Culture & Art

Dec 1, 2017

ENTER WITH THE RIGHT FOOT

New Year's Eve is a time to renew vows, make plans and take resolutions. Surrounded by symbolism, the date is celebrated in different ways around the globe and there is no shortage of superstitions and rituals performed on New Year's Eve to bring good luck or let the evils behind.

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By NARUTO SHIZUKA

The beginning of a new year is one of the most expected dates of the world and, to celebrate it, people around the world have a variety of superstitions, including eating special foods or special clothes, among others.

In several countries will light bonfires to celebrate the arrival of the new year. Celebrations related to explosions and fireworks are often indicated to announce the new year.

In Greece, a special bread called "Vasilopita" is served at midnight of the new year. A coin is typically baked inside the bread. The bread is cut precisely at midnight and whoever gets the coin, as a reward, will have good luck in the coming year.

In France "New Year's Eve" is celebrated with a party of luxury foods, such as 'foie gras' and champagne, and sometimes presents. In Turkey, gifts are exchanged during a feast of traditional Turkish food.

In Spain, it's tradition that you have to eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year's Eve. Each grape represents a month of the next year. The sweetness of each grape determines the nature of the month – sweet grapes represent good months, green grapes represent rough months.

But, as tradition also demands, it is necessary to wear some new clothes. However, as we are all different, we have different customs and forms of dress during new year celebrations. So, Philippines wear clothes with circles, as balls. In Venezuela, people are looking for love in the new year wearing red underwear. In Ecuador, wearing yellow underwear, is believed to bring positivity to the new year.

In the superstition chapter, there are also big differences. In the Philippines, throwing coins at midnight, encourages the creation of wealth in the year that begins. In Mexico, the various superstitious traditions are observed – including hanging dolls in the form of sheep in door handles, for prosperity.

Only two items are identical in almost everywhere in the world: the champagne and the kiss.

Worldwide, the most popular drink on New Year's Eve is champagne. Across Europe and in America the drink is usual, often accompanied by a toast. In Russia, however, a mixed drink with vodka, lemon juice and tap water is the most requested at midnight, called "dirty water" consumed to ward off bad luck.

It is also common in practically the whole planet people kissing at midnight of the new year. This can be a romantic gesture, but it's also a sign of new year's greeting, as well as each other, and wishing the person you're kissing a happy, healthy and lucky year. It can also mean that you want to your partner a year full of affection and good relations with people.

Around the world

Probably the most famous tradition in the United States is the launch of the New Year's Eve ball in Times Square in New York, at 11:59 pm. Thousands gather to watch a big ball stuck in a building make a descent of a minute, coming exactly at midnight. The tradition began in 1907.

On the other hand, in Germany, the pig symbolizes good luck in the new year celebration. The celebrations often include banquets and the piglet as one of the dishes. The tables are decorated with miniature pigs made of marzipan (sweet pastry), sugar, cookie dough or chocolate. Among the Germanic people, the pigs were a sign of abundance, fertility and wealth. For centuries, who owned a pig was considered wealthy.

Back in Rome, January 1st is the day some courageous risk, jumping from the bridge of Sant'angelo into the Tiber River. The jump is considered too risky because the river is too shallow to support this type of dives. In addition, the water is pretty cold this time of year (winter in the northern hemisphere). The first jump was held in 1946. Many Italians go to the place only to watch the jumps. For practitioners, the diving is a way to attract good luck.

In Denmark it is usual, at midnight on 31 December, the Danes to climb and jump off chairs, hoping to banish all evil spirits and bring good luck. Also, to break plates on the doors of their friends as a token of friendship and loyalty. A large amount of broken glass in front of the House demonstrates that the tenant has many friends.

On the other hand, in some Dutch cities are lit bonfires to burn Christmas trees. Dives are organized into a series of lakes, canals and in the North Sea. The events are televised and participants are seen with admiration, because this time of year the country usually register negative temperatures.

The Ecuadorians, in their turn, gather to burn photos and images that represent something they don't like and do not wish to have on their lives in the new year.

In London, on the first day of the year occurs the traditional "London New Year's Parade". The parade with the participation of artists from various countries, who perform dance numbers, stunts and various performances. The parade is attended by a crowd that fills up the streets of the British capital.

Already the Austrians use lead to guess what awaits them next year. At midnight, they pour molten lead in a bowl with water and observe the figures that form. If a ball forms, it means good luck. An anchor means the person will need help in the following year. If the shape of a cross appears, it may mean that the person will die next year.

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