New year’s eve tradition

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Folks, another year has come and gone, and I’m happy to report we can finally move on from the dumpster fire that was 2019. Seriously, this past year was a doozy. Between the endless saga of the Jordyn Woods–Khloé Kardashian drama (yes, that was THIS year) to Taylor Swift’s ongoing feud with Scooter Braun, I, for one, cannot wait to be rid of all that toxic energy. (Yeah, I’m purposely not mentioning the unspeakable horrors that happened to real people in the real world. Just too…much.)

Now that the return of the roaring ’20s is finally within reach, it’s time to take the appropriate measures to ensure the bad juju from the 2010s won’t follow you into the new decade. Cut ties with anyone who isn’t sparking joy in your life, make sure you aren’t still paying for any subscription services you never use, and it’s probably time to restock your makeup brushes because I doubt you washed them in the last decade (no judgment).

And if you’re a believer of superstitions—again, no judgment—there are plenty of popular traditions from around the world that claim to help bring you good luck and positive energy in the new year. You’re probably familiar with some of these—kissing at midnight is basically a worldwide law at this point—but I’ve also included a handful of superstitions from cultures outside the U.S., like the Italian custom of throwing furniture out the window (sure) and the Japanese tradition of eating soba noodles (yum). So read on and start visualizing happiness for the months to come. It can’t hurt, right?

Kiss someone at midnight

I’m guessing you’re already extremely familiar with this superstition, since everyone makes such a big freakin’ deal about it every year. But apparently, the midnight smooch is more than just an excuse to lock lips. Superstition says that if you kiss someone who gives you goosebumps when the clock strikes 12, your love will last all year long.

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Carry an empty suitcase

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to use your passport more often, listen up. In Colombia, people walk around with an empty suitcase on New Year’s Eve, as it’s believed to ensure you’ll travel throughout the next 12 months. Maybe this tradition will mean I promptly unpack my suitcase once I’m back home after Christmas? Still unlikely, but here’s hoping.

Eat black eyed peas and collard greens

Southerners will probably be familiar with this New Year’s Day menu. Eating black eyed peas and collard greens on the first day of the new year is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity (aka that $$, honey). Honestly, doesn’t sound like a bad combo for your hangover either.

Uwe KrejciGetty Images

Don’t clean your house

Looking for an excuse not to tidy up? China’s got you. According to Chinese lore, tidying on New Year’s Day is thought to clean away the good luck you’ve stored up for the new year. Seriously, you’re not supposed to sweep the house or even do your laundry. Finally, a superstition that gives back.

Eat 12 grapes at midnight

If you’re in Spain for New Year’s this year, don’t be surprised when everyone tosses back a dozen grapes at 12:00 a.m. The midnight snack is supposed to bring good luck for every month of the new year.

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Toss some dishes at your neighbor’s house

This Danish tradition is low-key a popularity contest, as the superstition encourages you to break dishes on the doorsteps of all of your friends and family for good luck. The more doorsteps you have to hit up, the luckier you’ll be. But if you live in America, I’d give your loved ones a heads up before you bring this custom across the pond—they might not, uh, appreciate it otherwise.

Throw furniture out of a window

In Italy, people toss their belongings—including furniture—out the window (literally) as soon as the clock strikes midnight on January 1, as it’s thought to help make room for only positive vibes in the new year.

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Snack on some soba at midnight

Calling all noodle fans! In Japan, it’s traditional to eat buckwheat soba noodles at midnight because the long skinny noodles signify prosperity and longevity.

Make sure you don’t loan your friends any cash

People think that loaning money out on New Year’s Eve serves as a preview of what the rest of your year will look like. So if you don’t want to be shelling out cash to your friends all year long, wait until January 2 to lend them a few bucks.

And make sure your wallet is full too

Full wallet on New Year’s Eve = rolling in the dough all year long. It’s probably not actually an indicator of next year’s wealth, but hey, do you really want to risk it?

Luis Castaneda Inc.Getty Images

Get loud

Firecrackers and noisemakers became part of New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world because folklore says the loud sounds will ward off evil spirits. This superstition is cool and all, but it probably won’t work on your neighbors if they want you to turn down your music.

Stock your cupboards

Tradition says that empty cabinets on New Year’s Day could indicate you’ll struggle in the next 12 months, particularly financially, so hit up the grocery store before everything closes for the holiday just in case.

Pop the door open at midnight

In the Philippines, people open all the doors and windows in their homes at midnight so the bad vibes clear out and good luck can come inside. Sure, letting a bunch of cold air into your home in the middle of winter might not sound super fun, but just do it for a minute to make the magic work.

Steer clear of lobster and chicken

As delicious as they are, eating lobster and chicken on January 1 might mess with your luck in the new year. The thinking goes that because chickens have wings, your luck could fly away, and since lobsters walk backward, consuming ’em might hold you back. It sounds a bit kooky but can’t hurt to stick to a vegetarian menu, just in case.

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Eat King Cake when the clock strikes 12

King Cake is that delicious donut-like dessert famous in New Orleans (or in France, where it’s called galette des rois), and eating it signifies you’re satisfied with the end of the Christmas season and ready for a new year. If you’re lucky enough to get served the slice with a gold coin (or in some cases, a tiny plastic baby) tucked away in the batter, you’ll have an especially wealthy and prosperous new year. In other words, eating this cake could make you lucky. Do it.

Whip out your red underwear

If you’re hoping 2020 will be a ~spicy~ year for you, make sure to slip on some red panties before heading out for any celebrations. In Latin America, wearing rouge underwear on New Year’s is believed to bring passionate relationships for the next 12 months. It’s up to you if anyone else gets to know you’re wearing them ;).

Related Story Samantha Grindell Samantha Grindell is a lifestyle writer based in New York City.

Human beings, by nature, are superstitious. Perhaps because we live–and will always live–in an uncertain world. So, if having a lucky pair of drawers makes you feel better about the future, I say wear those grundies proudly on new years’ day! You might even want to try a few of these luck and love inducing dandies as well.

