Part Three of our Journey brings us to Europe! Considering there are so many European Countries, I just picked out a few here and there.
There are quite a few different traditions in Italy.
Firstly at midnight, as the fireworks are displayed all across the country, lentil stew is eaten upon the ringing of the bell at midnight, one spoonful per bell. The round lentils are meant to represent coins and this in turn brings wealth to those that eat it.
I don’t really like lentils but if it meant getting rich… bring it on bitch!
Also, they wear Read Underwear for good luck…
Not bad, although who actually owns red underwear?
The highlight however takes place in Venice. A huge make-out session takes place at the stroke of midnight at the square.
Spaniards have a tradition to eat a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the midnight countdown while making a wish. So in total 12 grapes are consumed. The tradition started way back in 1895 when some clever vine farmers realized they had a surplus of grapes and started the tradition to get more customers.
They also have a tradition to wear Red Underwear as well, like the Italians.
What is it with this red underwear?
New Year’s Eve is known as Sint Sylvester Vooranvond in Belgium. In Belgian children write New Year‘s letters to their parents or godparents on New Year’s Day. They decorate the cards with fancy paper complete with cherubs, angels, and colored roses and then read them aloud.
I think that’s really sweet and gives the children to appreciate their parent’s and a nice treat for the parent’s. It should be done in other parts of the world as well.
In Prague, huge fireworks displays begin before noon on the 31st and steadily increase until midnight in honour of the New Year.
That’s like half a day of fireworks. Blimey!
The Danish have a special dessert known as Kransekage to celebrate the New Year. It is a steep-sloped cone-shaped cake decorated with fire crackers and flags.
They also believe that throwing dishes on someone’s doorstep on January 1st assures they will have many friends in the year ahead.
I don’t think the one’s throwing the dishes will end up with many. Who would enjoy cleaning the mess up? I think a gift would be a better way.
Some people in Estonia believe that they should eat seven, nine, or twelve meals on New Year’s Eve. With each meal consumed, it is believed that the person gains the strength of that many men the following year.
You don’t eat the entire meal, however part of the meal is left unfinished for the spirits or ancestors who visit the house on New Year’s Eve.
A feast for the dead, the alive and the spirits! Fascinating.
A Finnish New Year tradition is called molybdomancy, which is the act of telling New Year’s fortunes by melting “tin” (actually lead) in a tiny pan on the stove and then quickly throwing it into a bucket of cold water.
The blob of metal is then analysed in the candlelight to see what fate will befall the person in the New Year.
Somebody let Professor Trelawny know… This might actually produce more content than her tea-bags.
The German people eat jam-filled doughnuts made with or without liquor fillings on New Year’s Eve, as well as a tiny marzipan pig as a token of good luck.
The entire country also loves to watch the 1920s British Cabaret play “Dinner for One” that is broadcast on German television stations in black and white each year.
In Macedonia, New Year’s Eve is celebrated both on December 31st as well as on January 14 according to the Macedonian Orthodox (also known as the Julian or Lunar) Calendar.
Fireworks happen throughout the day on the 31st, and Macedonian children receive gifts from relatives on the 14th.
So a two-part tale eh? Not bad… Two days of celebrations… I wouldn’t complain.
Greece has quite a few traditions on New Year’s Eve.
Children sing the New Year’s carols to be given money.
A pie is cooked named “Bill’s Pie” or “Vassilopita”, which is a cake flavored with almonds. Following tradition, they put a coin wrapped in aluminium foil inside the pie.
When midnight arrives, the families count down and then they turn off all the lights and reopen their eyes to “enter the year with a new light”. After the fireworks show, they cut the “Vassilopita” and serve it. The person that gets the wrapped coin is the lucky person of the day. Gifts exchanges may follow.
In Romania, it’s tradition to try to talk to animals. If they don’t speak back you will find true happiness. No surprise, this has quite a high success rate and budgies are nowhere to be seen.
This one would be an interesting one to try. It’s based on luck but also, talking to an animal who is not known to reply is an easy way of earning the Good Luck.
* * *
For the final edition… We should be heading west to the ‘Other Side’. I’m talking about the Americas; North and South. Do join me for the final piece of the New Years journey.