New Year’s Eve (also knows as Saint Sylvester’s Day) is a very popular celebration which doesn’t need any introduction.
On that day people gather to celebrate last and first day of a year – commonly they eat, drink, dance and watch some fireworks. Many countries have their extraoridinary forms of the celebration, some of which I’ll introduce to you below.
- Spain: Eating 12 grapes at midnight
This is both a tradition and a superstition in Spain; a typical Spaniard isn’t risking poisoning their fate for the coming year by skipping the grapes. There are 12 to eat – one for each stroke of the clock and one for each month of the new year. The story behind this custom dates back to at least 1895, when there was a huge grape harvest and the King decided to give the surplus to the people to consume on New Year’s Eve. However, the tradition itself was established in December of 1909 when some alicantese vine growers tried to better sell huge numbers of grapes by popularizing this custom. Among others this tradition was adopted by Latin America countries.
- Denmark: Breaking plates
What would normally be considered vandalism, the Danish have a very old tradition of breaking dishes on the doorsteps of family, friends and neighbours on New Year’s Eve. It is believed there that the more broken dishes you’ll find outside your door in the morning, the more friends and luck you will have in the following year. This tradition is also practised in other European countries, but the closest association is has with Denmark.
- Scotland: Inviting a handsome man into your home
This old tradition of ‘first-footing’ says that the first person to enter your home in the new year, determines the luck for that household over the next 12 months. It better be some tall, dark, handsome man – they are considered lucky in Scotland, and an extra luck ensurance is when they come and grant the gift of whiskey. If you’d like to adopt this tradition in our country and you’re looking for some handsome man – I can be the one…
- Ireland: Placing mistletoe under the pillow
Kissing under the mistletoe has become a common tradition all over the world, so it’s no surprise that mistletoe is associated with love. Irishmen believe that placing it under your pillow before you go to sleep on New Year’s Eve will give you luck in love in following year. It is supposed to bring dreams of future wives and husbands.
- Italy: Throwing furniture from windows
It has to be admitted that Italians have the most original way to show their readiness for the new year. By throwing their cupboards, fridges, chairs they cast away the old in favor of the new, they let go of past sorrows for a more hopeful time. Surely it’s not safe to walk near windows in Italy on the New Year’s Eve.
News written by Jakub Włodarski from class 3d.