ways to welcome the upcoming year is to make a champagne toast. It originates from Christians’ tradition of drinking wine in the Eucharist symbolizing the blood of Christ.
In the Champagne region in France, wine started becoming present during baptisms. Thus, it was slowly being used in any religious gatherings. Ancient people would also raise their glass and drink to health and honor. Now, individuals from different parts of the world would make that toast to ring in the New Year.