  1. Kissing at midnight will ensure the affections of those we kiss. If you don’t, you might cause a case of the cold shoulder for the next year.
  2. Dancing on new years’ day will bring love and prosperity.
  3. If you’re sad on new years’, don’t cry. It may continue your sadness for the next year.
  4. Don’t break anything. It’s like breaking a mirror x 1000, bad luck-wise.
  5. Make sure your cupboards are full and your wallets have some cash in ‘em on new years day. If they do, prosperity is guaranteed.
  6. Pay your bills before January 1st as the new year should not begin with debt. Conversely, don’t loan any money or pay loans as you’ll be paying out the rest of the year. The same goes for letting valuable items, like jewelry, leave the house which will bring bad luck.
  7. The first person to enter your home after midnight on new years eve will greatly influence your life for the next year.
  8. Throw nothing away on the first day of the new year. This means nothing. No emptied dust pans, no shaken rugs to free their dirt.
  9. If you live in the southern US, you might be eating black-eyed peas to ensure a prosperous new year. No black eyed peas around? Eat lentil soup.
  10. Avoid eating chicken and turkey on the first of the year as they’re dirt scratchers, a metaphor of those suffering in poverty. On the other hand, chowing on beef and pork is fine because the first stands steadfast and the later roots in the dirt in a forward motion, which are better stances to have facing a new year.
  11. DO eat 12 grapes before midnight on new years’ eve as it will bring prosperity for the next 12 months.
  12. It’s actually a good thing to do something work related on new years’ day, but just a token activity, nothing major. And no, you don’t have to actually be at your place of business to do it.
  13. Don’t do laundry on new years or you may ‘wash away’ a loved one in the new year.
  14. Don’t clean your house on new years’ day.
  15. Don’t wash your hair on new years’ day.
  16. Don’t use scissors or knives on new years’ day as they will ‘cut’ off good fortune.
  17. Do wear a new article of clothing on new years’ day as in increases your changes of getting more clothes in the next 365 days.
  18. And speaking of clothing, wearing red is your best bet as it will bring happiness in the new year.
  19. At midnight open all the doors in the house to let in the new year and make noise to scare away the evil spirits.
  20. Make sure you drain the bottle of champagne–or any beverage–on new year’s day as it brings good fortune.

In actuality this list is just a snippet of new years’ superstitions. To read more, visit here, here, here, here, here and for some really odd ones, go here.

7 Lucky Foods to Eat on New Year’s Day

Here are seven New Year’s good luck foods to attract abundance and prosperity in the coming year. Or at least they’ll pick us up after hard-partying the night before.

1. Black-Eyed Peas, Greens, and Cornbread

Luck factor: Even folks who aren’t from the Southern United States go all in on eating black-eyed peas and leafy greens for good luck on New Year’s Day. Add a slice of cornbread, and you’ve got “peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.”

Try these recipes: Slow Cooker Spicy Black-Eyed Peas, Kickin’ Collard Greens, and Skillet Corn Bread

Image zoom Meredith

Watch: Try Three New Ways to Enjoy Black-Eyed Peas

Luck factor: Pork for progress! Pigs root around with their snouts moving in a forward motion, which is why many cultures around the world eat pork on New Year’s Day to symbolize progress for the coming year.

Try this recipe: Slow Cooker Pork and Sauerkraut with Apples

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3. Grapes

Luck factor: In Spain and Mexico, eating 12 grapes at midnight as the clock strikes once for each hour will bring you luck for the 12 months ahead. (It’s not as easy as it sounds.)

Make this recipe for your New Year’s Eve party, and hold some grapes aside for your good-luck gobble: Balsamic Roasted Grapes

Image zoom Meredith

4. Pomegranates

Luck factor: Seeds have always been associated with fertility. In Greece, they hurl whole pomegranates to the floor to release a flood of seeds that symbolize life and abundance.

Instead of smashing your pomegranate on the floor, try this easy method to get the seeds out, then use them in this recipe: Spiced Pears and Pomegranate

Image zoom reiscakes

5. Fish

Luck factor: So many fish in the sea. Maybe that’s why they symbolized abundance in the new year around the world: Asian cultures feast on whole fish to celebrate Lunar New year, while on the other side of the globe, Europeans eat cod, herring, and carp. And while you don’t eat the silvery scales, they do stand for coinage and plenty of it.

Try this recipe: Baked Dijon Salmon

Image zoom angela thorassie

6. Noodles and Rice

Luck factor: Noodles, especially extra-long noodles, are thought to bring long life if you eat them without breaking them in the middle. Rice is all about fertility and wealth.

Try this comforting dish for a double dose of luck: Chicken Long Rice Soup

Image zoom okinawanprincess

7. Cakes

Luck factor: Ring-shaped cakes and other rounded sweet treats bring a full circle of luck to the eater. In some traditions, a coin is baked inside to bring an extra serving of luck to the one who finds it.

Try this recipe: Vaselopita – Greek New Years Cake

Image zoom emily lyons

Related

  • Celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year With These Traditional Recipes
  • Check out our whole collection of New Year’s lucky foods.

7 Strangest New Year Traditions Around The World

New Year, New You

From grape eating contests to fortune telling underwear, check out this list of 7 of the strangest New Year traditions around the world.

From grape eating contests to fortune telling underwear, check out this list of 7 of the strangest New Year traditions around the world.

1

Scarecrow burning – Ecuador

To banish any ill fortune or bad things that happened in the past year, Ecuadorians set fire to scarecrows filled with paper at midnight on New Year’s Eve. They also burn photographs of things that represent the past year, which leads us to believe that New Year is just a thinly veiled excuse for Ecuadorian pyromaniacs to set things on fire.

2

Round things – Philippines

In the Philippines New Year is about one thing, and one thing only; cold hard cash. Hoping to bring prosperity and wealth for the year ahead, Filipino people try to use as many round things as possible to represent coins and wealth. Round clothes, round food, you name it; if it’s round, they want in.

3

Broken plates – Denmark

If you’re ever in Denmark and wake up to find a pile of smashed crockery outside your door, it’s probably New Year’s Eve. Unused plates are saved up all year, until the 31st of December when they are hurled at the front doors of your friends and family in a strangely vandalistic display of affection.

4

Eating 12 grapes – Spain

As the clock counts down to 12 and people around the world are preparing to watch fireworks and drunkenly kiss each other, Spaniards are staring at bunches of grapes with a steely gaze. This challenge involves stuffing your face with 12 grapes, one for every ring of the bell. Succeed and you’ve got good luck for the year ahead.

