5 Unique Ways Different Cultures Celebrate New Years

Fireworks and loud noises are common across many cultures and their celebrations to ring in the New Year. And not all New Year celebrations take place December 31st-January 1st.

But here are a few unique ways people will celebrate this weekend around the world:

1) Albania
Instead of a “Christmas tree”, the Albanians have a “New Year’s Pine”. There is also a tradition to have Bakllava on Albanian tables for New Year’s Day to bring luck to the year ahead.

2) Chile
New Year’s Eve celebrations in Chile include a family dinner with special dishes, usually including lentils to ensure prosperity in the coming year, and twelve grapes to symbolize each month of the year to bring good economic fortune.

3) Finland
The tradition of molybdomancy – to tell the fortunes of the New Year by melting “tin” (actually lead)-  in a tiny pan on the stove and throwing it quickly in a bucket of cold water (or snow). The resulting metal shape and the shadows it casts by candlelight are interpreted to predict the coming year.  Often, the shapes are interpreted symbolically too: a bubbly surface refers to money, a fragile or broken shape misfortune. Ships refer to traveling, keys to career advancement, a basket to a good mushroom crop year, and a horse to a new car.

4) Greece
New Year’s Eve in Greece includes a pie named “King’s pie (Vassilopita locally)”, which is a cake flavored with almonds. Following tradition, they put a coin wrapped in aluminum foil inside the pie. The person that gets the wrapped coin is the lucky person of the day and he is also blessed for the rest of the year.

5) Japan
New Year’s Eve welcomes Toshigami (年神), the New Year’s god. In preparation, people clean their home and prepare Kadomatsu  (a traditional decoration of pines placed in pairs in front of homes to welcome ancestral spirits) or Shimenawa (lengths of laid rice straw rope used for ritual purification in the Shinto religion) to welcome the god before New Year’s Eve.

kadomatsuShimenawa

 

 

 

 

 

Buddhist temples ring their bells 108 times at midnight in the tradition Joya no Kane. Each bell ring is to drive away the 108 earthly desires or passions (bonō) that cause human suffering.


What are some of your family’s New Year traditions? Share them in the comments.

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