New Year’s Traditions from Around the World
As 2021 draws to a close, many worldwide have started preparing for celebrations to welcome 2022. Curious about what other nations and cultures do to celebrate the new year? Read on to find out!
New Year’s traditions in Italy center around food, celebration, and a bit of superstition. Italians refer to the New Year as capodanno, which translates literally to boss or head of the year. Italian meals for capodanno typically include lentils, which are associated with good luck and fortune. Italians often say that what is done on New Years’ will follow for the next twelve months; many eat as many lentils as possible to attract wealth in the coming year.
A popular Portuguese phrase, “Ano novo, vida nova,” is often repeated around each new year In Brazil to mean “new year, new life.” It is common to wear white on New Year’s Eve to attract peace and spiritual protection.
Another Brazilian tradition is the Saint Silvester Road Race, known in Portuguese as Corrida Internacional de São Silvestre. This international event occurs on December 31st every year. It is 15 kilometers long – although much shorter than a marathon, the race has its challenges from the Sao Paolo heat and geographical obstacles runners face.
Spain & Spanish Diaspora
Superstition is prevalent amongst Spaniards and many in Spanish-speaking nations, who cannot let a New Year commence without eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. One grape is consumed for each month of the year. One grape is meant to be eaten with each clock chime, making for a difficult task guaranteed to start the year with laughter!
Germans end the year and welcome the new by eating well on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. A common German phrase, “Wer über die Jahre gut schmaust, hat das ganze Jahr vollauf” means “he who eats well through the New Year will be satiated all year long.” German New Year’s dinners are often held late and include carp or fondue with potatoes, bread, and meat. It is common to give gifts sculpted of marzipan or chocolate to bring luck.
Although it’s unlikely to ring in the New Year with fireworks in Japan, the nation has its unique traditions to help welcome the new year. One common Japanese practice is Oosouji, a big clean-up (akin to the American tradition of spring cleaning). In practicing oosouji, the Japanese clean things typically missed in regular cleanings: light fixtures, furniture, and heavy appliances. In doing so, they begin the new year with a clean slate.
Food is central to the Japanese new year, and toshikoshi soba (a simple buckwheat noodle dish) is often served as the final meal of the year. The length of the noodles symbolizes longevity, and biting the noodles is meant to break off the year.
Check off a Resolution- Learn a New Language
The turn of the calendar in the United States is a time for reflection on the past year and consideration of goals for the year to come. Is learning a new language one of your resolutions? It should be! Contact us here to learn more about our convenient and effective online programs.