Happy New Year!

Today’s post is a continuation of yesterday’s.  More customs from around the world – I hope you enjoy this little “international tour”.

HogamanayScotland’s celebrations are called Hogamanay – and harken back to the days of the Vikings.  People dressed as Vikings parade through the streets swinging great balls of fire over their heads.  At midnight, Auld Lang Syne,  the famous song written by Scottish poet Robert Burns, is sung.   This is followed by “first-footing”.  The first foot in the door on the new year predicts how the new year will go.  It is especially fortunate to have someone “tall and dark” – a throw back to the days when the blonde Vikings meant trouble for the household – and he should bring a small gift such as coal, a coin, whiskey or shortbread.

 

sofa outsideCelebrating in South Africa could prove a dangerous proposition.  At midnight, people throw furniture out the windows of their houses and apartments.  This could be detrimental to some poor passer-by below.  Although typically only done in one section of Johannesburg, it causes havoc in the streets.

 

Spain grapesIn Spain, the tradition of eating 12 grapes is a very important one.  If done incorrectly or too quickly, one could suffer bad luck for the coming year.  As the clock strikes midnight, one grape, each representing the months of the year, must be eaten at each stroke of the clock.

 

 

Food and Drink

pork & black-eyed peas In the Southern USA,  pork and black-eyed peas foretell good fortune for the coming year.

 

In India and Pakistan, rice is the food for prosperity.

 

Dollops of whipped crème are dropped on the floor in Switzerland.  They represent the richness of the year to come.

 

wassailWassail, which is the Gaelic term for ‘good health’ is served in places is Great Britain.

 

Champagne is used to toast the New Year in the USA, Canada and other countries.

 

 

 

Folklore

 On New Years Eve, kiss the person you hope to keep on kissing.

If New Year’s Eve wind blows south, it betokeneth warmth and growth.

For abundance in the New Year, fill your pockets and cupboards today.

If the old year goes out like a lion, the new year will come in like a lamb.

Begin the new year square with every man.  (pay your debts)

Put a dime under your plate on New Year’s Day to be happy, wealthy and healthy all year long.

What’s missing?

Notoriously missing in all this New Year’s revelry is the dreaded New Year’s Resolution!  While the New Year is a great time to plan and prepare for the coming year with a “clean slate”, most resolutions never make it past the month of January.  Some years ago  I decided that making a New Year’s resolution was akin to setting one’s self up for failure.  I prefer to reflect upon the previous year – what went well or not so well.  And what would I like to do better for the coming year.

I wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2015!