Turning the world, I could analyze how many year-end superstitions exist, peculiar and exotic but interesting in different cultures.
The end of the year is approaching but did you manage to accomplish all that was promised this year Probably not! Well, let’s start another year with determination and promises to be fulfilled. Start the season with superstitions!
No one is equal, every place has their customs and traditions for the passage of the new year.
Turning the world, I could analyse how many year-end superstitions exist, however peculiar and exotic they may be they are also interesting in different cultures.
I’ve listed six countries with their own peculiar year-end traditions:
Just at the turn of the year, some Venezuelans have a superstition in which they go around the block with an empty suitcase so that they can make many trips in the future. I tried it one day, I don’t know if it was luck, but it worked. Also usually make a list of not very good things that happened during the year and burn it, this is to erase the bad times of the past and welcome the new year, with other achievements.
Besides frequently visiting temples to pray to have good luck throughout the year, the Japanese eat spaghetti at the turn of the year to ensure long life. As we welcome in the countdown with the usual fireworks, the Japanese expect 108 chimes of a bell for the Buddhist ritual, a ceremony known as “Joya No Kane”.
The 108 chimes represent the sins and desires of society, according to Buddhism. As midnight signifies the last stroke they believe all enter into a purified new year, away from the desires and sins of the past. And oddly enough, children and teens prefer New Year over Christmas. This is perhaps because of the tradition called “Otoshidama”, where money is placed inside envelopes and given to them.
The purpose of it is to teach young people, at an early stage, how to handle and use their money wisely.
Those that think breaking dishes is just a Greek tradition of showing joy in parties and a detachment from material things are mistaken. The Danes often break dishes or leave food at the front door of their friends and family to show loyalty and companionship. At exactly one minute to midnight the Danes also climb on chairs to jump off and ward off the evil eye and bring good luck.
In Vancouver on January 1st, Canadians congregate on the beach for swimming in what’s called the “Polar Bear Plunge”. Canadians with appropriate clothing or costumes, plunge into freezing water, and you can only imagine how freezing that is in their winter season! This tradition is synonymous with good luck for the new year. It is interesting to know that “getting a cold” at the beginning of the year is for a good cause. The “Polar Bear Club of Toronto” has organised this event in Lake Ontario to raise funds for the “Habitat for Humanity” (HFH), a non-profit organisation dedicated to building homes for low-income families.
The Germans have a custom in which they dress up in white clothes to see the fireworks. The difference is that the Germans decorate the house with small pigs made of marzipan and chocolate to symbolise luck and wealth. A curious fact is that one in particular film is replayed on that date, “Dinner for One”, known in Germany as “Der 90. Geburtstag”. The humorous film, originally filmed in black and white, is just over 15 minutes long and became a cult hit, turning into a tradition of the New Year in Germany. Superstition or not this film is played on December 31st on multiple channels.
They also have a very awaited ritual on December 31st, it is the “Bleigiessen”, an attempt to predict the future. In this ritual people play molten lead into the water, and each created form, something is announced. The shape of a heart or circle is the sign of marriage. A ship signifies travel, whilst a pig represents plenty, etc.
An old English tradition is to open the door to send the old year away. They also say that the first visit after midnight should be a man with dark hair. The man with dark hair must enter through the front door, bringing a charcoal package, a bottle of whiskey, a loaf of bread and salt to allow for some heating, prosperity, food and money. The same visitor should leave through the back door. At the stroke of midnight, after hours of drinking, party goers hold hands and welcome in the new year with a choral rendition of the traditional song “Auld Lang Syne”.
Every year in London is the “New Year Parade” celebration. A traditional parade which is very beautiful, filled with musicians, dancers and acrobats, attracting large international crowds. The route this year will be between Piccadilly at midday and Parliament Square at 15.30.
It’s very interesting to know that every country has its peculiar superstitions and traditions for this time of the year. There are also different foods prepared on these festive days. Let’s hope the new year of 2016 begins with a lot of good fluids and many positive thoughts for everyone.
Happy New Year!