Other cultures celebrate the new year in different ways. African-American: While New Year’s Day falls within the contemporary celebration of Kwaanza, it is also referred to as Emancipation Day or Jubilee Day.
. On New Year’s Day in 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation announcing the abolition of slavery, was read in Boston. Today, “watch services” are still held in many African-American churches in observance of that day. Among the foods associated with the New Year, some African customs have become traditional like the serving of ham hocks, black-eyed peas, collard greens and macaroni and cheese.
. Benné wafers (sesame and cheese “coins”), which represent money, are also popular as symbols of future prosperity. . -China: The Chinese continue to observe the lunar New Year, which is based on the old Chinese lunar calendar, so it may occur at any point between January 1 and February 19.
. The celebration can last anywhere from 10 days to one month. The tradition of setting off firecrackers and playing drums and cymbals during the celebration is believed to drive away evil spirits. Gifts of money, in red envelopes, are also exchanged. . . . . -Denmark: In most Scandinavian countries, the peak of the winter holidays is Christmas, although the New Year is celebrated. Among the traditional Danish dishes served is kale, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, and served in a white sauce. . . . . -Greece: The Greeks celebrate the beginning of the New Year by sharing a traditional sweet bread into which a coin has been baked.
The bread is sliced at midnight and whoever gets the coin is believed to have good luck for the year. . . . -Ireland: The Celtic New Year was traditionally November 1 – the first day of winter. The wealthiest villager generally slaughtered and roasted a pig (or some animal), inviting all of the villagers to a celebration. Children were also given oranges on New Year’s Day as a special treat. . . . . -Italy: Italian customs vary by region, but in certain areas eating lentils, often in combination with sausage (zampone), is believed to bring good fortune all year.
. In other areas, a sweet bread or cake like a panetonne or a torciglione is sliced and served to all as a symbol of hope and prosperity. The culmination of the Christmas celebration is actually held on January 6. The night before, children leave their shoes outside and an old woman – Befana¬ – delivers presents. On that day, a torta della Befana, a cake in which a large bean is hidden, is served. The one who gets the bean has good fortune for the year. . . . .
...-Japan: New Year’s Eve is observed by thorough house cleaning, to rid the house of evil spirits before the New Year begins. Bamboo sticks – symbols of growth and prosperity – are hung on the front door. At midnight, chimes ring 108 times at which point children are given their New Year’s money for good behavior during the year. The real celebration does not begin until sunrise when the traditional meal of vegetables, seafood and dessert is served in one dish – the different types of food symbolizing prosperity.
. The day after New Year’s is First Writing Day, when kakizome or the practice of writing down ones’ hopes for the year is observed. . . . -Mexico: In Mexico, the Christmas celebration of posadas culminates on January 6 in the Fiesta de los Reyes. On that day, the King’s Cake (rosca de reyes) is served. The cake is formed into a ring to symbolize a crown, and a doll is hidden in the dough. The one who finds the doll becomes the king for the day and must select a queen. The “royal” couple then must host a party on Candlemas (February 2), when candles are lit for purification of the Virgin Mary. . Poland: The Poles celebrate the New Year much as we do in the U. S. , with much celebration on New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Day festivities might include a hayride into the forest where a bonfire is set and sausages and bigos are served (with a little bit of the hair of the dog).
. . Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year: The Jewish New Year is celebrated either at the new moon closest to the beginning of the barley harvest (Passover) or the “ingathering” of the fruits (Sukoth), presumably depending upon the area of the world in which you live.
. Delicacies, like honey, raisins, apples and carrots, are served to represent optimism for a sweet future. No bitter or sour foods can be served. Other traditional foods include sweet potatoes and Challah bread. The Sephardim often serve almond macaroons. . . . -Scotland: Hogmanay is the celebration of the New Year, and it is of far greater importance than Christmas. Once upon a time, the Scots exchanged gifts on Hogmanay, rather than at Christmas. Among the customs, which vary by region, are the firing of guns at midnight on New Year’s Eve, followed by the men of the village going house to house for the “first footing,” when they were offered a bannock (oat cake) and whiskey.
