For those of us that follow the Gregorian calendar, December 31 is an important milestone. Here in North America New Year’s Eve is celebrated with friends and family. Celebrations include saying goodbye to the previous year while welcoming the prospects, and all that comes with it, of a new year ahead. At the stroke of midnight partygoers welcome the new year with hugs and kisses.
There are many cultures that celebrate the new year on dates other than December 31. The Chinese celebrate the new year in late January. The Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, is celebrated in autumn. Jewish and Chinese celebrate with friends and family which often involves large feasts.
And for those of you that follow the Julian lunar calendar, New Year’s Eve falls in mid January.
Other New Year’s Eve Celebrations
Spain – it’s a tradition on New Year’s Eve, December 31, to eat 12 grapes for good luck. This tradition stems from 1895 when it’s believed that winemakers had a surplus of grapes and started the tradition to get more customers.
Greece – the Greeks hang onion on their doors and also break open a pomegranate on their doorstep to signify prosperity and good luck for the coming year.
Ireland – women place mistletoe under their pillows in hopes of finding a husband (it doesn’t mention whether or not the woman needs to be single, hum). Irish superstition has it that the first person that crosses your doorstep after midnight is indicative of the type of year that lies ahead. If that first person happens to be a tall, dark and handsome man then good fortune will come your way. If, on the other hand, the first across your doorstep happens to be a redheaded woman, then prepare for trouble ahead.
England and Scotland – in other parts of the UK, similar to the Irish, is a tradition called first footing. The tradition states that the first footer must be a tall, dark and handsome man. And he should be carrying coal, money, bread and salt for prosperity in the new year.
Ecuador – the citizens of Ecuador burn effigies of their enemies at midnight.