As we say goodbye to 2023, we’re taking a journey around the world to explore some fascinating New Year traditions.
In Japan, the New Year is welcomed with a traditional Buddhist ritual known as Joya no Kane. At the stroke of midnight, Buddhist temples ring their bells 108 times, symbolising the 108 human sins and desires. This ritual is believed to purify the soul and bring good fortune for the upcoming year.
Spaniards have a quirky custom of eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight—one for each chime of the clock. Each grape represents good luck for each month of the upcoming year. It’s certainly a tasty way to ensure a prosperous year ahead!
In Brazil, it’s a common tradition to wear white clothing on New Year’s Eve to symbolise peace. Many people also offer flowers and candles to Yemanjá, the goddess of the sea, for blessings in the coming year. Beach celebrations and fireworks light up the coastal cities, creating a show-stopping display of colour.
In Australia, New Year’s Eve is widely celebrated with beach parties, picnics and firework displays. The largest and most famous New Year’s Eve fireworks show takes place in Sydney, where the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House become the focal points for an extraordinary pyrotechnic display which is renowned globally and attracts both locals and tourists.
Russians celebrate New Year’s with a feast featuring Olivier Salad, a dish made with potatoes, carrots, peas, pickles, and mayonnaise. Another intriguing tradition involves fortune-telling to predict the future. People melt wax and pour it into cold water, interpreting the shapes formed as clues to what their destiny holds.
Closer to home, the Scots take New Year’s celebrations to a whole new level with their Hogmanay festival. Traditionally spanning three days, the festivities include torchlight processions, street parties, and the famous ‘First-Footing’ tradition, where the first person to enter a home after the stroke of midnight brings small gifts such as salt, whisky, or shortbread across the threshold for good luck throughout the coming year.