The new year brings with it a sense of hope and renewal. And around the world, people celebrate the turning of the calendar in a variety of ways. From the traditional to the unusual, here are some cultural customs that will have rung in the start of 2023 a couple of days ago.
American festivities begin with the dropping of a giant illuminated ball in New York City’s Times Square. This event is broadcast live on television, and many people count down the last seconds of the old year and cheer when the clock strikes midnight. This tradition dates back to 1907 when the first ball dropped to mark the start of the new year. It is accompanied by a celebration of music and fireworks.
Hogmanay is the traditional Scottish way of celebrating New Year’s Eve. This is a very old tradition that dates back to the 1600s, and involves singing, dancing, and gathering around a bonfire. The bonfire is used to burn away the bad luck of the old year and to bring good luck for the new one. There is also the custom of “First footing”, in which the first person to enter a house in the new year is said to bring good luck. This person typically brings a symbolic gift such as coal, bread, or whisky to represent warmth, prosperity, and good cheer.
In Germany, locals light bonfires, fireworks, and sparklers to celebrate the start of the year. It is believed that the brighter the fire is, the brighter the new year will be.
In the Philippines, locals take part in a tradition known as “media noche” or midnight meal. Families gather together at midnight to share a meal of round fruits and long noodles to symbolize the coming year’s good luck and long life.
In Japan, the ringing of temple bells is a traditional way to celebrate the new year. This custom is said to bring good luck and ward off evil.
In China, the new year is celebrated with the Spring Festival. This is an ancient festival that lasts for 15 days and involves various traditions, such as the setting off of fireworks, the handing out of red envelopes filled with money, and the eating of special foods.
In Ecuador, the new year is welcomed with a variety of traditions. One of the most popular is the burning of scarecrows, which are usually stuffed with fireworks. This custom is believed to bring a prosperous year ahead.
In Brazil, locals celebrate the new year with colorful costumes and parties. Fireworks, live music, and dancing are all part of the festivities.
No matter how you ring in the new year, it is a time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. From the traditional to the unique, these customs around the world offer a glimpse into the diversity of culture and customs that make up the human experience.