5

Takanakuy Festival – Peru

This annual Peruvian festival held at the end of December is all about people beating the living daylights out of each other. Competitors face off in a ring for a round of bare-knuckle brawling, which is overseen by local policemen. Takanakuy literally means ‘when the blood is boiling’, but apparently all of the fights are friendly, and represent a fresh start for the year.

6

108 rings – Japan

Think the countdown of 12 rings takes too long? Try 108 on for size. In Japan bells are rang 108 times in a Buddhist tradition that is believed to banish all human sins. It’s also good luck to be smiling or laughing going into the New Year, but who knows how you can be in a good mood after having to sit through that prolonged ringing.

7

Coloured underwear – South America

In South American countries such as Mexico, Bolivia and Brazil, your fortunes for the year ahead are all decided by your underpants. Those who want to find love wear red underwear for New Year, whilst gold diggers should opt for yellow, which brings wealth and luck. If you’re just after a bit of peace for the New Year, some white pants should do the trick nicely.

Many New Year’s traditions that we take for granted today actually have a long, long history. This year, ring out the old and ring in the new with a new New Year’s tradition—or two!

Make Some Noise

Making a lot of noise—from fireworks to gun shots to church bells—seems to be a favorite New Year’s pastime across the globe.

  • In ancient Thailand, guns were fired to frighten off demons.
  • In China, firecrackers routed the forces of darkness.
  • In the early American colonies, the sound of pistol shots rang through the air.
  • Today, Italians let their church bells peal, the Swiss beat drums, and North Americans sound sirens and party horns to bid the old year farewell.

Eat Lucky Food

Many New Year’s traditions involve food. Here are a few:

  • The tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight comes from Spain. Revelers stuff their mouths with 12 grapes in the final moments of the year—one grape for every chime of the clock!
  • In the southern US, black-eyed peas and pork foretell good fortune. See our recipe for Hoppin’ John!
  • In Scotland—where Hogmanay is celebrated—people parade down the streets swinging balls of fire.
  • Eating any ring-shaped treat (such as a doughnut) symbolizes “coming full circle” and leads to good fortune. In Dutch homes, fritters called olie bollen are served.
  • The Irish enjoy pastries called bannocks.
  • In India and Pakistan, rice promises prosperity.
  • Apples dipped in honey are a Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) tradition.
  • In Swiss homes, dollops of whipped cream, symbolizing the richness of the year to come, are dropped on the floors—and allowed to remain there!

Have a Drink

Although the pop of a champagne cork signals the arrival of the New Year around the world, some countries have their own beverage-based traditions.

  • Wassail, a punch-like drink named after the Gaelic term for “good health,” is served in some parts of England.
  • Spiced “hot pint” is the Scottish version of Wassail. Traditionally, the Scots drank to each others’ prosperity and also offered this warm drink to neighbors along with a small gift.
  • In Holland, toasts are made with hot, spiced wine.

See our Holiday Punch Hints and Recipes for ideas.

Give a Gift

New Year’s Day was once the time to swap presents.

  • Gifts of gilded nuts or coins marked the start of the new year in Rome.
  • Eggs, the symbol of fertility, were exchanged by the Persians.
  • Early Egyptians traded earthenware flasks.
  • In Scotland, coal, shortbread and silverware were traditionally exchanged for good luck.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

In Scotland, the custom of first-footing is an important part of the celebration of Hogmanay, or New Year’s Eve day.

After midnight, family and friends visit each other’s home. The “first foot” to cross a threshold after midnight will predict the next year’s fortune. Although the tradition varies, those deemed especially fortunate as “first footers” are new brides, new mothers, those who are tall and dark (and handsome?) or anyone born on January 1.

Turn Over a New Leaf

The dawn of a new year is an opportune time to take stock of your life.

  • Jews who observe Rosh Hashanah make time for personal introspection and prayer, as well as visiting graves.
  • Christian churches hold “watch-night” services, a custom that began in 1770 at Old St. Georges Methodist Church in Philadelphia.
  • The practice of making New Year’s resolutions, said to have begun with the Babylonians as early as 2600 B.C., is another way to reflect on the past and plan ahead.

New Year’s Folklore

Some customs and beliefs are simply passed down through the ages. Here are some of our favorite age-old sayings and proverbs.

  • On New Year’s Eve, kiss the person you hope to keep kissing.
  • If New Year’s Eve night wind blow south, It betokeneth warmth and growth.
  • For abundance in the new year, fill your pockets and cupboards today.
  • If the old year goes out like a lion, the new year will come in like a lamb.
  • Begin the new year square with every man. –Robert B. Thomas, founder of The Old Farmer’s Almanac

So, whether we resolve to return borrowed farm equipment (as did the Babylonians) or drop a few pounds, we’re tapping into an ancient and powerful longing for a fresh start!

Pondering a New Year’s resolution and a new start? Check out our blog on How to Make New Year’s Resolutions.

New Year’s Traditions Around the World

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Hello and welcome to VOA Learning English.

Most of us here in the United States are celebrating the coming of a New Year. At the stroke of midnight on January 1, we rang in 2018!

Many cultures follow different calendars and celebrate the New Year at different times. The Lunar New Year is one example.

No matter when you celebrate, there are many traditions around the world for ringing in the New Year.

Here is a look at a few of them:

Chasing away bad luck

Many cultures have traditions meant to scare off demons and bad luck. This often involves using fire or loud noises – or both – often in the form of fireworks!

But there are other ways people do it, too.

In Scotland, for example, people hold bonfire celebrations. And men from villages walk through the streets swinging giant blazing fireballs over their heads. These fireballs represent the sun and they are supposed to clean the coming year.

A woman takes part in the Hogmanay (New Year) street party celebrations in Edinburgh, Scotland, January 1, 2014. (REUTERS/Russell Cheyne)

In Panama, people use bonfires to burn likenesses of popular celebrities and political figures. These doll-like effigies represent the old year. Burning them brings a fresh start for the New Year.

Of course, some traditions meant to avoid bad luck do not involve fire at all.

