Every culture and community has its own set of beliefs pertaining to the ways of going about things. For instance, there is an all too common Indian tradition where mothers and grandmothers make their children eat sweetened curd before carrying out an important task such as giving an exam, to bring good luck and success in that task! Similar are the following top 10 New Year customs and superstitions from different places around the globe :
It’s Karma, people!
Many people in India believe that whether or not your new year will be a good one, really depends on whether you perform a good/bad deed on the first day of the new year. What goes around, comes back around …apparently all through the year according to this superstition!
There goes the ball!
Every New Year’s eve at 11:59 pm, a time ball atop the roof of One Times Square, in New York City, descends towards the ground in exactly 60 seconds and marks the beginning of the New Year as it comes to a halt. The ball drop is a major event in NYC where hundreds of people gather to celebrate. Hats, balloons, fireworks, and live performances are common sightings during the event!
Auld Lang Syne
‘Auld Lang Syne’ is an old, melodious Scottish song written by Robert Burns in 1788 and is translated as “times gone by” or “old times”. The song has now become widely associated with New Year celebrations. It has also been translated, as well as modified, in many languages such as Bengali, Danish, and Japanese.
In Spain, people quickly eat 12 grapes in the last 12 seconds before midnight on New Year’s eve which is said to bring good luck through all the 12 months of the new year!
Oshogatsu (Japanese New Year)
The Japanese believe that laughing as soon as the New Year arrives willbring them good luck. Moreover, in Buddhist temples, the bells strike 108 times at midnight on December 31 , indicating the expulsion of the 108 types of human vulnerabilities. Being a major festival in Japan, the New Year’s Day is celebrated in all its glory where houses are decorated with bamboos and evergreen plants (said to bring good luck and eternal life) , children are given gifts, and people participate in “forget the year parties” running throughout December to forgive and forget the negative things of the past.
New Year’s Resolutions
People throughout the world make resolutions for the New Year, where they include both short-term and long-term goals, some sweet gestures,and some seemingly impossible tasks. Making resolutions instills in us a sense of determination and encourages us to fulfill all that we wish to. Actual estimates as to how many of these are really carried out are a different matter…
Good Luck Undies
In Central and South America, wearing yellow underwear during New Year’s eve is said to increase one’s riches whereas red underwear is said to bring love. Heading to the store now, are you?
Watch your foot!
The Scottish New Year, called “Hogmanay” apart from other festivities, involves a prominent custom of “first footing” where if a tall, handsome, dark haired man with gifts like shortbread, salt and whisky is the first person to enter your house after midnight on New Year’s eve, you will be showered with good luck.
Kissing your lover (or someone you want to be with) as soon as the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s is believed to bring good luck.
Party the night away!
Lastly, organizing and attending New Year Balls and parties is something that all of us look forward to eagerly. Fireworks, music, dancing, eating, drinking, and faces glowing with smiles and laughter are some common elements of all New Year celebrations!
These customs and superstitions are only a few in a bunch of others! No matter what the harbinger of good luck is, the one thing that will never change is welcoming the New Year with a happiness that comes straight from the heart. Happy New Year!