Hello! My name is Pasha, and over the past 10 years, on the eve of the New Year’s holidays, I have been running away from mayonnaise salads, Blue Lights and wiping dusty Christmas tree decorations taken from the mezzanine. Someone has a tradition of going to the bathhouse on the 31st, and I’m going to the airport and flying off on my next trip to celebrate the New Year without sandwiches with red caviar and a chiming clock.
Especially for Happy Worthy Life, I’ll tell you without embellishment, why it’s better to celebrate the main holiday of the year at home with friends, and not in a foreign country, where sometimes strange traditions can shock us in the same way as a foreigner – the look and taste of a herring under a fur coat.
1. Burning dolls, yellow underwear and money under the heel
In Russia make wishes with the help of paper, a lighter, a chime of chimes and a sparkling drink, Ecuadorians make a special doll for these purposes. A few hours before the New Year, you can see charred dolls on the streets of Quito, which can scare tourists who do not know about this tradition.
These dolls are filled with old newspapers, and sometimes photographs of the events of the past 12 months. So Ecuadorians say goodbye to the old year – literally burning all the bad memories.
And do not be embarrassed if you see that yellow underwear is being sold on the streets. It is here that you need to celebrate the New Year so that good luck will accompany you.
Also remember that on this holiday every Ecuadorian in his left boot under the heel will definitely have a one-dollar bill. If you suddenly want to buy something from local residents, and they are deceiving that they have no change, ask them to look for a trifle in shoes.
2. Beating plates on the door
If in Denmark at Christmas you hear the sound of a plate breaking on your door, then be sure: this is not someone’s family showdown. What we consider vandalism among the Danes is a good tradition. They love to break the dishes on the doorstep of their family and friends on New Year’s Eve.
The more dishes broken at your door by January 1, the more friends and good luck you will have in the coming year. Therefore, instead of the sound of fireworks or the chiming clock, here you will hear how the Danes rush at midnight to beat dishes on other people’s doors.
3. Burning a Christmas tree
If in Russia some people throw out a Christmas tree on March 8, making a long-awaited gift for International Women’s Day, in the Netherlands for several decades now they have been getting rid of the main symbol of the city in an original way.
On New Year’s Eve, everyone brings Christmas trees in the square or in the parks to burn them, admiring the huge festive bonfire. Until the 1950s, the Dutch burned Christmas trees right on the streets, until local authorities organized special places where, under the supervision of firefighters, you can effectively destroy the New Year tree.
4. New Year’s swim
On the morning of January 1, when we usually laugh at jokes about last year’s breakfast salads, tens of thousands of Dutch go to Scheveningen beach to plunge into the North Sea in Santa Claus costumes. This Dutch tradition appeared in the 1960s when a local swimming club decided to start the year with a dive into the sea.
5. Bear walks
If on New Year’s Eve you happen to be in Romania, then do not be alarmed when you see dancing bears on the streets of northern villages. Traditional festivities with people dressed in the skins of bears and dancing all day until the fall, here symbolize death and the revival of time.
6. Gifts in the log
In Catalonia, you will not find gifts under the tree, as they are hidden in a special log of kagatio. To get a surprise, usually sweets and sweets, you first need to beat the log with twigs.
And if you want to get sweets yourself, then take a look at the Procession of the Three Kings in Barcelona, which takes place in early February. This is a colorful parade during which sweets are fired from large air guns into the crowd.
7. Demons away
A family trip to the New Year in Japan can seriously scare your children. Here, during the festival, people dress up in straw costumes, put on demon masks and visit houses where young children live to remind them to behave well in the coming year. Even the Japanese kids do not always like this ancient tradition.
8. Water fights with elephants
You can get to the New Year celebration not only at the end of December, but also in mid-April, if you find yourself in Thailand at this time. Here on Thai New Year you can accidentally become a participant in the water battle with elephants. Also, you can just like pour water from a bucket, not really asking permission, because this is a local tradition. Water in this case symbolizes the cleansing of all the negative that you have accumulated over the past year, so do not be offended if you suddenly get wet.
9. Liquid metal fireworks
For the Chinese New Year, you can witness an unusual and slightly dangerous, but very impressive sight. More than 500 years old, the tradition is to throw molten iron on the cold bricks of a city gate to form sparks like fireworks.
10. Competitions of the big bellies
If you suddenly decide to celebrate the New Year in Africa and go to Ethiopia, visit one place where you will certainly not be tormented by the pangs of conscience about extra pounds gained during the traditional New Year’s “mayonnaise diet”. Here lives the body tribe, in which men with large tummies are considered the standard of beauty.
On New Year’s Day, the elders measure and choose the most well-fed young man to award him with a cup for beauty. In order to win the competition, the participants begin to eat specifically for 3–6 months before the New Year, so that during this time they will almost double their weight.
10. Bonus: as holidays are celebrated in Germany
If you want to be inspired by the atmosphere of a real European Christmas, then planning a trip is worth a few days before Christmas Eve. On the holiday itself, all the cities of Europe are empty, shops are closing, and there is absolutely nothing to do there at this time. But if suddenly you were invited to visit a family celebration, then do not expect anything even close to the usual celebrations in your homeland.
Yes, the New Year is practically not celebrated here: they just go out and start fireworks or watch a concert in the main square, although most often they watch it on television. It seems like Christmas should be fun in Europe at Christmas. It is possible, but not for those who are used to eating tasty and hearty food.
For example, when I went to visit my friends in Berlin, I saw a huge house, many guests, and even a festive table with snacks. I thought: “Oh, now I eat deliciously, chat.” However, on the table were only fruits, a salad of lettuce leaves and some sweets. The meal ended after about 15 minutes, and everyone sat in the living room. I was hoping maybe later they would offer something hot or something else, but there was only tea with cookies. And then the most important thing actually began – the presentation of gifts, which lasted 3 hours.
A man walked out into the middle of the room, and his parents gave him gifts, first his parents, then distant relatives, then friends. Each package had to be slowly deployed, then for a long time to admire, thank, kiss the donor and move on to the next. All gifts were handed with a check so that you could exchange them in the store for something else. I also received my surprise – from the hostess of the house (the grandmother of my friends), although in principle I didn’t even plan to participate in this ceremony, I was going to just watch from the side.
Actually, when the gifts were presented to everyone, the holiday came to an end. With a slight feeling of hunger (probably for the first time in my life after the festive table), but with gifts I left the guests. And the next day I bought a little olivier in tartlets in a Russian store in the center of Berlin, and my heart immediately felt so warm and good, and in the air it seemed to smell tangerines.
If you had an unlimited budget for the New Year, how and where would you spend it?