For example, just before the New Year, people in Denmark find the highest surface they can and jump from it as the New Year starts. This is so they can jump into January! The hope is that they leave behind the bad spirits and bad luck of the previous and enter a New Year full of promise and new beginnings.

Some Finnish people like to drop molten tin into cold water. Then they look at the shape and try to figure out meaning from it. For example, if it looks like a train, perhaps the New Year will bring travel. If it looks similar to a heart, perhaps it means the New Year will be filled love and romance!

Food for good luck

Many cultures have certain foods that are said to bring good luck.

In the southern part of the United States, people often eat black-eyed peas and pork for good luck in the New Year. In other parts of the U.S., people eat sauerkraut with pork sausage on New Year’s Day.

In Spain and some other countries, as the clock strikes midnight, people eat 12 grapes. These 12 grapes represent the 12 months of the year. And eating them all in the first 12 seconds of the New Year guarantees that the year will be filled with good luck.

In the Philippines, many people eat and display 12 round fruits to bring them a prosperous year.

And in Japan, people eat soba noodles on New Year’s Eve. While they eat they try not to break the long noodles — which represent longevity.

Clothing traditions

To start the New Year off on the right foot, many people like to wear new clothing. But some traditions take it a step farther than that.

In Japan, for example, people who believe in Buddhism may dress up like the zodiac animal for the coming year. Then they go to a temple to, literally, ring in the New Year. At Buddhist temples, monks will ring a bell 108 times, one for each humanly sin.

Visitors walk underneath New Year’s Day decorations celebrating next year’s “Year of the Dog” from the Chinese zodiac at the Nakamise shopping alley, the front approach to Sensoji Temple, in Tokyo, 2017.

In Romania, there is a tradition that involves dressing up in a bear costume and going from house to house. If this won’t scare off evil spirits, I don’t know what will!

People wearing bear furs perform during a festival of New Year ritual dances attended by hundreds in Comanesti, northern Romania, Wednesday, Dec. 30 2015.

People in the Philippines may wear clothing with circular design, or polka dots. The circles represent coins, which stand for wealth in the New Year.

In Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela, some people wear colorful underwear on New Year’s Eve. The most popular colors are red and yellow. Red is supposed to bring you love; yellow is supposed to bring you money.

Turkish people are also said to wear red underwear clothing for good luck.

A woman offers flowers to Yemanja, goddess of the sea, for good luck in the coming year during New Year’s Eve festivities on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Dec. 31, 2016.

Make a New Year’s resolution

Many use the start of New Year as a time to try something new or change something about themselves. The New Year is a perfect time to turn over a new leaf, or to change yourself for the better. That is why many people have the tradition of making a New Year’s Resolution. They are usually about living healthier or having more success and fulfillment in life.

Here are 10 very common New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Exercise more
  3. Keep in touch with family and friends
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Save money
  6. Cut out stress
  7. Learn something new
  8. Drink less alcohol
  9. Get more sleep
  10. Travel more

In the New Year, you can wipe the slate clean. This means you can simply wipe away all the mistakes you made from the previous year as you would chalk on a slate board. Or maybe your life is just as you’d like it. As we say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

No matter how you celebrate, all of us here at Learning English wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2018!

I’m Anna Matteo.

And I’m Bryan Lynn.

Happy New Year!

These are just a handful of traditions. Tell us about a New Year’s tradition in your culture in the comments section!

Anna Matteo wrote this story using several websites to gather this collection of New Year’s traditions from around the world, including The Old Farmer’s Almanac and Travel & Leisure. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Words in This Story

stroke of midnight – expression to describe the exact moment of time change from one day to the next.

bonfire – n. a large fire built in the open air

effigy – n. a large doll made to look like someone who is disliked or hated : effigies = plural

fresh start a chance to start something anew without prejudice

molten – adj. fused or liquefied by heat

tin – n. a soft faintly bluish-white lustrous low-melting crystalline metallic element that is malleable and ductile at ordinary temperatures and that is used especially in containers, as a protective coating, in tinfoil, and in soft solders and alloys

prosperous – adj. marked by success or economic well-being

longevity – n. a long duration of individual life

literally – adv. in a way that uses the ordinary or primary meaning of a term or expression

wipe – v. to clean or dry by rubbing

slate – n. a tablet (as of slate) used for writing on : a written or unwritten record (as of deeds) <started with a clean slate>

New Year’s Day – The History, Traditions, and Customs New Years Day

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  • Happy New Year’s Day

    New Year’s Day is a national holiday celebrated on January 1st, the first day of the New Year, following both the Gregorian and the Julian calendar. This New Years’ holiday is often marked by fireworks, parades, and reflection upon the last year while looking ahead to the future’s possibilities. Many people celebrate New Year’s in the company of loved ones, involving traditions meant to bring luck and success in the upcoming year. Many Cultures celebrate this happy day in their own unique way. Typically the customs and traditions of happy New Years Day involve celebrating with champagne and a variety of different foods. New Years marks a date of newly found happiness and a clean slate. For many celebrating New Years, it is their opportunity to learn from the prior year and make positive changes in their life.

    New Year’s Day Holiday History

    New Year’s is one of the oldest holidays still celebrated, but the exact date and nature of the festivities has changed over time. It originated thousands of years ago in ancient Babylon, celebrated as an eleven day festival on the first day of spring. During this time, many cultures used the sun and moon cycle to decide the “first” day of the year. It wasn’t until Julius Caesar implemented the Julian calendar that January 1st became the common day for the celebration. The content of the festivities has varied as well. While early celebrations were more paganistic in nature, celebrating Earth’s cycles, Christian tradition celebrates the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ on New Year’s Day. Roman Catholics also often celebrate Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, a feast honoring Mary. However, in the twentieth century, the holiday grew into its own celebration and mostly separated from the common association with religion. It has become a holiday associated with nationality, relationships, and introspection rather than a religious celebration, although many people do still follow older traditions.

    New Year’s Day Resolutions and Traditions

    While celebration varies all over the world, common traditions include:

      • Making resolutions or goals to improve one’s life.
      • Common resolutions concern diet, exercise, bad habits, and other issues concerning personal wellness. A common view is to use the first day of the year as a clean slate to improve one’s life.
      • A gathering of loved ones: Here you’ll typically find champagne, feasting, confetti, noise makers, and other methods of merriment Fireworks, parades, concerts.
      • Famous parades include London’s New Year’s Day Parade and the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. Superstitions concerning food or visitors to bring luck.

