UNITED KINGDOM & REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

Considering I’m from Great Britain… I’ll tell you a little bit about our greatness when it comes to celebrating the New Year. I’ve added Ireland in there as well. You might have won your independence but we haven’t forgotten about you. You are still one of us!

ENGLAND

England celebrates their New Year in a traditional manner; being the traditional type we are. Majority gather in London around the Big Ben. That’s the big clock thingy that London is famous for, along with the Palace, the Bridge and the Wheel (London Eye). The clock symbolizes the time that has passed from the previous year to the next, or so they say.

Isn’t that pointing out the obvious? A clock will always represent time because it gives us a visual of each second ticking by with the needle. I’ve watched that needle move. It sure doesn’t fly by. I’d say a casual stroll through the park more like.

Televised on the BBC, the celebrations involve a large firework display whilst people join hands in a ring and sing the Auld Lang Syne, which has now become a tradition in many parts of the world. Ever so influential the English.

Apart from that, it’s the pubs and clubs and family homes where the traditions continue.

New Year London Ben

Fireworks display at the Big Ben at the stroke of Midnight!

IRELAND

Apart from spending the night in pubs, something they are famous for, they do have some interesting customs and beliefs related to the New Year.

Single women of Ireland sleep with mistletoe under their pillows on New Year’s night in the hope that it will bring them better luck and a future husband.

Damn these girls are desperate… Try http://www.match.com

Another custom is to hit bread against walls to ward off evil spirits.

“Back off you evil spirits! I got me Bread! Don’t you dare show your bloody faces around here if you know what’s best for yah!” *Flings Bread at a wall*

Also according to Irish superstition, be wary of who enters your home after the 31st

Damn! That sounds scary… What does it mean?

If a tall guy is the first to enter your house, you are in luck. I mean literally, that’s what they believe. You get luck and fortune for the year. On the other hand, if a red-haired woman enters your home…Yeah, you don’t want that; Bad Luck. Tell them to dye their hair something else. I feel sorry for them gingers man…they’re forced to spend the night in the cold.

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Mistletoe is placed under the pillows by single Irish girls… Will this pillow count…?

SCOTLAND

In Scotland, the New Year is known as Hogmany.

One of the really cool customs is to known as First-Footing. I say it’s cool because there is a lot of warmth and involved in it think. It involves friends or family visiting each other’s houses with a gift of whisky and sometimes a lump of coal. I guess the coal would be used to keep you warm considering how cold it used to get up north.

Now we got central heating in the homes but still, it’s the thought it counts.

“Oh thanks for the Coal guys… that should keep us going for the next month…”

Also in Scotland, they do this crazy thing where they swing balls of fire! You know these people are awesome when their celebrations involve such an act. I mean literally, balls of fire on a chain are swung around over their heads as they head to the harbor where they flung into the sea to commemorate the arrival of the New Year. A visually magnificent display.

You know you’d want to see this… Fireball Swinging!

WALES

The Welsh also like to follow certain traditions like giving gifts. It’s an ancient custom and it’s still followed to this day. These days it is bread and cheese they give but at least its something.

Cardiff is where the parties take place and not only that. We have live music, catering, ice-skating, funfairs and fireworks. Most of it takes place at the Cardiff Castle and City Hall.

Okay this one is something different.

“Every New Year’s Eve, the Nos Galan road race (Rasys Nos Galan), a 5-kilometre (3.1 mi) running race, is held in Mountain Ash in the Cynon Valley, Rhondda Cynon Taf, South Wales. The race celebrates the life and achievements of Welsh runner Guto Nyth Brân. Founded in 1958 by local runner Bernard Baldwin, it is run over the 5 kilometre route of Guto’s first competitive race. The main race starts with a church service at Llanwynno, and then a wreath is laid on Guto’s grave in Llanwynno graveyard. After lighting a torch, it is carried to the nearby town of Mountain Ash, where the main race takes place.”

– Wikipedia

So if you are celebrating in Wales, you best get your jogging boots on. But it’s an awesome tradition to commemorate the achievements of that man’s life.

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Participants of the Nos Galan Road Race… I think they might have won a prize there…

((Yes, doubled checked. They won! Well done girls!))

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So there you have it… The celebrations from the United Kingdom & Ireland (Still love you guys). I will continue with these celebratory postings. We’re heading over to Europe next and boy do we have some weirdly, interesting customs over there. Let’s see if anything can beat the ‘Tree trunk in the Frozen Lake”.

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