In with the New

New Year’s Eve is a popular event in many cultures throughout the world, even if the New Year may start at different times. A new year means new possibilities. I might not make New Year’s resolutions but I certainly like to think of what I will do in the New Year.

Custom vs Habit: A custom is a practice based on tradition whereas a habit is a repeated personal practice, sometimes a bad one.

People around the world celebrate this changing of the calendar in numerous different, and sometimes, unique ways. Here are a few of our more favorite or interesting traditions – maybe you’ll be inspired to introduce a global custom into your December 31 celebration. Happy 2014!

For those who love big crowds, New Year’s Eve is a perfect time to surround yourself with thousands of celebrating strangers. New York’s Times Square and the ball drop are fairly famous, as is the party in Madrid’s Plaza de Espana. However, all over Spain, in order to ensure good luck in the coming year, one grape is eaten every second in the last 12 seconds of the year. Scotland is a place that truly embraces New Year’s Eve – so much so they have their own name for it – Hogmanay. Bonfires and locals parading around town swinging poles with fireballs also makes this celebration a burn hazard. The fire is meant to purify the New Year.

Out with the old, in with the new is a constant theme in many cultures. In Ecuador, homeowners light a newspaper-stuffed scarecrow on fire outside their house to burn away the bad bits of the past year and scare bad luck away in the new one. Interestingly, Chileans often mark the New Year by spending time in a cemetery with their family – both those living and those who call the graveyard home. Typically a mass is held.

Many places have lucky foods. For example, in the southern US black-eyed peas are supposed to bring luck, while eating rice in India and Pakistan promises prosperity. Sweet things are always a treat – in Ireland they eat pastries called bannocks, but Switzerland does something weird. In Swiss homes, they drop dollops of whipped cream on the floor to symbolize the richness of the year to come. Apparently the blobs are left there, until when? They start to smell? The richness of the New Year becomes apparent? In the Netherlands, they eat round-shaped fritters called olie bollen. Round shaped anything is supposed to signify coming full circle and leads to good fortune, which is why some cultures (the Philippines for example) wear lots of circles and polka dots on New Year’s Eve.

Idiom: Plain old: Nothing special

Speaking of wearing things, what color underwear do you plan to wear on December 31? Don’t know? People in Columbia, Bolivia and Mexico probably do. Columbians and Bolivians believe wearing yellow underwear will bring happiness and good luck in the year to come. In Mexico, yellow underwear is acceptable if you just want some plain old luck, but if you want luck in love, don a pair of bright red undies for a hot new year!

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Original article by Jacy Meyer – Phoenix, Arizona. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team 

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Custom vs Habit: A custom is a practice based on tradition whereas a habit is a repeated personal practice, sometimes a bad one.

New Year’s Eve is a popular event in many cultures throughout the world, even if the New Year may start at different times. In this article we look at some of our favorite customs.

If you like big groups of people, New Year’s Eve is a perfect time for you. New York’s Times Square and the ball drop are fairly famous, as is the party in Madrid’s Plaza de Espana. However, all over Spain, in order to ensure good luck in the coming year, one grape is eaten every second in the last 12 seconds of the year. Scotland is a place that truly embraces New Year’s Eve – so much so they have their own name for it – Hogmanay. Bonfires and locals parading around town swinging poles with fireballs also makes this celebration a burn hazard. The fire is meant to purify the New Year.

Out with the old, in with the new is a constant theme in many cultures. In Ecuador, homeowners light a newspaper-stuffed scarecrow on fire outside their house to burn away the bad bits of the pass year and scare bad luck away in the new one.

Many places have lucky foods. For example, in the southern US black-eyed peas are supposed to bring luck, while eating rice in India and Pakistan promises prosperity. Sweet things are always a treat – in Ireland they eat pastries called bannocks. In the Netherlands, they eat round-shaped fritters called olie bollen. Round shaped anything is supposed to signify coming full circle and leads to good fortune, which is why some cultures (the Philippines for example) wear lots of circles and polka dots on New Year’s Eve.