    This especially includes circle-shaped foods, which symbolize cycles. The reasoning behind superstitions is that the first day of the year sets precedent for the following days. A common superstition specific to New Year’s Day concerns a household’s first visitor of the year—tradition states that if a tall, dark-haired stranger is the first to walk through your door, called the First Footer or Lucky Bird, you’ll have good luck all year. Also, if you want to subscribe to superstition, don’t let anything leave the house on New Year’s, except for people. Tradition say’s: don’t take out the trash and leave anything you want to take out of the house on New Year’s outside the night before. If you must remove something, make sure to replace it by bringing an item into the house. These policies of balance apply in other areas as well—avoiding paying bills, breaking anything, or shedding tears.

      • Toasting

    Toasts typically concern gratefulness for the past year’s blessings, hope and luck or the future, and thanking guests for their New Year’s company. In coastal regions, running into a body of water or splashing water on one another, symbolizing the cleansing, “rebirth” theme associated with the holiday.

    However, many nations and cultures within them have their own characteristic way of celebrating:

    New Years Food

    American Citizens often celebrate with a party featuring toasting, drinking and fireworks late into the night before the New Year, where the gathering counts down the final seconds to January 1st. Some might even get a kiss at midnight. Many English speaking countries play “Auld Lang Syne,” a song celebrating the year’s happy moments. Americans often make resolutions and watch the Time Square Ball drop in New York City. Although much of this celebration occurs the night before, the merrymaking typically continues to New Year’s Day. Football is a common fixture on New Year’s Day in America, usually the day of the Rose Bowl. Some foods considered “lucky” to eat during the festivities include:

    Circular shaped foods
    Black-eyed peas
    Cabbage
    Pork

    New Years France
    The French typically celebrate New Year’s with a feast and a champagne toast, marking the first moments of New Year’s Day with kisses under the mistletoe, which most other cultures associate with Christmas celebrations. The French also consider the day’s weather as a forecast for the upcoming year’s harvest, taking into account aspects like wind direction to predict the fruitfulness of crops and fishing.

    New Years Phillipines
    In the Philippines, celebrations are very loud, believing that the noise will scare away evil beings. There is often a midnight feast featuring twelve different round fruits to symbolize good luck for the twelve months of the year. Other traditional foods include sticky rice and noodles, but not chicken or fish because these animals are food foragers, which can be seen as bad luck for the next year’s food supply.

    Greece
    Greeks celebrate New Year’s Day with card games and feasting. At midnight, the lights are turned off, followed by the Basil’s Pie, which contains a coin. Whoever gets the piece of pie containing the coin wins luck for the next year.

    New Years Soviet Union

    The Soviet Union’s New Year’s Day celebrations have been greatly affected by the Union’s history. As religion was suppressed and Christmas celebrations were banned, New Year’s, or Novi God celebrations often include Christmas traditions such as decorated trees, which were reconsidered as New Year Fir Trees. As the suppression left, these traditions stayed part of the New Year’s Day celebration. The holiday is also celebrated with feasts, champagne, and wishes.

    New Years Spain
    Spaniards celebrate New Year’s Day with the custom of eating twelve grapes, each eaten at a clock-stroke at midnight.

    Cold-water plunges

    In colder countries close to water, such as Canada, parts of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, it is customary to organize cold-water plunges. These plunges and races, sometimes called a Polar Bear Plunge, often raise money for charity or awareness for a cause.

    For thousands of years, New Year’s has been a festival of rebirth and reflection, allowing people all over the world to celebrate another great year.

    New Year’s Song

    The song, “Auld Lang Syne,” is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year. At least partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700’s, it was first published in 1796 after Burns’ death. Early variations of the song were sung prior to 1700 and inspired Burns to produce the modern rendition. An old Scottish tune, “Auld Lang Syne” literally means “old long ago,” or simply, “the good old days.” The lyrics can be found here.

    • Yum
    • Have Fun Learning English

      With dictionary look up – Double click on any word for its definition.
      This section is in advanced English and is only intended to be a guide, not to be taken too seriously!

      Traditions

      England

      England celebrates the New Year from the evening of December 31st into January 1st. Traditionally it is not as widely celebrated as Christmas, but the year 2000 saw a large change. For instance people did not used to celebrate New Year with fireworks (they were reserved for Bonfire Night), but last year and this all across England people were setting off fireworks on the stroke of midnight.

      More traditionally, on the stroke of midnight, people open the back door (to let the old year out) and ask the first dark haired man to be seen to come through the front door carrying salt, coal and bread. This means that the following year everyone in the house will have enough to eat (bread), enough money (salt) and be warm enough (coal).

      Scotland

      In Scotland they always seem to celebrate New Year better than anywhere else. The celebration of New Year’s Eve is called “Hogmanay”. The word Hogmanay comes from a kind of oat cake that was traditionally given to children on New Year’s Eve.

      In Edinburgh the celebrations always include a massive party from Prince’s Street to the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle. Unfortunately due to overcrowding in the past the event is now ticket only.

      On New Year’s Day (actually from the stroke of midnight) the tradition of first footing is observed. This is because the first person to set foot in a residence in a New Year is thought to profoundly affect the fortunes of everyone who lives there. Generally strangers are thought to bring good luck.

      Depending on the area, it may be better to have a dark-haired or fair-haired stranger set foot in the house, but it does mean Scotland is a very welcoming place for strangers at New Year!

      Wales

      New Year’s Eve is called “Nos Galan” in Welsh, and whilst they also believe in letting out the old year and letting in the newif the first visitor in the New Year is a woman and a man opens the door it’s considered bad luck. In addition, if the first man to cross the threshold in the New Year is a red head, that is also bad luck.

      People in Wales also believe that you should pay off all debts before the New Year begins. Tradition states that ending a year in debt means a whole new year of debt.

      On New Year’s Day “Dydd Calan” in Wales the children get up early to visit their neighbors and sing songs. They are given coins, mince pies, apples and other sweets for singing. This stops at midday.

      it can also depend on where you live as to when you celebrate New Year in Wales. Some areas still celebrate Dydd Calan on January 12th.

