Happy New Year!
My New Year was spent with my family, playing trivia games, online games, drinking, eating and then waiting for the chimes from Big Ben to tell us when to hug one another and wish one another a Happy New Year. It was pleasant and I felt grateful to be able to spend it with my family and fiancé.
Around the world New Year is celebrated in many different ways. For example, in Spain, the people eat a grape for every chime of the bell, this is considered an important tradition and a tricky one (if you have ever tried it, seedless grapes are a rarity in Spain…). If you achieve this task then you will have luck in the next year. There is also the second tradition regarding red underwear, a necessary colour of undergarment required on this particular evening, and supposedly given to you by someone else. These traditions are fun for the whole family and can be exciting for the children to be able to participate in.
In France, New Year’s Eve is dedicated to Saint-Sylvestre and much drinking and eating is involved on this special day, in particular, la Galette des Rois. This festive, circular cake is a treat for all, the tradition involves finding ‘la fêve’, a tiny ornament placed inside the cake, because whoever finds it is treated as king or queen for the day. Champagne is the festive drink on this evening and in South western France, you can attend an evening procession through the streets, where the people sing and dance in the parade, usually ending in a vineyard where mulled wine is served.
To go further afield, in China there are many traditions, however, there are some that span across the country. For example, the New Year’s Eve dinner, where family reunite and join together in a great feast, usually involving fish as the main dish and dumplings, signifying prosperity. The Chinese also enjoy celebrating their New Year with Fireworks, which is to drive out the evil. Stories mentioned a mythical beast named ‘Year’ who would scare and harm children after midnight, however, he was afraid of the colour red and loud noises, hence why fireworks are set off on this night. The third tradition is the red envelope given to children with money inside to symbolise a healthy and prosperous new year.
In many countries, it is party central, for instance, in Amsterdam, the parties begin on 29th December and the whole of the city until the New Year celebrates with dynamic, exhilarating parties. The name in Dutch is ‘oud en nieuw’ meaning ‘old and new’. In Brazil, the latino music echoes through the streets from pubs, restaurants and clubs and in Berlin you can visit the vibrant open air New Year party, the largest of its kind in the world at the Bradenburg gate. In Australia, they also celebrate with big parties but also have very similar traditions to ourselves but overall it is such a treat to go and visit these countries at New Year to experience first-hand what it is like to welcome in another year in a different part of the world with different cultures.

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