Different places celebrate the coming of the new year in different ways. Some people watch the ball drop, some people throw parties, but everyone celebrates in their own special way. Here’s some New Year traditions from around the world:
Germany: In Germany, people used to drop molten lead into cold water and try to see the future from the shape it made; a heart or ring meant a wedding was near, a ship meant a journey, and a pig meant lots of food in the new year. On New Year’s Eve people used to put out a little bit of food from every dish until midnight to ensure a well-stocked larder.
Portugal: The Portuguese pick and eat 12 grapes from a bunch just as the clock strikes twelve to ensure 12 good months. In Northern Portugal kids go from home to home singing Janeiro’s, old songs, and are given treats and coins.
Puerto Rico: Children throw pails of water out of their windows at midnight to throw out evil spirits.
United States: In some parts of the U.S. eating black-eyed peas is thought to bring good luck for the coming year.
Spain: Spaniards also eat 12 grapes with the strike of each bell, but there’s a twist. You must finish all 12 by the end of the final toll to ensure the good luck. Additionally, you wear a red undergarment given to you by someone else.
Russia: There is no Santa Claus in Russia, instead there is Grandfather Frost who comes on New Year’s Eve dressed in blue with his bag of toys. He punishes evil doers by freezing them.
Scotland: In Scotland, New Year’s Eve is known as Hogomanay or Night of the Candle. Scots prepare for the new year by cleaning their houses. It is believed that the first person to set foot in your home on New Year’s day will determine your family’s luck. The idal “first footer” as the person is known is a tall, handsome, dark-haired man who came with a gift to ensure good fortune.
Wales: In Wales, around 3 or 4 am, the boys of a village go from house to house with an evergreen twig to sprinkle over the people in the house, and in every room to bring good luck.
In many European countries, children make early rounds to go caroling from house to house. They receive gifts at every house, but must be done before noon or they will be called fools.
I hope everyone has a Happy New Year’s Eve!