      New Year Customs and Celebrations in The UK

      Read About British New Year Celebrations and Traditions

      It is traditional in England to celebrate the end of the old year and welcome in the new year at the end of December.

      December 31 is New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve is not a public holiday. Most people go to work as usual. In the evening, many English people have parties in their homes. Others celebrate in pubs or clubs with their friends and families, or attend outdoor gatherings and firework displays.

      Just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, people hold hands and sing a traditional song called “Auld Lang Syne”. They count the seconds down to the new year and when the clock strikes midnight, they hug and kiss and wish each other a Happy New Year! Sometimes people set off fireworks as the new year begins. People often drink a toast to the coming year with a fizzy alcoholic drink called champagne. Some people let their children stay up late to join in with the celebrations.

      New Year’s Day is celebrated on January 1. New Year’s Day is a bank holiday. A bank holiday is a public holiday. Most shops and businesses close for the day. New Year’s Day is a holiday for nearly everyone in the UK. Very few buses and trains run on New Year’s Day. Most people stay at home and relax with their families.

      There is an old superstition in Scotland and some other parts of the UK that the first person to enter someone’s home on New Year’s Day will bring all the luck for the coming year with them. This tradition is called first footing.

      The first person to enter a house on New Year’s Day is known as the first footer. Dark haired people are thought to be the luckiest first footers, and it is traditional to carry a lump of coal when going first footing.

      People often make New Year’s resolutions at the start of the new year. Resolutions are things that people have decided (or resolved) to do to make their lives better, such as stopping smoking or losing weight. Not everybody manages to keep their New Year’s resolutions, though!

      Listen

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      Words to Learn and Remember

      traditional, resolution, champagne, fireworks, bank holiday.

      Multiple Choice Reading Quiz

      Read the text again to find the answers to these questions.

      Choose the best answer for each question.

      1. When is New Year’s Eve?
        1. December 31
        2. January 1
        3. December 30
      2. True or false? English people always keep their New Year’s resolutions.
        1. true
        2. false
      3. What traditional song do English people sing on New Year’s Eve?
        1. Auld Lang’s Syne
        2. Old Macdonald
        3. Old King Cole
      4. True or false? English people usually stay at home on New Year’s Eve, and go to bed early.
        1. true
        2. false
      5. True or false? Some English children are allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve.
        1. true
        2. false
      6. True or false? Most buses in England don’t run on New Year’s Day.
        1. True
        2. False
      7. A “first footer” is ________?
        1. The first person on the dancefloor on New Year’s Eve
        2. The first person to enter a house on New Year’s Day
        3. The first person to go outside on New Year’s Day
      8. What do English people sometimes toast the new year with?
        1. champagne
        2. bread
        3. marshmallows
      9. True or false? New Year’s Eve is a bank holiday in England.
        1. true
        2. false

      Answer Key

      1) New Years Eve is on December 31.

      2) The statement is false. Most people find it difficult to keep to New Year’s resolutions!

      3) Auld Lang Syne is a traditional Scottish song that people often sing on New Year’s Eve. Old Macdonald and Old King Cole are traditional English nursery rhymes (children’s songs)

      4) The statement is false. English people are often out celebrating on New Year’s Eve late into the night!

      5) The statement is true. Children are often allowed to stay up late as a special treat.

      6) The statement is true. Very few buses run on New Year’s Day.

      7) A first footer is the first person to step inside a house on New Year’s Day.

      8) Champagne is traditionally drunk as a toast to welcome in the New Year.

      9) The statement is false. New Year’s Eve is a normal working day.

      Speaking and Listening Practice

      How do people in your home country celebrate new year?

      Do you have any similar customs or traditions?

      Talk to another student or friend about some of the things you enjoy doing at this time of year.

      Ringing vs. Bringing in the New Year: What’s the difference, and which is right?

      If you’ve ever had a New Year’s Eve party with any English majors, you might have heard people get into the age-old “bringing in the new year” versus “ringing in the new year” debate. People seem to say one or the other — so which is right, and which is wrong?

      We’re here to help put the argument to rest before things get ugly, so you can steer partygoers back toward enjoying their champagne.

      Is it “ringing in” or “bringing in”?

      Into the wee hours of the New Year, the debate rages on. George Rudy/

      For starters, both versions of the phrase are legitimate, according to Kris Spisak, author of Get a Grip on Your Grammar.

      “Though only different by a single letter, both expressions are recognized as standard,” Spisak wrote on her blog.

      Suffice it to say your wild English major parties can go undisturbed this year when you put a stop to the raucous debates by telling everyone, “Chill — you’re both right.”

      But what do they each mean?

      Come on in, 2017! xsodo/

      “Bringing in the new year” is the more literal of the two phrases. By saying this, you’re suggesting that we are leaving the old year behind in order to escort or carry in the new. (After the events of the previous year, this seems pretty appropriate.)

      “Ringing in the new year,” meanwhile, has a more complicated history. For one thing, it’s common for churches — especially older ones — to ring their bells in order to let people know the time. This also happened on certain holidays; as stated by the Trinity Church on Wall Street’s website, people actually used to gather outside the church in New York City instead of Times Square in order to hear the church bells “ring in” the new year.

      Make sure to ring ’em loud!Jose Carrasco/ Ring out the old, ring in the new,

      Ringing bells was once even considered an effective way to ward off evil. According to an 1823 Encyclopedia Britannica entry, “passing bells” were once rung when a person died to “drive away the evil spirits who stood at the bed’s foot, and about the house, ready to seize their prey or at least to molest and terrify the soul in its passage.”

      When you think about it, it’s perfectly correct to say “let’s bring in the new year by ringing in the new year!” And hey, it’s a good way to satisfy all your know-it-all party guests at once.

      There’s a debate that arises every year—often intensified by champagne or eggnog. Is it “ring in the new year” or “bring in the new year”? Can you once and for all have a definitive answer to give that nut still wearing a Rudolph sweater? Perhaps, he’s thinking the same thing about you, the crazy lady in a little black dress who debates locution at holiday parties. (Or is that just me?)

