Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Year’s Eve 2015

Our life goes on a circle and hence at the end of a year we say goodbye to the current one and welcome a brand new year with open arms. The day before the beginning of a New Year is called the New Year’s Eve. For the countries following the Gregorian calendar the New Year’s Eve falls on the day of 31st December.

On the day of New Year’s Eve we prepare ourselves to welcome a fresh year and look hopefully towards a grand beginning. The celebrations of the New Year’s Eve are therefore always full on fun and extravagance. This is celebrated as the day to goodbye the old year with fashion. It is time to forget about the past differences and grievances and look forward to a new beginning.

New Year’s Eve 2014
New Year’s Eve 2015
All around the world New Year’s Eve is therefore celebrated with much enthusiasm. Grand parties, balls and parades are organized to enjoy the last few moments of the present year. Thousands of people gather at squares and churches to participate in prayers and masses to usher the New Year.

History of the day
Whether it is a wild party or a quite family gathering, observing the New Year’s Eve has a long history. According to the historians the celebration of the last day of the year can be traced back to the Roman era. They called it ‘Saturnalia’. It was the day to mark the winter solstice. Romans had marked that day to break all rules and eat, drink and make merry. Today’s New Year’s Eve celebration is just the extended and modernized version of the ancient ways. Some of the modern day parties are as wild as their predecessors.

The celebration of the New Year’s Eve also has a long history in America. Some historical evidences show that during 18th century there had been many over zealous celebrations of the day. So much so that those celebrations used to cause a lot of public inconveniences as well. People used to mill out on the road, tooting horns and causing troubles for the traffic. There were also incidents of robbing people’s house in the neighborhood. To curb the problem the observation of ‘The First Night’ was therefore introduced.

New Year’s Eve celebration traditions from around the globe
New Year’s Eve is celebrated with great fervor worldwide. In different countries different customs are followed which the people believe to bring in good luck for them. These customs are both unique and interesting. Knowing the New Year’s Eve celebration in different culture therefore can make an interesting reading.

For a long time, Scotland has observed the New Year’s Eve with great enthusiasm. The New Year tradition of Auld Lang Syne had originated from this land.

The Scots call the celebration of New Year’s Eve, Hogmanay. ‘First footing’ on the midnight of the last day of the year is one of the most important traditions followed by the Scots. On that day, neighbors are invited at each other’s house and the Scots expect their first visitor to be a dark haired man. It is expected to bring good luck for the year. The neighbors will also carry gifts for each other.

In another tradition pitch reels are set on fire and left to roll freely on the road. It is said to symbolize the passing by of the current year.

In Spain people welcome the New Year by eating twelve grapes with each toll of the bell at the midnight. They believe that eating grapes will bring in good luck for the next twelve months.

Far away in Mexico, people celebrate it by eating 13 grapes instead of 12. However, the purpose remains the same, i.e. to ensure good luck for the rest of the year. In Mexico, wearing red pants on the New Year’s Eve day is said to bring prosperity for the wearer.

In the Caribbean islands, the New Year is celebrated by Junkanoo parades where people wear old rags and headdresses made of animal parts. The parades are the grand attraction of the New Year day parties. The greatest celebration takes place at Nassau, the capital city of Bahamas.

Celebration of the New Year’s Eve is incomplete for the Dutch without preparing the Dutch delicacy of "oliebollen". The "oliebollen" is a dish of deep fried dough balls with raisins and currants and are lightly coated with icing sugar. Many of the families now-a-days however don’t take the trouble to make "oliebollen" at home. There are now plenty of ready-to-eat "oliebollen" brands available in the market.

In Italy the custom is to celebrate the day before the New Year with lentil and pork. According to the Italian beliefs pork symbolizes opulence and abundance when lentil represents money.

The Italian will also throw away the old furniture on that day. It symbolizes getting rid of the past to welcome a new beginning.

First footing is observed in Canada as well. People will invite each other at houses and exchange gifts and wishes. Further polar bear swimming competitions are also organized for fun. On the day people take a dip on the ice cold water to mark the beginning of a new time.

In different parts of India people celebrate New Years in different ways. However, some common practices are to,

  • Clean and wash clothes
  • Decorate and paint houses
  • Don on new clothes
  • Light up lamps
  • Made rangolis
  • Offer pujas to tilling machines and cattle

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