ART + CULTURE

A GLIMPSE INTO HOW OTHER CULTURES CELEBRATE NEW YEAR’S

Here are the ways countries and cultures celebrate new year’s.

31.12.2022
BY SUKSMAJATI KUMARA
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New Year’s is on the horizon, and with the passing of the year into a new one, comes with it celebrations, new resolutions, prayers, and new hopes. New Year’s is often welcomed in different ways, and every country or culture has its own ways of celebrating the start of a new year. 

Indonesia likes to enjoy new year’s with a bit of fanfare, quite literally. The week before new year’s is oftentimes accompanied by people selling paper trumpets and fireworks for the celebration. Some cultures will celebrate with a gathering of friends and families around a barbecue party, while others might practice something more traditional, like visiting a shrine. Here are the ways countries and cultures celebrate new year’s.

Italy

Photo courtesy of wantedinrome.com

 

Italy has a unique tradition of celebrating the New Year: wearing underwear as a symbol of hope to be achieved next year. There, you will see almost everyone wearing red on New Year's Eve as a sign of good luck.

In South American countries such as Bolivia and Venezuela, they wear red for love, or yellow if they wish to prosper in the new year.

 

Japan

Photo courtesy of henryandandrewsguide.com

 

New Year in Japan is celebrated with visits to local shrines to exchange last year's lucky charms for new ones. After that, people will feast on traditional New Year foods, such as prawns (which are believed to prolong life) and herring roe (to increase fertility).

In Japanese culture, it is customary to welcome the new year with a bowl of buckwheat noodles in a ritual called toshikoshi soba, or year-crossing noodles. While no one is entirely sure where toshikoshi soba first came from, it is believed that the long, thin shape of the soba is meant to signify a long and healthy life.

 

Philippines 

Photo courtesy of Cosmo.ph

 

Wearing polka-dot patterned clothes is commonplace in the Philippines during new year’s. They believe that the round shape like a coin is a good sign for the year ahead.

They may also fill the pouch with coins or small bells at midnight to ensure well-being. Many families also display piles of fruit on their dining tables.

 

Denmark

Photo courtesy of Insides Guides

 

Danes would stand on a chair and jump on it at the same time in the middle of the night to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. The Danes also believe that if the front door is filled with broken dishes, it is a good sign.

Old plates were kept for a year and thrown at neighbors' doorways to bring them good luck. To find a door littered with broken plates on the morning of January 1 signifies that you will be prosperous and have many friends.

 

Spain

Photo courtesy of Timoti

 

In Spain, there is a unique New Year's celebration tradition which is the custom to eat 12 grapes, one at each stroke of the clock at midnight on New Year's Eve. Each grape represents good luck for one month of the year to come. In big cities like Madrid and Barcelona, people gather in the main squares to eat grapes together.

 

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