Tired of watching the ball drop in Times Square on TV every New Year’s Eve? Mix it up this year by celebrating the New Year with some international flair. Although some of these traditions from around the world may seem odd to us, watching a ball go down a pole must seem a little strange to people in other countries.
While revelers in the U.S. are drinking champagne at midnight, Spaniards are going straight to the source by eating one grape each time the bell strikes to signal in the New Year. Eating twelve grapes is said to bring a prosperous year. Observing this tradition actually requires a little skill and small grapes in order to stay in time with the clanging of the bell. Try not to have too much fun, because laughing will slow you down.
Don’t try the Spanish tradition of eating grapes at midnight in Japan. There they ring bells not 12 but 108 times at midnight. That’s a lot of grapes. Fortunately, the tradition in Japan is to eat soba noodles before midnight to bring luck and a long life, symbolized by the long noodles.
Not all good luck is brought on by eating the right food. In Latin America, your underwear choice for New Year’s Eve plays an important part in the year ahead. Most people don red underwear for luck, especially in their love life. In Puerto Rico, yellow underwear is the norm as a wish for good health. Colombians opt for yellow in the hope of a happy and peaceful year.
In Ireland, banging bread against the walls and doors of the house is said to ward off evil spirits. Of course, this method for scaring off the bad spirits won’t work unless authentic Irish soda bread is used which is hearty enough to not fall apart when slammed into a wall. (Hmm, maybe that’s why they’d rather not actually eat it.)
This is not a tradition that you want to try at home. The people of Equador observe the New Year by making scarecrow dolls and lighting them on fire at midnight to purge all of the bad things of the previous year and start anew. The tradition has evolved from scarecrows to lighting effigies of politicians or notorious people on fire.
In Bolivia, coins are baked into cakes and other sweets. The lucky person who finds a coin in their dessert will have their luck last all year long. Use quarters since smaller coins like dimes may accidentally get eaten which would not be lucky at all.
No matter which traditions you observe, have a Happy New Year from all of us at Home Care Assistance in Fort Worth.