NEW YEAR IN OFFBEAT WAY: TRADITIONS AROUND THE WORLD
Out of sight, out of closet!
The Italians celebrate the holiday at night from December 31 to January 1. They are known for their volcanic character and habit of giving vent to their emotions, it seems that it is the only life style they know. So, no wonder they observe and expressive New Year’s Eve tradition of throw out not only old stuff, but everything of which they simply got tired. The closer it comes to solemn moment, the more dangerous it is to walk the streets, so, do watch your head on New Year’s Eve: clothes, household appliances, toys, kitchenware, furniture – everything is falling down! It is believed that if you get rid of junk till the stroke of midnight, in the coming year there will be more new things. As for the festive meal, without which the Italians just will not approach the festivetable, it consists of lentike - flat roundels of lentils, dzampogne - pork leg with spices, and kotekino – home-made sausages.
In the morning it is important to wake up as early as possible and go to the well, or at least to the supermarket and bring to the house some "new" water. If on the way one have met an elderly man, it is believed that the year will definitely be successful. Particularly superstitious Italians can wander for hours throughout quarters in search of an old man.
Raking in happiness
The Japanese also follow the Gregorian calendar, so their celebration falls on the same date. This day people take a break from work to spend time with their loved ones, and of course, exchange gifts. The main gift is... a rake. According to ancient tradition, happiness is not something ephemeral, but it has to be literally raked in from the outside into home. Therefore, the mentioned tool decorated with design is the most popular present. Even small children receive this present from Segatsu San, a local analogue of Santa Claus.
Gala dinner in the Land of the Rising Sun traditionally consists of pasta, symbolizing longevity, rice as a token of prosperity, and beans to bring health. Another custome to usher into the new year, is to laugh during the first seconds of the holiday in order to bring good luck.
A hint in the Ecuadorian style
Mandatory attribute of celebrations of New Year, or Old Night as it is called in Ecuador, is the burning of Agno beho - a life-size figures, stuffed with paper and newspapers. Instead of faces, these scarecrows have papier mache masks mimicking local politicians. Accompanied by cheering and dancing, these effigies are burned in the central squares, and the government cautiously watches this ritual, extant since the time of the Indians. Those did not burn their leaders, but purified them with fire, so if the leader of the tribe was justly elected, he did not die and headed the community even better with new energy.
How to purify oneself in the sea
The Dutch celebrate holiday of Oude-Niewe, which translates as "old-new". They are real daredevils, since despite the rather harsh climate, January 1 they spend on the beach and swim in a very invigorating waters of the North Sea. This procedure is sure to be followed by hot meal including pea soup, meat dishes, and homemade cookies. In contrast to the quiet and family-friendly Christmas, the New Year in the Netherlands is a street fun. Residents of Amsterdam, for instance, gather at the squares of Leidseplein and Nieuwmarkt, where they drink champagne and admire fireworks. It is a custom to celebrate till the morning, to sit in bars and cafes, to warm up with traditional drink slam, which ingredients are tea, cinnamon, hot milk, cloves and nuts.
Carp comes - New Year approaches
In Vietnam, one of the most important holiday is called Tet. It falls in the period between January 21 and February19, when the early spring comes. Thus, the arrival of this season is a great excuse to have fun under the branches of blossoming peach trees. At night of celebration, everyone shall forget all the insults and make noise as much as possible. The star of the feast is 5 fruits sorts of which can vary, but the amount shall remain unchanged. The symbol of the holiday is a carp. According to legend, on the back of this fish Spring sails to people, so each family tries to buy an alive carp in order to release it into the water in the morning.
Switch lights off
We sum-up our selection with very touching celebration in Bulgarian style. In this country, where the holiday is celebrated at night from December 31 to January 1, survived a bizarre tradition to switch off all the lights for three minutes in a house after the clock strikes 12. These 180 seconds are devoted to kisses, in such a way, without many words, it is possible to wish to person all the best in the coming year.