A Truly Bizarre Way to Celebrate New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day celebrations are often associated with great vigor and enthusiasm. Well, this may be true to all people around the world, but it doesn’t mean they celebrate New Year in the same way. From smashing old dishes to other people’s door, cleaning the streets to throwing furniture and appliances in the window, other countries sure have a truly bizarre way to celebrate New Year’s Day
Surprisingly, Koreans celebrate New Year twice. For thousands of years, they celebrate New Year’s Day at the start of the year on the lunar calendar called Soellal. Today, however, many of them join the celebration at the beginning of the solar calendar as Westerners do. Great. They just double the fun.
Weird it may seem, but Brits believe that the first guest who arrives at the house will be the one bringing good luck to the household for the entire coming year. As part of this tradition called ‘First Footing’, people pray for young, healthy, handsome, and a dark-haired male to be their first guest because a woman, a blonde, or a red colored person, are considered to bring bad luck. Hence, they are not welcome for the day.
Eating a spoonful of lentils at midnight and putting money at the bottom of your shoe are not bad especially if they are supposed to make you prosperous for the entire year. But spending the night at a graveyard and welcome the new year with your deceased loved ones is already a bit odd.
People save old plates and glasses to smash them on each other’s front door in the name of friendship! Therefore, he who has more broken dishes in his front door is the one who has the most friends.
Oshogatsu is what they call it. They clean their entire house and decorate it with pine branches, plum blossoms, and bamboo which are quite significant in preparing for the upcoming year. Most importantly, they resolve conflicts from the past year to start the new year with a clean slate.
Wear all-white clothes on New Year’s Eve— this is not to invite good luck, however, but to ward off evil spirits. Jumping over seven ocean waves, one for each day of the week, and throwing flowers into the sea are also part of the tradition.
To get rid of the negative energy of the past year, Ecuadorians burn effigies of politicians or the people they don’t like at midnight. What a way to begin the New Year!
For Chinese, red is a symbol of good fortune and happiness. So, at this time of the year, red is found everywhere— red packets, red rackets, red lanterns, red envelopes, and red doors. No kidding Chinese paint their front doors red. Some even incorporate the color into their outfit which is, of course, not an easy feat because fiery shade doesn’t go with everything. You can try it though.
For Filipinos, round objects are the craze including fruits like oranges and grapes because they signify prosperity. They also put coins in their pockets and wear clothes with lots of polka dots. Children who want to become taller are made to jump up and down at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve— as high as they can.
Puerto Ricans not only clean their house as the Japanese do, but they also clean everything including the garden, garage, and the streets. Throwing buckets of water out of the window to get rid of the bad juju of last year is also another practice they can’t seem to get away with. Watch out, pedestrians!
Spanish celebrate it with their speed-eating challenge which requires people to eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve. This sounds easy but not when you have to eat one each time the clock chimes.
On the contrary, Swiss don’t eat their New Year’s treat. They drop whipped cream on the floor and leave it there instead. Better do it, if you don’t want to miss out the blessing of the New Year.
In Johannesburg, it’s common to throw old furniture and appliances, like TVs and radios, out the window. Apparently, that means prosperity in the coming year, right?