Idiom: Plain old: Nothing special

Speaking of wearing things, what color underwear do you plan to wear on December 31? Don’t know? People in Columbia, Bolivia and Mexico probably do. Columbians and Bolivians believe wearing yellow underwear will bring happiness and good luck in the year to come. In Mexico, yellow underwear is acceptable if you just want some plain old luck, but if you want luck in love, don a pair of bright red undies for a hot new year!

Original article by Jacy Meyer – Phoenix, Arizona. Text edited by The Word’s methodology team 

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New Year’s Eve is one of the most celebratory times of the year. No matter the culture, age, nationality or religion – this seems to be a globally celebrated event. The passing of an old year and the promise that a new one holds gives rise to optimism, good cheer and warm feelings for most people. We’ll leave the pessimistic cynics out of this tradition.

Use of do: Nowadays, do is often used with a range of nouns when a verb could fit. For example people might say, ‘I don’t do apologies’ instead of ‘I don’t apologize’.

New Year’s Eve has always been one of my favorite holidays, mainly for the optimistic reason listed above. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, believing if there is something I should do, there’s no time like the present, but do often think about new things I might try or do in the upcoming 12 months.

People around the world celebrate this changing of the calendar in numerous different, and sometimes, unique ways. Here are a few of our more favorite or interesting traditions – maybe you’ll be inspired to introduce a global custom into your December 31 celebration. Happy 2014!

For those who love big crowds, New Year’s Eve is a perfect time to surround yourself with thousands of celebrating strangers. New York’s Time Square and the ball drop are fairly famous, as is the party in Madrid’s Plaza de Espana. However, all over Spain, in order to ensure good luck in the coming year, one grape is eaten every second in the last 12 seconds of the year. Scotland is a place that truly embraces New Year’s Eve – so much so they have their own name for it – Hogmanay. Bonfires and locals parading around town swinging poles with fireballs also makes this celebration a burn hazard. The fire is meant to purify the New Year.

The ball drop has been replicated in hundreds of cities around the world. A city in my home state of Arizona symbolically dips a massive tortilla chip into a massive bowl of salsa at the stroke of midnight. In Elmore, Ohio, they drop a giant sausage, in Sarasota, Florida, a glowing pineapple, Eastport, Maine drops a giant sardine while a wood-and-plastic foam lit duck is dropped in Havre de Grace, Maryland. A 10-foot Gibson guitar is dropped in Niagara Falls, New York and a three-foot tall, 30-pound wooden flea is dropped in Eastover, North Carolina. I could go on and on, but won’t. Okay, one more – in Cincinnati, Ohio a flying pig is ‘flown’ not dropped, confirming there is at least one occasion ‘when pigs fly.’

Out with the old, in with the new is a recurring theme in many cultures too. In Ecuador, homeowners light a newspaper-stuffed scarecrow on fire outside their house to burn away the bad bits of the past year and scare bad luck away in the new one. Interestingly, Chileans often mark the New Year by spending time in a cemetery with their family – both those living and those who call the graveyard home. Typically a mass is held.

One tradition I like (even though I don’t practice it) is the custom of eating ‘lucky’ food on New Year’s Day. For example, in the southern US black-eyed peas are supposed to bring luck, while eating rice in India and Pakistan promises prosperity. Sweet things are always a treat – in Ireland they indulge in pastries called bannocks, but Switzerland does something weird. In Swiss homes, they drop dollops of whipped cream on the floor to symbolize the richness of the year to come. Apparently the blobs are left there, until when? They start to smell? The richness of the New Year becomes apparent? In the Netherlands, they eat round-shaped fritters called olie bollen. Round shaped anything is supposed to signify coming full circle and leads to good fortune, which is why some cultures (the Philippines for example) wear lots of circles and polka dots on New Year’s Eve.

Idiom: Plain old: Nothing special

Speaking of wearing things, what color underwear do you plan to wear on December 31? Don’t know? People in Columbia, Bolivia and Mexico probably do. Columbians and Bolivians believe wearing yellow underwear will bring happiness and good luck in the year to come. In Mexico, yellow underwear is acceptable if you just want some plain old luck, but if you want luck in love, don a pair of bright red undies for a hot new year!

Jacy Meyer – Phoenix, Arizona

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