Happy New Year! 2013 is just around the corner and, in celebration, this week’s Cultural Tidbits Monday will be all about New Year superstitions around the world and other (mostly) unknown facts about New Year’s Day + its origins. Where was it first celebrated? What will people in other countries want to do tonight in order to increase their luck? What type of rituals must take place today in order to be prosperous in the next 12 months? Let’s find out!
New Year: (Mostly) Unknown Facts and (Debatable) Origins
* The most “unusual” fact about the New Year (on both the Roman and Gregorian calendar) is that, according to the Catholic Church, Jesus was circumcised on January 1st. Also, that’s when he got his name — on the 8th day after his birth. Say whaaa? Yeah, I said that too. [Wikipedia]
* New Year’s didn’t always fall on January 1st, though. In fact, the Western World started to celebrate it on January 1st in 1600 (Scotland). Until 1751, Great Britain and Wales celebrated it on March 25th, known as Lady Day.
For information about the changeover from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar and the effect on the dating of historical events etc., see Old Style and New Style dates [Wikipedia]
NYE Traditions and New Year Superstitions Around the World
* According to Chiff, one of the most popular New Year superstitions around the world is that if a tall, handsome dark man walks by your door right after midnight as a sign of good luck. Conversely, if the first person to walk into your home in the New Year happens to be a redhead, prepare for a lot of stress in the next 12 months! Funny eh?
* In Spain and many other Latin American countries, one of the top New Year superstitions is to eat 12 grapes at midnight — for good luck! The Portuguese eat 12 raisins instead.
* In the Philippines, children must jump A LOT at midnight in order to ensure that they will grow tall!
* In Italy, many eat the popular carnival pastry chiacchiere to have a sweet, lucky New Year.
* Other countries believe that eating anything colored green (like money) brings prosperity in the New Year. Same thing for any food that comes “full circle” — like donuts or pretzels.
More New Year superstitions around the world: Lucky recipes!
* In Greece, New Year Day is like a second Christmas. Children leave their shoes by the fireplace, in hopes that St. Basil will fill them with gifts. Indeed, January 1st is the day of St. Basil, a holiday in the country and one that is quite similar to December 25th.
* Many Latinos (myself included!) Like to wear either bright RED or YELLOW underwear for Año Viejo and Año Nuevo. They are thought to bring much fortune in the New Year.
* Listen up, travelers! If you wish for globetrotting in 2013, make sure you run around the block with your luggage. This will make your dream come true! 😉
* Make sure you wear silver or gold colors to your party. One of the wildly-popular New Year superstitions around the world is that these 2 colors bring a lot of luck to your household if you are wearing them as the clock hits midnight!