There are many New Years Day traditions from around the world! How many of these did you and your friends celebrate?! What are some of your traditions? Twisted History would love to hear!
Make Some Noise
Making a lot of noise—from fireworks to gun shots to church bells—seems to be a favorite pastime around the world.
- In ancient Thailand, guns were fired to frighten off demons.
- In China, firecrackers routed the forces of darkness.
- In the early American colonies, the sound of pistol shots rang through the air.
- Italians let their church bells peal
- the Swiss beat drums
- North Americans sound sirens and party horns to bid the old year farewell.
Eat Lucky Food
Many New Year’s traditions surround food
- The tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight comes from Spain. Revelers stuff their mouths with 12 grapes in the final moments of the year—one grape for every chime of the clock!
- In the southern US, black-eyed peas and pork foretell good fortune
- In Scotland people parade down the streets swinging balls of fire.
- Eating any ring-shaped treat (such as a donut) symbolises “coming full circle” and leads to good fortune. In Dutch homes, fritters called olie bollen are served.
- The Irish enjoy pastries called bannocks.
- In India and Pakistan, rice promises prosperity.
- Apples dipped in honey are a Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) tradition.
- In Swiss homes, dollops of whipped cream, symbolising the richness of the year to come, are dropped on the floors—and allowed to remain there!
Have a Drink
Although the pop of a champagne cork signals the arrival of the New Year around the world, some countries have their own beverage-based traditions.
- Wassail, a punch-like drink named after the Gaelic term for “good health,” is served in some parts of England.
- Spiced “hot pint” is the Scottish version of Wassail. Traditionally, the Scots drank to each others’ prosperity and also offered this warm drink to neighbors along with a small gift.
- In Holland, toasts are made with hot, spiced wine.
Give a Gift
New Year’s Day was once the time to swap presents.
- Gifts of gilded nuts or coins marked the start of the new year in Rome.
- Eggs, the symbol of fertility, were exchanged by the Persians.
- Early Egyptians traded earthenware flasks.
- In Scotland, coal, shortbread and silverware were traditionally exchanged for good luck.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
In Scotland, the custom of first-footing is an important part of the celebration of Hogmanay, or New Year’s Eve day.
After midnight, family and friends visit each other’s home. The “first foot” to cross a threshold after midnight will predict the next year’s fortune. Although the tradition varies, those deemed especially fortunate as “first footers” are new brides, new mothers, those who are tall and dark (and handsome?) or anyone born on January 1.
Turn Over a New Leaf
The dawn of a new year is an opportune time to take stock of your life.
- Jews who observe Rosh Hashanah make time for personal introspection and prayer, as well as visiting graves.
- Christian churches hold “watch-night” services, a custom that began in 1770 at Old St. Georges Methodist Church in Philadelphia.
- The practice of making New Year’s resolutions, said to have begun with the Babylonians as early as 2600 B.C., is another way to reflect on the past and plan ahead.
New Years Folklore
Some customs and beliefs are simply passed down through the ages. Here are some of our favorite age-old sayings and proverbs.
- On New Year’s Eve, kiss the person you hope to keep kissing.
- If New Year’s Eve night wind blow south, It betokeneth warmth and growth.
- For abundance in the new year, fill your pockets and cupboards today.
- If the old year goes out like a lion, the new year will come in like a lamb
- the darkest person would renter the house first – a tradition relating to coal mining days
- No washing clothes on the last day of the year as you will wash someone out of your life!
Some Information courtesy of www.almanac.com