In the United States, the coming of a new year is met with lavish parties and declaring resolutions that may or may not last. The most common of New Year’s festivities for North America is Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve extravaganza when the entire population of New York City is packed like sardines into Times Square and the entire country zeros in on television to watch a shiny ball drop at midnight. The event of New Year’s is the most internationally celebrated holiday of the year. People of all different races, religions, cultures, and continents recognize it and embrace it in their own way.
Scotland: This is the country where the song “Auld Lang Syne” originated. Just as Americans sing it around New Year’s, so do the Scots and every other English-speaking nation on this planet. The Scottish practice this New Year’s tradition known as “first-footing”. Good luck is supposedly brought to the house where a male visits after midnight. He might bring with him a gift of money, bread, or coal for the fire. This tradition is also practiced in Great Britain.
Greece: January 1st is a celebration for St. Basil in Greek culture. St. Basil’s day is celebrated much like Christmas; people will meet for meals and exchange gifts.
Russia: Also much like Christmas tradition, Russian children look forward to a figure known as Grandfather Frost who brings them toys on New Year’s.
Spain: All work stops at midnight on New Year’s, and the people consume twelve grapes, and sometimes wine, for good luck in the coming year.
Japan: The spirit of renewal is embraced. Bonenkai parties are held with the purpose of putting out of mind the cares and concerns of the past year and open up to a new beginning. It’s also tradition to clean house. New Year’s cards are sent, and if postmarked by a certain date, delivery on January 1st is guaranteed. Gongs from the Buddhist temples ring 108 times in an effort to expel the 108 different types of human weaknesses.
Korea: The Korean nations celebrate New Year’s according to both the solar and lunar calendars. The one that falls on January 1st is the lunar celebration called So-nal, and it is their second biggest holiday. Their festive traditions are more ritualistic, involving family reunions, eating special dishes, wearing new clothes, and bowing to their elders in respect.
Whether ritualized or spontaneous, the whole world celebrates another year of life on January 1st. Respected figures are honored and friends and family come together. Good fortune and gifts are bestowed upon one another. However the New Year is embraced, nothing on earth could be more common than accepting life’s clean slate on this day that begins a new chapter in our history.
ToastPop wishes you a happy New Year!!!!