. A stranger carrying a lump of coal was good luck. Another tradition, apparently no longer observed, is the “Creaming of the Well. ” The young woman who drew the first water from the local well on New Year’s Day would be married that year, while if she could get the object of her affection to drink the water before sunset, he would become her husband by year’s end.
. . Three Kings Day: The Feast of the Epiphany (January 6 or Twelfth Night) is celebrated in most Spanish-speaking countries, including Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean.
. Children leave out hay for the Kings’ camels the night before and awake to find presents left in its stead. A rosca de reyes or King’s Cake (see Mexico, above) is served in many countries. In other regions, rice pudding is the traditional dessert. . . Vietnam: The festival of Tet Nguyen Dan is a seven-day celebration of the lunar New Year and the most important Vietnamese holiday.
The first day and the first week of the New Year are believed to set the tone for the year, so houses are cleaned and painted, new clothes are bought and old debts paid.
. Gifts are exchanged by family members and families visit each other. The first visitor is very important, and it is highly desirable that the first visitor be happy, rich and important, as this will predict the fortune of the household for the year.
. . Wales: For the Welsh, like the Scots, the New Year’s celebration is a much bigger occasion than Christmas, especially as a feast day.
The Welsh New Year actually occurs on January 13 and traditional foods include a roast goose, potato pudding and rice pudding. . . - American Traditions: New York is the top destination for many Americans celebrating the new year. In the past 100 years the "ball dropping" on top of One Times Square in New York City, broadcast to all of America (and rebroadcast in many other countries), is a major component of the New Year celebration.
. The 1,070-pound, 6-foot-diameter Waterford crystal ball located high above Times Square is lowered, starting at 11:59 p. m. and reaching the bottom of its tower 60 seconds later, at the stroke of midnight (12:00 a. m. ). This is repeated for all four time zones in the continental US. . New Year's Eve is a major event in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the Las Vegas Strip is shut down as several hundred thousand people party. New Year's Eve is traditionally the busiest day of the year at Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California, where the parks stay open late and the usual nightly fireworks are supplemented by an additional New-Year's-Eve-specific show at midnight.
. In New Orleans, Louisiana, another of the most popular New Year celebration venues in North America, similar crowds of hundreds of thousands gather in the French Quarter, particularly on Bourbon and Canal Street, to celebrate the New Year.
. . Many cities also celebrate First Night, a non-alcohol family-friendly New Year's Celebration, generally featuring performing artists, community events, parades, and fireworks displays.
. First Night began in Boston in 1976 and is now found in over 60 cities nationwide. A similar celebration is Providence, Rhode Island's Bright Night Providence,and an artist run arts celebration that started when Providence's First Night went bankrupt in 2003.
. . The song "Auld Lang Syne" has become a popular song to sing at midnight on New Year's Eve. Fireworks and other forms of noise making is a big part of the celebration, too. In several areas of the U. S. , particularly major urban areas, New Year celebrations are punctuated by random celebratory gunfire which could potentially cause injuries and deaths.
. Police departments in many cities, aided by gun safety organizations, have attempted to crack down on this practice through technology and stiffer penalties.
. . New Year's Day traditions include making New Year's resolutions, watching the Tournament of Roses Parade and later the Rose Bowl football game, and reviewing the past year, including topics such as politics, natural disasters, music and the arts, as well as noting significant individuals who died.
. Philippines Filipinos usually celebrate New Year's Eve with the company of family and close friends. Traditionally, most households stage a dinner party named Media Noche in their homes. Typical dishes include pancit, Hamon and if the family could afford it, Lechón (roasted pig), which is usually considered as the centerpiece of the dinner table.
. Barbecued food is also an integral part of the menu. . Most Filipinos follow a set of traditions that are typically observed during New Year's Eve. Included among these traditions is the customary habit of wearing clothes with circular patterns like polka dots, this signifies the belief that circles attract money and fortune.
. Throwing coins at the stroke of midnight is said to increase riches that years. Traditions also include the serving of circularly-shaped fruits, shaking of coins inside a metal casserole while walking around the house, and jumping up high which is believed to cause an increase in physical height.
