Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Aman Tumukur Khanna: The strange customs and traditions of New Year

  The New Year is celebrated with much gaiety, enthusiasm and happiness all over the world, and there are many customs and traditions, even superstitions attached to the celebrations. Some of them are unique and interesting while some of them are rather strange and weird!

  The underlying theme of celebrating the New Year is looking forward to a period of happiness, good fortune, prosperity and good health, and putting behind a time of conflicts, mistakes and worries. Fireworks, music, dancing, parades, and feasting are all common across various cultures and faiths. The one shared belief globally is that specific actions taken on New Year's Day or at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve when one minute merges into the other, greatly influence how the New Year unfolds.

  Let's take a look at some extraordinary and unique customs and traditions.

  The people of the Philippines wear polka dot outfits and eat round fruits to ensure prosperity. In short, everything done or eaten involves the round shape. In Spain, wolfing down 12 grapes in one mouthful at the stroke of the New Year is believed to bring good fortune and happiness.

  The Latin Americans have their own take on the unique and weird.

• Peruvians fist-fight to settle all their old differences and start the New Year with a clean slate! Better let the past be forgotten is their motto.

• In Ecuador people burn paper-filled scarecrows at the stroke of midnight along with photographs from the last year to bring good fortune.

• Puerto Ricans throw pails of water out of the windows to shoo away bad spirits.

• Colombians, Mexicans and Bolivians rush to buy brightly colored underpants - yellow for good fortune and money, red for love! If it is received as a gift, even better.

• Chileans spend the night at the cemetery in the company of their deceased loved ones.

  In Europe, customs may be slightly different and even stranger than elsewhere. The Danish shatter their unused plates and dishes against doors of neighbors, family and friends for happiness and good luck. The family with the most smashed china at their doorstep finds itself expecting prosperity and happiness. The Swiss celebrate New Year by dropping ice cream on the floor! It may seem weird to us, but that's tradition.

  The Irish make a lot of noise and bang bread on the walls to scare away evil spirits. They also put mistletoe under their pillows, a carry-over from Christmas, to ensure good luck; for young, unmarried women especially, this is to bring happiness and a good partner in the New Year. In Scotland, village men parade the streets swinging giant blazing fireballs over their heads. In Panama, people burn effigies of politicians and other figures that they refer to as 'munecos' and hold bonfires.

  Belgians and Romanians place great emphasis on their livestock. Belgians wish every cow and every farm creature a Happy New Year while farmers in Romania try to communicate with their bovine companions. If, however, the communication succeeds, it bodes ill luck in the year ahead. Strange indeed!

  The Finnish try to predict outcomes in the New Year by casting molten tin in buckets of cold water and interpreting what the shapes mean. Estonians eat seven meals on New Year's Day signifying an abundance of food in the New Year.

  'First-footing' is a tradition in Ireland, Northern England, and Scotland where the first person who crosses a family's threshold determines the family's fortune. Tall, dark and handsome men bring good fortune; a red-haired girl or woman, however, brings grief.

  South Africans throw furniture out of the window and Siberians carry tree trunks and jump into frozen lakes.

  No matter how diverse and different customs are, it is always "out with the old and in with the new!"

  For more on New Year 2017, please visit our website.

  Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

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