New Year Celebrations Around the World

Liana Ziegler, Staff Writer

The tradition of celebrating a new year goes back to 2000 B.C. in Mesopotamia. They probably celebrated the new year sometime mid-March, which is when the first new moon would appear after the vernal equinox. Several weeks ago, lots of people celebrated the start of 2017. Some people have parties and watch the countdown and the ball drop in New York City on television. Some people actually go to New York City and brave the huge crowd to celebrate the new year and hopefully catch a tiny glimpse of the ball dropping. Some people go somewhere to watch fireworks. Almost every country has something unique that it does to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

In Chile, eating grapes, swallowing one spoonful of lentils, and opening all the doors and windows before midnight are a few of the things people do to bring them good luck in the new year.

In England, people open their back door to let out the old year. In 2000, people started to set off fireworks; though they did not do this before.

In Greece, people turns off lights and close their eyes for the countdown. They do this so that they can start the new year with fresh eyes.  When midnight strikes in Greek families, someone considered to be a happy and successful person smashes a pomegranate against the door to reveal the red seeds on the inside. This is a symbol of bringing in the new year and breaking free the great opportunities to come.

In Spain, they eat a grape for every stroke of midnight.. Each one of these twelve grapes symbolize one month of good luck.  This is a tradition that was started by a few farmers in 1895 who realized that they had a lot more grapes than they needed..

In China, they paint their doors red to symbolize good luck and happiness. They also put away all their knives because they think that if you cut yourself on New Year’s Day, you cut your luck for the whole year.

In Ecuador, everyone makes life-sized scarecrow dummies. These represent all the misfortune that they had in the past year. At midnight, people gather in the streets to burn the scarecrows.

In the Philippines, circles mean success. Women wear dresses with polka dots and carry coins in their pockets. People also eat circular fruits like grapefruits and oranges.

In Russia, if they want to make a dream come true, they write their dream on a piece of paper and burn it. Then they take the ashes, put them in their glass of champagne, and drink it.

In Argentina, people eat beans on New Year’s Eve for good luck in their current job or good luck in finding a new job. They also think that if they carry their suitcase into their house, then they will travel in the new year.

In America, the ball dropping celebration has lasted for around 110 years. Every year, about one million people go to New York City to watch the ball drop in Times Square.

All of these traditions are either to celebrate and welcome in the new year or are believed to bring good luck.  Each culture has created traditions to allow people to look forward to a new and prosperous year.