|35 New Year Traditions to Bring You Luck From Around the World
Every culture has its own ways to ring in a lucky new year. Sometimes, you have to start the year off with good luck foods to make sure you get going on the right foot. (Beans, round foods and noodles seem to be high on the list, as well as some lucky desserts!) Other times, what you wear is indicative of what will come your way, be it health, money or love. Then again, where you are when the clock strikes 12 might be more important than what you're wearing — so get ready to jump into the new year. And since everyone wants to start the year off with a blank slate, there are certain things you can do to rid your home of bad vibes and welcome in the new.
So, no matter how you choose to celebrate New Year's Eve, be it with a lavish New Year's Eve dinner that spans two years, a quiet night at home watching New Year's movies or a planning session that starts making wishes, see if you can take some time to squeeze in one of these New Year's good-luck traditions as well. Because we could all use some good fortune coming our way in 2022!
Have Hoppin' John for New Year's Day Dinner
It's said that anyone who makes this dish of black-eyed peas, pork and rice on January 1 will experience luck and peace for the rest of the year. And maybe prosperity, too: According to History.com, "Hoppin’ John was, and still is, often eaten with collard greens, which can resemble paper money, and 'golden' cornbread. The peas themselves represent coins. Some families boost the potential of their Hoppin’ John by placing a penny underneath the dishes — or adding extra pork, which is thought to bring more luck."
Or Try Something Else Round
Many cultures believe eating round foods on New Year's Eve will lead to prosperity. In Italy, lentils in a New Year's dish serve the same function as the black-eyed peas in Hoppin' John, with their round shape representing coins. And in the Philippines, it's customary to eat 12 round fruits, one for every month, to ensure a year of abundance. The fruits usually take center stage at the table for the media noche, or the midnight meal.
Dress in Dots
And in the Philippines, revelers don't just try to eat circles — partygoers wear them, too. Polka dots are all the rage on December 31, increasing the chances for a fortunate new year.
Watch Something Drop
Crowds have been gathering in New York City's Times Square to watch the ball drop since 1907. And while the first one was just iron and wood, today you can watch a 12-foot, 11,875-pound geodesic sphere covered in 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles and 32,256 LEDs make its descent, even from the warmth and comfort of your own home. Or, you can see something else fall as a visual countdown to the new year: Plymouth, Wisconsin hosts a Big Cheese Drop; Kennett Square, PA uses a giant mushroom and New Orleans drops a fleur de lis (formerly a big gumbo pot). No matter what symbol is used, it does make for a dramatic countdown.
Brazil makes it easier too choose your New Year's Eve outfit — everyone wears white for good luck and peace. Plus, matching outfits make for good photos!
Jump Seven Waves
Also in Brazil, if you head to the beach, you can increase your luck by heading to the water and jumping over seven waves. You get one wish for each wave.
Christmas was banned in Soviet Russia, so New Year's became the big gift-giving occasion. Presents were delivered not by Santa but by Ded Moroz, or Father Frost, often aided by his granddaughter, Snegourochka. Anyone ready for another round of gifts?
Make a Resolution
You might think that making resolutions for the new years is a relatively recent trend, historically speaking, but the tradition is very old — probably more than 4,000 years old, in fact. Historians believe Babylonians — one of the first cultures to actually celebrate the changing of the year — made promises to pay debts or return borrowed objects. If they could do it, so can you. Need help figuring out your 2022 goal? Good Housekeeping has achievable New Year's resolution suggestions ready and waiting for you.
Make a Fish Dish
Fish is considered another good New Year's entrée, since fish only swim in one direction — forward, like the movement of time.
Smash a Plate
In Denmark, broken dishes are a good thing — people go around breaking dishware on the doorsteps of their friends and family. The more shards there are in front of your home the next day, the luckier and more well liked you are (unless you're the one who has to sweep). But try to keep it on the doorstep: “I once threw a cup at my friend’s house," a reveler told the University of Copenhagen's University Post. "The cup didn’t break – his window did instead!”
Eat 12 Grapes
Yes, exactly 12, one at each stroke of midnight. That's what they do in Spain — pop one grape for every month of the New Year. According to Atlas Obscura: "Eating one grape at each of midnight’s 12 clock chimes guarantees you a lucky year — if and only if you simultaneously ruminate on their significance. (Each grape represents an upcoming month.) If you fail to conscientiously finish your grapes by the time the clock stops chiming, you’ll face misfortune in the new year." Now, that's a lot to chew on!
Smooch a Loved One
You've heard of this one before: When the clock strikes midnight, you're supposed to kiss someone you love. It's not just about stealing a smooch: According to the Washington Post, this is borrowed from English and German folklore, which stated that it's "the first person with whom a person came in contact that dictated the year’s destiny." Choose your partner wisely!
Find Your Love
No one to kiss? It's said in Ireland that if you put a sprig of mistletoe (or holly or ivy) under your pillow on December 31, you'll dream of your future partner. Sweet dreams, to be sure!
Decorate Your Front Door
To Greeks, onions are a symbol of good luck and fertility, because they sprout even when no one is paying attention to them. On New Year's Eve, families in Greece hang bundles of onions above their doors as a means of inviting that prosperity into the home. It's also said that, on New Year's Day, parents wake up their children in the morning by gently bonking their kids on the head with the onions that were outside.
Buy a New Lucky Charm
In Germany and Austria, there are a few different lucky symbols that you'd gift to friends and family to bring them good fortune. These include pigs, mushrooms, clovers and chimney sweeps. You can buy little tokens of these lucky charms at a Christmas market — or get edible ones in fun combinations made out of marzipan. Yum!
Wish *Everyone* a Good Year
Walloon and Flemish farmers in Belgium make sure everyone can get in on the festivities — even the livestock. They rise early on January 1 to wish a "Happy New Year" to all the cows, horses, pigs, chickens and other farm animals. That way, they'll have a good farming year.
Swing That Bread
While lots of countries have food-related traditions, Ireland's most interesting tradition doesn't involve eating. Instead, the Irish bang on the walls of their homes with Christmas bread. It's said to chase any bad spirits out of the house to start the new year off with a clean slate. (A good house-tidying, presumably after bread-banging, is also an Irish tradition.)
In fact, pack nothing at all. In Colombia, people take empty suitcases and run around the block as fast as they can. It's supposed to guarantee a year filled with travel. One writer for the Tampa Bay Times tried it with her Colombian husband in her Florida neighborhood: "Upon seeing two silhouettes tearing down the street at midnight with backpacks in their arms, our neighbors who were outside to watch fireworks made a beeline to their front doors. We worried they were calling the police." The writer did, however, travel to Colombia that year.
Hide a Surprise
In Greece, New Year's dessert isn't just a treat, it's a game of chance: Guests are served vasilopita, or a cake or sweet bread that has a coin baked into it. Whoever finds the coin will have good luck for the next year! In Scandinavian countries, they do something similar with rice pudding, served either at New Year's or Christmas. One portion will have a peeled almond in it, and whoever finds it in their bowl is assured of luck in the new year (and might also win a prize).
Keep the Windows Open. Doors too!
It's a common superstition that opening the doors and windows will let the old year out, and the new year in unimpeded. (Let's hope this old year goes out as quickly as possible, please.)
|Thursday, Dec 30, 2021