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Posts Tagged ‘New Year’s Eve’

New Year’s Around the World

New Year's celebrations in Cambodia

New Year’s celebrations in Cambodia [photo credit: Salym Fayad, via CultureGrams photo gallery]

The New Year is coming up fast, and people around the world are preparing to celebrate. In fact, in some countries, New Year’s celebrations are the largest of the year. Check out these traditions from around the world, via CultureGrams. How are they different from (or the same as) the way you celebrate the New Year?

Burkina Faso
Burkinabè of all creeds join together to celebrate the New Year. For New Year’s Eve, adults often buy or sew new clothes or uniforms. Children typically dress in their best clothes and do the sambèsambè in the streets or at their friends’ homes. Catholic children often build crèches in front of their homes. Most Christians go to church and then return home to celebrate with food, drink, and music. In both rural and urban areas, young men often hold parties for their male and female friends that involve dancing, eating, and drinking until dawn. At midnight, they typically listen to a traditional New Year’s song and light firecrackers. In rural areas, the parties are usually held outside. To wish each other a happy New Year, men and women usually kiss each other on the cheek, and men often bump their foreheads together four times. On New Year’s Day, food and drink are served to guests, and many people pay social visits to their friends and family.

Colombia
New Year’s is surrounded by many superstitions, or agüeros. For example, on New Year’s Eve, people may wear yellow underwear as a symbol of good fortune. Some put lentils in their pockets, representing abundance. Those wishing to travel in the new year might run around the block carrying a suitcase at midnight. More generally, at midnight, people drink champagne and eat 12 grapes, one for each month of good fortune in the new year. In rural areas, people make dolls stuffed with newspaper and leave them at the entrances to their houses for a few days before the new year. These dolls, called año viejo (old year), represent the bad that people want to eliminate from the current year before moving on to the next one. They are burned on 31 December at midnight, amidst cheering, drinks, and music.

Burning of an año viejo doll in Colombia

Burning of an año viejo doll in Colombia [photo credit: Salym Fayad, via CultureGrams photo gallery]

Georgia
New Year’s is one of the most popular holidays in Georgia. Families usually celebrate New Year’s together, but parties are also arranged. On New Year’s Eve, families celebrate by eating gozinaki (a traditional food made of honey and walnuts), turkey satsivi (turkey with a walnut sauce), roast piglet, ham, khachapuri  (cheese in a wheat-flour dough), mchadi (bread made of corn flour), fish, fruit, nuts, and churchkhela (walnuts, chestnuts, or almonds strung on twine and then dipped in a grape syrup and hung to dry). The first person who comes to a home after midnight is called the first footer. Traditionally, he was chosen by the family, and no one else was allowed to enter the home before him. If the first footer is considered a lucky person in everyday life, he is thought to bring luck, prosperity, and health to the family. Families choose a different first footer the next year if the previous one is thought to have brought the family bad luck over the past year. Most families set up their Christmas tree on New Year’s Eve. Some families exchange presents on New Year’s Day. Toblisbabua (Snow Father, like Santa Claus) brings presents to some families; other families hide presents around the house for children to find.

You can find many more New Year’s traditions from around the world in the Holidays sections of CultureGrams World and Kids editions!

New Year’s by the Numbers

New Year's Eve Times Square

New Year’s Eve at Times Square
Photo credit: Anthony Quintano / iWoman / CC BY

How do you ring in the New Year? 62 percent of Americans say they stay home on New Year’s Eve, spending it with family and friends, 22% admit to falling asleep before midnight, while around 10% don’t celebrate the holiday at all. Common traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year’s foods, watching fireworks displays and making resolutions for the new year. While 45% of Americans make resolutions, only about 8% achieve them. Many people commemorate the arrival of the New Year with a champagne toast, judging by the 360 million glasses of sparkling wine that are consumed in the U.S. each year during the holiday season. Around a million people crowd into New York City’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve to watch the iconic lighted ball drop–joined by nearly 6 in 10 Americans and a billion others globally who view all or some of the televised broadcast of the festivities.

Float at Rose Bowl Parade.

Float at Rose Bowl Parade
Photo credit: Joe Mac1 / IWoman / CC BY

On New Year’s Day, many American cities hold parades. Since 1906, the people of Philadelphia have celebrated the New Year with a parade that features 15,000 Mummers in colorful and lavish costumes who dance, spin and twirl down Broad Street after a year of secret planning. This year marks the 126th Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California, which includes floral floats and marching bands and is viewed by over 80 million people around the world. The average float contains more flowers than a typical American florist will sell in five years, with up to 18 million flowers used to create all the floats that appear in the parade.

SIRS Knowledge Source offers editorially-selected and credible internet resources on vital issues and topics. You can search for sites by keyword/natural language, subject headings, or topic. Check out some of the sites below to find more information on the history and traditions of the New Year’s holiday.

New Year’s

New Year’s Traditions

New Year’s Eve in Times Square

Pasadena Tournament of Roses

New Year’s History and Traditions

New York Ushers In New Year With Celebration In Times SquareNew Year’s Eve is here, and, depending on your outlook, you might see it as the last hurrah of the holiday season or a merciful release from two months of hubbub and gluttony. Either way, here is a quick look at the origins and some of the traditions of new year celebrations via resources available in eLibrary.

The earliest commemorations of the new year go back 4,000 years to when ancient Mesopotamians held an Akitu festival near the time of the vernal equinox. Today, the Persian calendar new year, Nowruz, is still celebrated at the spring equinox in Iran and parts of the Caucasus, Central Asia and China.

In much of the world, the start of the new year is observed on January 1. This stems from widespread adoption of the Gregorian calendar., which was instituted by Pope Gregory in order to standardize the day on which Easter was celebrated.

TET Festival, Lunar New Year In VietnamAsia has many different new-year celebrations, including Thailand’s Songkran purification festival, featuring mass water fights, and Chinese New Year, a lunar-calendar event known for its lion dances and fireworks and is observed in many countries on the continent and by Chinese communities around the world. This article provides a sampling of traditional Asian new-year foods.

The traditions and beliefs associated with the New Year’s Eve and Day are seemingly endless.

In the U.S., the ball drop in Times Square at midnight is the culmination of the New Year’s Eve party in New York City and for the rest of the East Coast. The ball drop has inspired other “drops” of items, including a possum drop in North Carolina. After the ball descends, there is often singing of Auld Lang Syne, the lyrics for which are attributed to Scottish poet Robert Burns, and lots of kissing, a tradition that is traced back to the ancient Romans and their Saturnalia and winter solstice festivals.

Since New Year’s Day is seen a chance for a new beginning, it has become customary for people to make resolutions for the coming year. Having trouble keeping promises to get in shape, work harder or be nicer? Try shooting for achievable resolutions or “unresolutions.”

There are many more New Year’s customs and superstitions to be discovered in eLibrary; just start searching. Here are some round-ups to get you started: article 1, article 2, article 3. Also, see our New Year’s Eve/Day Research Topic, which, like thousands of other RTs, can be found by typing an exact-match phrase in the eLibrary search box (note the drop-down list as you are typing) and by clicking the Browse Research Topics button below the Basic Search area.