. People also make loud noises by blowing on cardboard or plastic horns, called "torotot", banging on pots and pans or by igniting firecrackers and pyrotechnics at the stroke of midnight, in the belief that it scares away malevolent spirits and forces.
. . Urban areas are usually host to many New Year's Eve parties and countdown celebrations which are usually hosted by the private sector with the help of the local government.
. These parties usually display their own fireworks spectacle. . ----In the former Soviet Union, New Year has the same cultural significance as Christmas has in the United States, but without the religious connotations.
. Russian, Ukrainian and other families from former Soviet Union traditionally install at home spruce trees, the equivalent of a Christmas tree. In Eastern Europe, there is the Ded Moroz, who looks similar to Santa Claus, except he wears robes, and instead of reindeer, he is pulled by a troika (i.
e. a three-horse drawn sled). Families gather to eat a large feast and reflect on the past year. They have a large celebration, make toasts, and make wishes for a happy New Year. Families give presents to their friends as well as informal acquaintances. This is due to Russians being a closely-knit community, and it is seen as a taboo to not give presents to those the family associates with. Children stay up until midnight, waiting for the New Year. Also, during these celebrations many Russians tune to special New Year shows, which have become a long-standing tradition for the Russian TV. . New Year is often considered a "Pre-Celebration" for the Eastern Orthodox living in Eastern Europe, primarily in Russia and Ukraine, since Christmas is celebrated on January 7 according to the Eastern Orthodox tradition.
. . Spain Spanish New Year's Eve (Nochevieja, or Fin de Año) celebrations usually begin with a family dinner, traditionally including shrimp and lamb or turkey.
. Spanish tradition says that wearing red underwear on New Year's Eve brings good luck. The actual countdown is primarily followed from the clock on top of the Casa de Correos building in Puerta del Sol square in Madrid. It is traditional to eat twelve grapes, one on each chime of the clock. This tradition has its origins in 1909, when grape growers in Alicante thought of it as a way to cut down on the large production surplus they had had that year.
. Nowadays, the tradition is followed by almost every Spaniard, and the twelve grapes have become synonymous with the New Year. After the clock has finished striking twelve, people greet each other and toast with sparkling wine such as cava or champagne, or alternatively with cider.
. . After the family dinner and the grapes, many young people attend New Year parties at pubs, discotheques and similar places (these parties are called cotillones de nochevieja, after the Spanish word cotillón, which refers to party supplies like confetti, party blowers, party hats, etc.
. ). Parties usually last until the next morning and range from small, personal celebrations at local bars to huge parties with guests numbering the thousands at hotel convention rooms.
. Early next morning, party attendees usually gather to have the traditional winter breakfast of chocolate con churros (hot chocolate and fried pastry).
. . Sweden In Sweden, New Year's Eve is usually celebrated with families or with friends. Few hours before and after midnight, people usually party and eat a nicer dinner, often three courses. New Year's Eve is celebrated with large fireworks displays throughout the country, especially in the cities. People over 18 are allowed to buy fireworks, which are sold by local stores or by private persons. While watching or lighting up fireworks at midnight, people usually drink champagne. . . . - - Taiwan Many people in Taiwan celebrate the end of the year with concerts in most of the cities and recently using a big screen on the stage to communicate with cities around the island by shouting Happy New Year to each other.
. The most crowded city is the capital Taipei where most people gather around Taipei 101 located in the shopping and financial area. People gather around the roads around Taipei 101 and together they shout from 10 to 0. With each number they count, one of the layers of Taipei 101 (eight floors per layer) lights up until 0, the fireworks shoot out from the top of each layer (eight layers excluding a layer under the antenna) in different directions .
. Turkey Numerous decorations and customs traditionally associated with Christmas and Bayrams find a secular translation in Turkish New Year's Eve celebrations, where homes and streets are lit up in glittering lights, ornamented trees, and garlands as well as various traditional Turkish aesthetic practices.
