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New Year’s Traditions From Around the World

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December 26, 2011

I don’t know about you but, my family had a lot of traditions when I was growing up – and I really had no idea where most of them originated. We have always celebrated New Year’s Eve as a family. Not just mom, dad, and the kids – but local aunt, uncles, cousin, and significant others were always invited.

We all watched the ball drop on TV. We were supposed to hold some form of money in our hands when the ball dropped. If we were holding money that meant we would have money in the new year.

A slow cooker would be going all New Year’s Day filled with pork, sauerkraut, and dumplings. My family always said it was good luck to eat pork and saurkraut that day As I found out, many other families in my area had the same tradition.

Another tradition that always made me giggle was, if your first visitor of the New Year was male, you would have good luck in the new year. So, early New Year’s day my grandfather would walk up the street for a short visit. My dad would then walk down with him and visit my grandparents at their house. As a kid, I always looked forward to grandpa coming to visit.

Then I moved to South Carolina and found they had their own set of traditions. Instead of pork and saurkraut on New Year’s day they ate black eyed peas, hog jowls, and collard greens. Each food symbolized something. The collard greens symbolized money, black eye peas and hog jowls symbolized luck and prosperity.

This peaked my interest. What other traditions do other cultures and areas carry out that I don’t know about. Here are just a few I’ve found:

  • In Norway it is tradition to cook rice pudding. 1 almond is placed in the pudding. Whoever eats the pudding and eats the almond is guaranteed luck in the new year.
  • In Spain, they eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. One for each of the 12 tolls and for each of the upcoming 12 months for luck.
  • Some Armenians still carry on a tradition of cooking Darin, which is a bread kneaded with luck and good wishes before it is baked.
  • In Germany, hot lead or hot coals would be dropped into a pot of cold water. They would attempt to tell the future of the new year by the shape the smoke made when it left the pot. if it was the shape of a heart it could mean love in the new year, I also found info that said a heart or a ring would mean a wedding in the family in the new year. The shape of a ship or vehicle of some sort would mean a journey in the new year.

Does your family have any New Year’s traditions? Do you know where they originate? I found several articles that offered info on New Year’s traditions from all over the world, including New Year’s Resolution Week and Traditions From Around the World.

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