In the Philippines, the party doesn’t stop once the Noche Buena food is consumed. No, we still have Media Noche to look forward to.
In the midst of getting the new polka-dotted blouse, firecrackers, torotot and 12 fruits ready, might we suggest you take a pause and consider some traditions from different countries and cultures around the world?
Many other cultures have their own fun and funny rituals to bring in a prosperous New Year. Who knows, you might want to give your traditional Pinoy New Year a bit of fun international flair.
1. Paint your front door red. This is a tradition in China. Red is a color that symbolizes happiness and good fortune so painting your front door red is meant to usher in a new year of prosperity.
2. In Turkey, when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, they open their doors and sprinkle salt on the doorstep. They do this in both their homes and their places of business. It’s supposed to usher in peace and abundance during the new year.
3. Wear bright yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve. This tradition comes from Bolivia. Yellow is associated with good fortune. Another Bolivian tradition is the baking of coins into cakes. The person who gets a slice of cake with a coin in it will earn good fortune for the next year.
4. In Mexico, how you decorate your home during the New Year symbolizes what you want to attract in the year to come. If you’re looking for love, you decorate mostly in red. Yellow if you’re looking for luck in work or your career. If your hoping to have a lot of money, decorate your home in mostly green.
5. To usher out the old year and welcome the new ones, people in Johannesburg, South Africa throw out old appliances and furniture – literally. They often toss these items out of the windows of their homes.
6. The Dutch also believe in getting rid of the old to welcome the new year. In their case, they get rid of the past year’s Christmas trees by burning them in a bonfire on New Year’s Eve.
7. On New Year’s Eve, Russians take out a slip of paper and write down a wish for the new year. They then set the paper on fire and toss it into a glass of champagne. The contents of the glass must then be drunk before the clock strikes 12:01.
8. Dreaming of traveling during the new year to come? In Columbia, to usher in a travel-filled New Year, they walk around the block carrying a suitcase on December 31.
9. In Estonia they eat seven, nine, or 12 times during New Year’s Eve. These are lucky numbers so the more they eat the more prosperous will be their new year. Take note that, the food should not be completely consumed but a small portion set aside for the spirit of their ancestors who visit the houses on New Year’s Eve.
10. In Germany, they bake and eat a special donut Pfannkuchens. Pfannkuchens are filled with either jam, liquor or mustard. You don’t want to get the mustard Pfannkuchens as – not only do they taste bad – they mean bad luck for the following year.
11. Eat something round because circles represent prosperity. In Spain, it is a tradition to eat 12 grapes when the clock strikes 12. This is reminiscent of our own tradition of round fruits and a Chilean tradition of eating a spoonful of round lentils on New Year’s Eve.
12. In the southern United States, lentils, greens and pork are eaten during New Years to attract good fortune. Lentils, beans, and peas are round like coins, so they symbolize wealth. Leafy greens, they color of money, are also symbols of wealth. Pork symbolizes prosperity as pigs tend to “root forward” in the ground.
13. Don’t eat fish. In Hungary, eating fish during New Years is considered unlucky as the fish might “swim away with your good fortune.” This isn’t a belief shared in Poland however…
14. In Poland, eating carp during Christmas is considered good luck. This extends to New Year’s, when the Poles insert a piece of carp into their wallets to attract “good fortune” and ensure that next year, their wallets will always be full of cash.
15. In Greece, the hostess puts some jewelry in a dish and places it on the side of the table during the New Year’s Eve dinner. It’s meant to symbolize prosperity in the coming year. They also prepare Vassilopita, which is an almond flavored pie with a coin wrapped in aluminum foil bakes inside. When the Vassilopita is served, whoever gets the piece with the coin will have good fortune in the coming year.
16. In Switzerland, a dollop of cream is dropped on the floor on New Year’s Day. This is supposed to bring luck and riches in the new year.
17. In Romania, they believe that how you spend the last few hours of the old year will reflect on how the new year will go. So, they go on a cleaning spree in their homes and businesses in the belief that it will keep them from having a “messy” new year. They also believe in making sure that there is money in the pockets or wallets to make sure that they will always be prosperous in the New Year.
18. When New Year’s Day comes, Guatemalans go out of their homes carrying 12 pennies. They then face away from the street and throw each of the pennies over their shoulders. This is supposed to bring them money during the new year.