. Small gifts are exchanged, and large family dinners are organized with family and friends, featuring roast turkey, a special Zante currant-pimento-dill iç pilav dish, dolma, hot börek, hummus, musakka and various other eggplant dishes, topped with warm pide, salep and boza.
. . Television and radio channels are known to continuously broadcast a variety of special New Year's Eve programs, while Municipalities all around the country organize fundraising events for the poor, in addition to celebratory public shows such as concerts and family-friendly events, as well as more traditional forms of entertainment such as the Karagöz and Hacivat shadow-theater and even performances by the Mehter - the Janissary Band that was founded during the days of the Ottoman Empire.
. . Public and private parties with large public attendances are organised in a number of cities and towns, particularly in the largest metropolitan areas such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana and Antalya, with the biggest celebrations taking place in Istanbul's Taksim, BeyoÄŸlu, NiÅŸantaÅŸÄ± and KadÄ±köy districts and Ankara's KÄ±zÄ±lay Square, which generally feature dancing, concerts, laser and lightshows as well as the traditional countdown and fireworks display.
. . United Kingdom London's firework celebrations centre around the London Eye. At the start of 2005, fireworks were launched from the wheel itself for the first time. . In Edinburgh the cannon is fired at Edinburgh Castle at the stroke of midnight. Scotland celebrates New Year as Hogmanay. Other cities in Britain such as Liverpool, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Birmingham all have celebrations. . The New Year celebrations have been televised from London since 1985 by BBC 1 in England & Wales. Between 1950-1984 it showed the New Year Hogmanay celebrations. ITV covers the New Year celebrations worldwide. Both channels in Scotland cover the celebrations locally, featuring events in all the major cities and towns. . Netherlands New Year's Eve is called Oud en Nieuw ("Old and New") or simply oudejaarsavond ("old year's evening", logical since it's still part of the old year), and is usually celebrated as a cosy evening with family or friends.
. Traditional snack foods are oliebollen (oil dumplings) and appelbeignets (apple slice fritters). On television, the main feature is the oudejaarsconférence, a performance by one of the major Dutch cabaretiers (comparable to stand-up comedy, but more serious; generally including a satirical review of the year's politics).
. In Reformed Protestant families, Psalm 90 is read, although this tradition is now fading away.  At midnight, Glühwein (bisschopswijn) or Champagne is drunk. Many people fire off their own fireworks, which are on sale from a few days before; towns don't organise a central fireworks display. Public transport shuts down completely (the only scheduled time during the year) between approximately 20:00 and 01:00. . . New Zealand Auckland is 496. 3 kilometres (308. 4 mi) west of the International Date Line and thus is the first major city to see the beginning of the new year, however it is Gisborne that is the first "city" in the world to see the first sun rise for the year.
. In common with many other places it celebrates this with large street parties and fireworks displays. Elsewhere in New Zealand, local councils usually organise parties and street carnivals and fireworks displays. In recent years however, liquor bans have been imposed on many of the more popular areas due to disorder, vandalism and other anti-social behaviour. During the day of New Year's Eve, in recent years, the Black Caps have played a One Day International cricket game in Queenstown. . --. --Peru celebrates a unique tradition on the last day of the year. Elaborate effigies, called Años Viejos (Old Years) are created to represent people and events from the past year. Often these include political characters or leaders that the creator of the effigy may have disagreed with. The dummies are made of straw, newspaper, and old clothes, with papier-mâché masks. Often they are also stuffed with fire crackers. At midnight the effigies are lit on fire to symbolize burning away of the past year and welcoming of the new year. The origin of the tradition is unknown, but is similar to that of the British Guy Fawkes Night. It is possible the tradition began after a yellow fever epidemic left many dead. The corpses were then disposed of by burning. . Other rituals are performed for the health, wealth, prosperity and protection of each member. These rituals are the following: Twelve grapes: Each person eats twelve grapes before midnight, making a wish with each grape. . Yellow underwear: One of the most popular traditions, yellow underwear are said to attract positive energies for the New Year. Suitcase: Walking around the block with the suitcase will bring the person the journey of their dreams. . . - Information Courtesy of Mealtime. org and wikipedia. org.