Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.
– Oprah Winfrey
People around the world, pessimists and optimists alike usher in the new year in distinctive ways. Whether its to bring in great luck, or to simply just forget memories of the ending year, the New Year signifies a new beginning, and new opportunities.
Here are some interesting ways New Year’s Eve is celebrated in different countries:
JAPAN- Bonenkai or “forget-the-year parties” are held to say goodbye to all worries, misunderstandings, grudges and all other problems of the previous year, and prepare for a new beginning. At midnight on New Year’s Eve, the Buddhist temples strike their gongs 108 times, an attempt to dismiss the 108 types of human weaknesses.
SPAIN & PORTUGAL– When the clocks strikes 12, it is a tradition to quickly consume 12 grapes, one grape for each stroke of the clock, signifying good luck for each month of the coming year.
ITALY- Red underwear is worn, supposedly bringing love and luck in the New Year. Lentil stew is also eaten when the bell strikes at midnight- one spoonful per toll of the bell.
GREECE- A special New Year cake is baked by all the members of the family, called the St. Basil’s cake. A silver or gold coin is buried in the dough and baked. The cake is distributed to everyone and whoever finds the coin in their piece of cake is said to be especially lucky during the coming year.
PHILIPPINES- Round shapes symbolize prosperity for the coming year as they represent coins. Round fruits are displayed on the dining table during New Year’s Eve, and clothing with circular patterns such as polka dots are also worn. To scare off evil spirits, people also blow on “torotots” (plastic horns), bang pots and pans, and of course, lighting firecrackers and fireworks is a tradition.
DENMARK- Danes collect old dishes throughout the year and then throw them at the front doors of friends and families. The more broken dishes you have to clean means the more friends you have.
It’s still 10:30pm here in Hawaii, and we still have an hour and half til midnight. Most of you may have already rung in the new year, but regardless of where you are in the world, what traditions you practice, may you have a fabulous, and very Happy 2012!