Every culture has its own celebratory traditions that are recognized respectively throughout the entire year, but the old-age tradition of closing out an old year while simultaneously preparing to enter into a new one is universal. New Year’s Eve will always be a day in which traditions are honored, memories are most cherished, and resolutions are most appreciated. Thousands may flock to Times Square in New York City to watch the ball drop with a traditional countdown, and countless others may choose to watch the ball drop on television in a more intimate environment surrounded by friends and family. From extravagant aerial displays to bizarre customary group practices, each of us from around the globe will welcome in the new year in a variety of ways.
In Spain, a New Year’s Eve tradition which guarantees the gathering of many patrons at the main squares involves quickly eating one grape at each stroke of the clock at midnight. It is believed to bring good luck to each month for every grape that is consumed. The celebration continues into the wee hours of the morning with plenty of cava passed around. In Columbia and Mexico, it is not uncommon to see patrons running around the block with an empty suitcase at the stroke of midnight. This tradition is performed as a way to bring more travel opportunities. The skies over France will light up with a spectacular display of fireworks at the stroke of midnight, and many will propose a toast using champagne, white wine, or hot wine vin chaud.
Although the above traditions all seem reasonably normal to most of us, Latin America has its own unique idea of what is considered the norm. The “burning of the dummies”, traditionally performed in Ecuador,
adds a unique twist to their holiday tradition of fireworks as spectators witness thousands of colorful human dummies engulfed in flames and filling the skies with smoke. Denmark is not far behind the uniqueness bandwagon of bringing in the new year with their tradition of jumping off chairs in unison at midnight, which is said to be able to rid the person of any negative spirits, therefore bringing good luck into the new year. And if that is not unique enough, throwing old dishes at their friends’ houses at the stroke of midnight also signifies that person has many friends and will bring many more to come during the upcoming months.
Regardless of what custom we honor to celebrate our New Year’s Eve, our traditions carry with them priceless memories that are symbolic in nature, performed sincerely within our beliefs, and statutory in a lifelong recurring pattern of a 365-day cycle of wishes for a rejuvenated life ahead.
©2013 Learus Ohnine