Here are a few that seemingly come out of nowhere, but remain integral pieces of some countries’ annual New Year customs. Many of the customs of New Year festivals note the passing of time with both regret and anticipation. The baby as a symbol of the new year dates to the ancient Greeks, with an old man representing the year that has passed. The Romans derived the name for the month of January from their god Janus, who had two faces, one looking backward and the other forward. The practice of making resolutions to rid oneself of bad habits and to adopt better ones also dates to ancient times.
In Sławatycze, people tour the streets dressed up as bearded men. In Norway New Year’s Eve (Nyttårsaften) is the second biggest celebration of the year, after Christmas Eve. While Christmas Eve is a family celebration, New Year’s Eve is an opportunity to celebrate with friends. Fireworks are very popular in Iceland, particularly on New Year’s Eve.
At home or at restaurants, a special type of pastry cake called “la bûche” is eaten, and black coffee or soda is often drunk with it. People eat it a few minutes before the New Year’s countdown. The Soviet film The Irony of Fate—which is set during New Year celebrations—is a staple in former Soviet countries. It is often broadcast by Russian television channels on New Year’s Eve, to the extent that it has been compared to the traditional broadcast of It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve in the United States. Since the Romanian Revolution of 1989, Romanians have gathered in the University Square in Bucharest.
You can even create a special January 1 tradition with a New Year’s Day breakfast for those early-to-bed, early-to-rise kids. The way your grandparents commemorated the New Year might have something to do with your roots. In Scotland, New Year’s Eve, or Hogmanay, as they call the last day of the year, is a bigger deal than Christmas (“Auld Lang Syne” is a Scottish song, after all). The massive party goes on for days and incorporates age-old acts, such as first-footing.
In Caracas, the bells of the Cathedral of Caracas ring twelve times. During these special programs, is a tradition to broadcast songs about the end of the year. The unofficial hymn for the first minutes of the New Year is “Año Nuevo, Vida Nueva” (“New Year, New Life”), by the band Billo’s Caracas Boys.
Let the kids get in on the fun by ripping them open in the morning. This popular tradition involves eating 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. But you have to try to finish them all before the final stroke rings out. It became especially popular for New Year’s celebrations because opening the bottle produced a firework-like POP, and the beverage flowed out in a display of abundance. The tradition of singing it at midnight on New Year’s Eve was popularized by a Canadian band, Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians.
Several trumpet and rock groups play until the early morning hours. Streets are decorated for New Year’s Eve and there is a fireworks show and concerts in all the larger cities. Restaurants, clubs, cafes and hotels are usually full of guests and they organize New Year’s Eve parties. Preparations for New Year’s Eve in Albania start with the Christmas tree, which in Albania is known as “New Year’s Tree” or “New Year’s Pine”. At midnight, everyone toasts and greets each other and fireworks are lit.
According to the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Eve is celebrated on December 31. In order to realign the Roman calendar with the sun, Julius Caesar had to add 90 extra days to the year 46 B.C. For thousands of years, New Year’s has been a festival of rebirth and reflection, allowing people all over the world to celebrate another great year. Common resolutions concern diet, exercise, bad habits, and other issues concerning personal wellness. A common view is to use the first day of the year as a clean slate to improve one’s life. Is another tradition – people go door to door visiting their neighbors and partaking in this dish.