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New Year’s Traditions from Around the World x On the Go with EF
Happy New Year! (God försattning)! And Gong Hai Fat Choy! I wanted to share a video with a few interesting New Year’s traditions from around the world… and to make it special, I picked a few countries where you can also find an EF school to start your New Year off right. So! No matter if you follow a solar or lunar calendar, here are a few cool facts about New Years…
NEW ZEALAND: BBQ
Let’s start with New Zealand, since it is one of the first countries that see each New Year… why? You ask? It’s because they are situated in the first time zone on the globe!
It’s popular for families to ring in the New Year with a big BBQ or for young people to hit a festival or the beach… if that sounds strange to you it’s because you don’t live south of the equator, like in New Zealand, where January is actually the middle of the summer!
Moving west into Asia… it’s important to note that many cultures go by a lunar calendar for holidays, which follows the moon as opposed the the sun, as in the Gregorian calendar, that is most common in Western countries.
In Japan, long buckwheat noodles symbolize long life, which is generally considered a lucky thing!
So, just before the clock strikes midnight, people in Japan try to eat a bowl of Soba noodles… but with one catch… you can’t break them! It would take me a few years to get my slurp game strong enough to manage that!
SINGAPORE: Fish Salad
A big family style meal of “Yusheng” or fish salad is popular on Lunar New Year in Singapore.
Everybody then gathers around a huge dish and tosses the ingredients high into the air, to mix it of course, while yelling well wishes for the New Year… the higher the toss… the more luck to come!
Since fish is synonymous with “good luck” throughout Asia, it’s no surprise that in China many New Year’s dinners have at least one fish dish… often served whole.
In Greece, the moment New Years is at your door, so is a pomegranate! It’s a tradition to smash a pomegranate on the floor in front of the door to reveal the plentiful seeds symbolizing plentiful prosperity (read: money) and fortune. The more seeds, the more luck!
In Germany it’s common to ring in the New Year melting metal and pouring it into water to see what comes out as a sign of what’s to come in the New Year… After all that fun has calmed down, they often enjoy doughnuts called “Pfannkuchens” in Berlin and “Berliners” everywhere else.
On New Year’s Day, Italians feast on the traditional dish of “cotechino e lenticchie” which is savory pork sausage with lentils. The lentils are believed to bring good luck and prosperity in the New Year: since they look like money… ancient money, not Euros, this is a verrry old tradition!
In Spain, and many Spanish speaking countries, with each of the twelve strokes of the clock at midnight, a grape has to be eaten! And word on the street is it’s MUCH harder to do in time than you think! Each Grape signifies a month of the upcoming year, So! take note of any sour grapes as those might not be your best months of the year according to tradition.
Last but not least…
THE U.S: Collard Greens & Black Eyed Peas
Specifically, in the Southern states of the U.S, a dish named “Hoppin’ John” or black eyed peas and rice… along with collard greens is eaten on New Year’s Day to bring good luck.
The black eyed peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and the greens, well that’s the color of cold hard American cash, thus symbolizing wealth in the New Year (I feel like this is a popular theme around the world!!!!!)
With that, I present to you a few fun facts to ring in the New Year! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!