It’s that time when you look back in retrospect at your triumphs and failures in the past year and make grand plans and resolutions for the new. Hope shines bright and all over the world, people ring in the future with different traditions.
In Japan, a midnight supper comprising of a bowl of ‘toshikoshi soba’ or ‘year-crossing noodles’ set the tone for a prosperous year ahead.
The traditional New Year spread in Philippines must have as many round foods as possible, representing coins, so that there are no financial hardships in the coming days.
Korean New Year begins with a traditional ceremony much like Eid, with ‘Sebae’, a stylized way of bowing to pay respect to the elders of the family, who then respond with gift envelopes containing cash, blessing the young ones.
In Russia and Belarus, a meal comprising of 12 dishes, one for each month, begins the new year. There’s also a custom of writing down a wish on paper, burning it, then adding the ashes to a glass of champagne and drinking it up at the stroke of midnight.
Entrances to Greek homes are decorated with onions and pomegranates to celebrate Christmas and New Year. Both symbolize birth and re-growth.
If you’re in Denmark, don’t be surprised if you find broken plates at your doorstep on the first day of the year. It’s a tradition to throw a plate at a friend’s door to wish them good luck. The more broken pieces you find, the more friends, and good luck, you’ll have.
In Brazil people wear white on New Year’s Eve to ward off evil spirits. Jumping over seven waves and making seven wishes is a custom too, and if you don’t have access to the beach, you can just hop three times on your right foot to step into a great new year.
‘Hogmanay’ is the name for New Year in Scotland. Here too, there’s a tradition about feet. ‘First Footing’ involves a dark-haired male carrying gifts of shortbread, a black bun and a bottle of whisky being the first person to cross your threshold and bringing you good luck that will last all year.
Whatever the custom in the place you reside, here’s wishing you all a very Happy New Year, with all wishes fulfilled and at least some resolutions adhered to!