      Well, I hate to say it, but you’re both right. Though only different by a single letter, both expressions are recognized as standard. “Ringing in the new year” refers to the old tradition of celebrating beginnings and endings with bells—à la Alfred Lord Tennyson’s 1850 poem “Ring Out, Wild Bells.” On the other side of things, “bringing in the new year” references ushering in the new beginning. Thus, you can bring in the new year by ringing in the new year. How’s that for a fun answer to the debate?

      Interesting side note: did you know New Year resolutions date back to ancient Babylon when people made good behavior promises to the gods? Any big promises you’re making this year?

      Happy New Year, folks, and happy writing!

      Join 750+ subscribers and sign-up for my writing and editing email newsletter for more tips like this. Or, of course, there’s always the book, Get a Grip on Your Grammar: 250 Writing and Editing Reminders for the Curious or Confused.

      Bring in the 2020 New Year with these last-minute party ideas

      These tech-inspired tips will help you host an awesome party.

      Google This story is part of Holiday Survival Guide 2019, featuring tips on the best ways to manage the holiday season.

      Throwing a New Year’s Eve party is exciting and fun, but it’s also a Herculean effort that’s rewarded by good planning. You’ve got the decorations to think about, the food, the playlist and of course, the entertainment. You’ll also have guests with a mix of personalities and you’ll want to make sure you have something for everyone, even gamers and those who need to escape for a little quiet time before rejoining the festivities.

      We have some holiday party ideas that can help make the day go smoother, from building a playlist to using smart home devices to your advantage by setting the mood with lights, music and games. We also give you tips for setting up your own easy photo booth so that you and your close ones will always have the memories to hold onto.

      Read on for ideas that’ll liven up your get-together this holiday season.

      Use your smart home devices to your advantage when hosting a party.

      Chris Monroe/CNET

      Create your own photo booth

      Everybody loves posing in a photo booth, and setting up your own is easy. In fact, you probably already have many of the supplies you need. Make sure you select an area with good lighting, and bring in area lamps to add more balance. Take some test shots to make sure you’ve worked out all the shadows. For an extra twist, you could place a smart lightbulb in a lamp so your guests can change the colors.

      If you’ve got an extra phone, tablet or camera lying around (preferably one that takes good photos), mount it on a tripod and set a timer for taking pics. You can also use an Amazon Echo Show ( $230 at Amazon ) and let Alexa take the photos by saying “Alexa, take a picture.” If you’re using a phone or tablet, consider downloading a photo booth app, like Mini Photobooth for iPhone or Photobooth Mini for Android.

      Your backdrop can be something as simple as festive wrapping paper or a colorful blanket. For props, grab some old Halloween costumes out of the closet, like hats, glasses and wigs. If you don’t have any props, you can buy a cheap kit from Amazon.

      And since your guests will want a copy of their photos, have a printer set up with photo paper or let them send the pics to their phones.

      Make sure your holiday lighting is perfect

      No party is complete without the right lighting, so consider investing in a few smart bulbs, like Philips Hue bulbs or the cheaper Lifx Plus to add some color and pizzazz. You can then use a smart home speaker like your Amazon Echo or Google Home to control the light colors to make your house more festive.

      For example, if you’re hosting a Christmas party, you can set the light colors to green and red throughout your home. You can also create Alexa or Google routines so that your lights kick on at a certain time. For instance, if you’re hosting a New Year’s party, a neat routine is to have your lights blink or change colors when the ball drops at midnight.

      You can control the lights using the smart speaker or through the app.

      Control your smart lights through the app or your smart speaker.

      Josh Miller/CNET

      Pair your smart speakers so everyone can listen to your playlist

      You already know playing the right music is a must, but you also need to make sure it can be heard throughout the house. Pairing multiple smart home speakers you already own is a free and easy way to create surround sound or help the music travel to every room where your guests have roamed.

      You’ll also need an awesome playlist to listen to. You can find preselected radio stations on Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play Music and more. However, you can also create your own playlist on most of the music streaming services if you have certain songs you want to have in the rotation.

      Pair multiple speakers so that you’ll have surround sound throughout your house.

      Angela Lang/CNET

      Get the best decorations

      When you’re hosting a party, decorations are always essential. In the dark of winter, anything that lights up a room will add sparkle and warmth to the gathering. Reusable LED light-up balloons are a fun, eye-catching addition, or flashing LED balloons that you can blow up yourself.

      To go along with the light-up theme, pick up some inexpensive glow sticks for your guests to wear. LED batons are an especially fun nod to Star Wars lightsabers.

      If you’ve got an extra-dark hallway, you can string up white fairy lights with photo clips, creating a stunning LED wall. Then, you can clip the pictures from the photo booth onto the wall so everyone can see.

      You could also drape the fairy lights around a banister or an outdoor railing. It’ll look classy and it’s something you can leave up year-round if you like. You can have these little white light strands shipped to you from Amazon, Etsy, Target, Party America and other shops to save you the hassle of making a trip to the store.

      Change your light colors to look more festive.

      CNET

      Make it a karaoke dance party

      Liven up your soiree by bringing out the karaoke machine to sing your favorite songs. You can look up karaoke songs on YouTube or download a karaoke app on your phone, like Smule. Make it feel like you’re in the ’70s by turning on LED disco lights that sweep the room.

      You could also pick up a karaoke microphone that does it all, where you can record, sing and listen to the song being played. Most will connect to your phone using Bluetooth or a cable connection.

      Project holiday videos onto an empty wall

      If you’ve got a projector, you can display holiday music videos or a clip of a lit-up fireplace on a wall in the background (if you don’t have a projector, you can rent one, too). Then, later on, you can show your favorite holiday movies.

      Of course, you can use your TV as well, but a wall projector can liven up the room without making the film the main event. It also gives guests something extra to talk about if conversation stalls.

      Project a movie onto the wall.

      Sarah Tew/CNET

      Make a gaming room

      Nothing keeps the party going like playing a fun game with your friends. Fortunately, Amazon Echo and Google Home devices have tons of games you can play at your party, to break up any awkward small talk.

      Some of the best multiplayer games are Jeopardy, Escape the Room, The Wayne Investigation, Heads Up! and Never Have I Ever. You can set the smart speaker up in a separate room for those who are interested in playing.

