The end of the year is quickly approaching and throughout most of the world, we all have similar wishes and goals for the coming year. If you take a look at any of the traditions practiced on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day they are all meant to bring about the same things. Luck in the form of, wealth or prosperity, good health, and love are the most popular hopes people aim to achieve each year. Here in the Philadelphia area, we have some yearly traditions such as a champagne toast at midnight while watching fireworks or banging on pots and pans, but what traditions are practiced around the world?
Wealth And Prosperity
As a way to ensure prosperity for the new year, Romanians and other in some Eastern European countries will place bills under their carpet before midnight arrives.
Food is a common theme when it comes to people trying to bring about luck in the new year. Different foods are meant to bring different things to the consumer. In Italy to guarantee wealth and prosperity people will eat lentils. The lentils are said to look like Roman coins which is how the custom came about. In several parts of America and Europe, people eat greens for the new year such as cabbage. The green leaves are thought to represent money, which will hopefully come in abundance after eating lots of them on NYE.
Love In The New Year
All of us want to be loved and many people are looking for love in the new year. Ireland has a very old tradition that is still practiced by many single women today. The women will place mistletoe leaves under their pillow at night. While they are sleeping they are supposed to dream of their future partner. Hopefully, they will then have luck with love in the new year.
In Germany, some people enjoy practicing the art of fortune telling and believe they are able to see if your upcoming year will be a difficult one or if you will have a new love in your future when molten lead is poured into cold water. The shape of the cooled lead will tell what your future holds.
There is no replacement for good health, and while diet and exercise are important, some people like to stack the deck on New Year’s Eve and hope for some extra luck. In many Asian countries, long noodles are eaten on New Year’s Day as they are supposed to present a long life. There is a trick though! While eating the noodles, you must slurp them up without breaking them to get your long-life luck!
Pomegranates are considered lucky in several countries and often are representative of wealth because of the numerous seeds inside. Yet in many Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, they are traditionally eaten on New Years because of their association with fertility.
Many Germans hope for good health in the new year by practicing the tradition on rubbing chimney ashes on their forehead.
Leave The Negativity In The Past
Another year beginning is a way to start fresh. No one wants to carry negativity with them and there are ways some cultures try to keep that negative energy in the past.
In Brazil, you may see many people wearing white on New Year’s Eve. White is supposed to represent a fresh start and peace, as well as keep the negative spirits away.
In Mexico and Ecuador, many people burn effigies at midnight. Many of these “dummies” may be recognizable cartoons or politicians which are burned to symbolizing leaving the old year behind them.
In Ireland, many people will bake lots of bread and cakes to later crumble and smash against the walls and doors in an effort to keep bad spirits away. The many crumbs they create are also symbolic of a prosperous new year!