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Start a New Tradition in the New Year

One of the holidays that is celebrated throughout the world is the New Year, usually on New Year's Eve. Different cultures celebrate in different ways. In the USA, it is time to drink champagne, perhaps fireworks and watch the ball drop in Times Square, but did you know what they do elsewhere?

In South America people don brightly colored underpants to ring in the New Year - red if they're looking for love or yellow for money. Red underwear is also donned in Italy as well. It is curious that the underwear tradition is also practiced in Argentina where pink underwear is donned and if you eat beans while doing this, your job is secure.

In Panama effigies of popular celebrities and political figures - called muñecos - are burned on bonfires, but let's not get any ideas here!

In Denmark folks jump off chairs at midnight. One would hope there is not a whole lot of drinking before that. They also have the tradition of breaking dishes and putting them in front of their doors as well as friends doors. Whoever has the most broken dishes in front of their door is considered to have the most friends.

In Siberia they dive into a frozen lake while holding a tree trunk. This one is a little more than I could handle. This is similar to the Canadians who do a chilling swim in the English Bay on New Years Day.

The Romanians try to communicate with their animals. If they are successful, it is believed a prosperous and happy year is ahead. I wonder how they know if they have succeeded.

Then we have the food traditions. In Spain they eat 12 grapes at midnight hoping to secure twelve happy months ahead. A dollop of cream tossed on the floor is what the Swiss do to ensure good luck. The Greeks believe in onions and hang them on their front doors as a symbol of rebirth for the coming year. They tap the heads of the children with the onions for good luck upon waking the next morning. In Estonia, many meals will be on the menu for the day. Usually, 7, 9, or 12 meals will be eaten during the day. These are considered lucky meals and it is OK if you can't finish all of them because the leftovers will be eaten by the ancestors or spirits that come to visit at this time. The Germans eat jelly donuts on New Year's Eve, but the bakers like to play a joke on the citizens. Occasionally they will fill a donut with mustard, not a good omen for the year, but now worry, you can always ward off the evil spirits by eating a marzipan pig.

Whatever you did for New Year's Eve, we would like to wish you and your loved ones a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2017.



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