      If you’ve got a Wii, Xbox, PlayStation or even a VR headset, set them up in a room for your friends and family to enjoy. Have fun games available, like Just Dance, Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Super Mario Party.

      Don’t have a video game console? Just use your phone to play Jackbox games. They’re also available to play on Apple TV ( $169 at Walmart ), Fire TV ( $40 at Amazon ), Microsoft Windows, MacOS and more. And if you’re playing a mobile game, you can cast it to a larger screen so that more people can watch or join in.

      A VR headset is sure to keep guests entertained at your party.

      James Martin/CNET

      Create a holiday scavenger hunt

      Create a list of items for your guests to find, either in the neighborhood or around the house. Objects on the list can be a party hat, candy canes, a party noisemaker and so on.

      If you’re having a hard time coming up with ideas, download a scavenger hunt app (like Seedling Scavenger Bingo) or check out Pinterest for items that other people have posted. Once the objects are found, the participants should take a picture with the item for proof. Make your prize options something that everyone will like — for example, a giant box of caramel corn, movie tickets, a Bluetooth speaker or a bottle of wine.

      Video call absent family and friends

      Not everyone can make it to holiday parties, especially if they live far away. You can still help them feel like part of the event by dialing them in to talk to other guests.

      If you’ve got an Amazon Echo Show, let them drop-in at any time to see what everyone’s up to and interact with those around.

      Or, you can set up a tablet or laptop and open a Skype window, Apple FaceTime call or any other video conferencing service for them to call in for an hour and say hello.

      Absent friends and family can still be a part of your get-together.

      Chris Monroe/CNET

      Other items you should have on hand

      • Extra coolers so you don’t waste space in your fridge (these are our favorites)
      • Your favorite Instant Pot recipes, so you’ll have more time to host
      • Smart plugs to control your crock-pot or other small appliances from a distance
      • An app for making cocktails, like Cocktail Flow

      Need more holiday planning tips? Check out these three Amazon Echo tips you need to know for the holidays, four scams you need to avoid this holiday shopping season and six Amazon Prime benefits you need to use for holiday shopping.

      Now playing: Watch this: Cool tech for everyone on your list 1:23

      Originally published earlier this month.

      New Year’s Eve Traditions In The US and Around The World

      Ever wonder where those New Year’s Eve Traditions started? Here is a list of the most common ones.

      Midnight kiss

      Kissing at midnight dates back to ancient Europe, as a way to ward off evil spirits. Kissing was believed to offer blessings and bring people good luck as they entered a new year.

      Champagne

      Is traced back to the use of wine in the Christian tradition of Eucharist — taking the blood of Christ. As wine from the Champagne region of France began to be used in baptisms, the use of wine became more frequent at religious events and ceremonies. This bubbly wine soon became popular at parties and was marketed to middle-class families as the way to celebrate.

      “Auld Lang Syne”

      “Auld Lang Syne” was first a poem by the 18th century Scottish poet Robert Burns. The song means “old long ago” but is also nostalgic because it talks about the love and kindness of days past. It did not become an American tradition until at least 1929, but it seems fitting when saying goodbye to an old year and hello to a new one.

      Dropping the ball

      The dropping of the ball at midnight in Times Square was originally ended with a fireworks show. Fireworks were banned at one point, and the hunt began for an equally sparkly alternative. Thus was the beginning of the 700-pound orb that millions watch each year beginning at 11:59 p.m., both in person and on the television.

      Resolutions

      The first people to make New Year’s resolutions are believed to have been the Babylonians some 4,000 years ago. They were made as promises made to the gods in hopes of having a good year. The Romans followed suit by offering sacrifices and making promises of good conduct to their deity Janus. For Christians, this first day of a new year became a time to reflect on past mistakes and resolve to do better. Today, the religious aspect of resolutions has all but disappeared and most are focused on self-improvement in general.

      New Year’s is filled with a multitude of loud noises and fireworks are often the final explosive ending to the celebrations. This tradition is believed to have begun in an effort to ward off evil spirits and misfortune. In the west, however, the use of fireworks on New Year’s seems to have evolved separate from any religious beliefs.

      Hopes of prosperity

      In other countries, several traditions have evolved in the hopes they will bring money and fortune in the coming year. In some Latin American countries it is believed the color of your undergarments will bring prosperity and success. Red brings love, white brings harmony, and green brings health. In Spain, eating 12 grapes, beginning at the stroke of midnight and then one for each stroke thereafter, brings good luck. And, in the Philippines, circles represent prosperity, so it’s common to see people wearing polka dots and carrying loose coins in their pockets; the “jangle” is believed to attract wealth.

      While New Year’s Eve traditions center around parties and celebrations, New Year’s Day traditions tend to focus on what food to eat (and maybe sleeping off from having “too much fun” the night before). Several foods appear regularly on many New Year’s Day menus because they’re considered good luck.

      Black-eyed peas are perhaps the most common and well-known of good luck foods. They are actually a bean, not a pea, and there are different theories as to why they are good luck. One theory is that it was the only thing left behind when Union soldiers raided a Confederate Army food supply. Another is that newly freed slaves celebrated their independence with this food staple — one of the only ones allowed to them.

      Pork

      Pork has become a good luck food in large part based on how pigs behave. Many animals, such as chickens, scratch backward while pigs bury their snouts in the ground and move forward when eating — and forward is the way you want to head in the New Year. It also helps that pigs are traditionally slaughtered in the fall, which makes it an easy choice for saving and serving on New Year’s. The tradition of eating pork and cabbage on New Year’s Day was apparently brought to America from Germany and Eastern Europe.

      Cabbage

      For the cabbage tradition on New Year’s Day, part of it is just a timing thing. Harvested in late fall and left to ferment for six to eight weeks means it’s ready just in time for the new year. However, the leafy plant is also believed to bring forth a long life and wealth.

      Cake

      Different cultures have specific special cakes they serve on New Year’s Day. One commonality among many of them is that they are baked with a special coin or other trinket inside, and the lucky person who gets the piece with it is supposed to have good luck throughout the coming year.

      Greens

      The color green symbolizes money and prosperity, which is largely why greens can usually be spotted on the meal table on New Year’s Day. Southern tradition also teaches that they can be hung by the door to scare away evil spirits. So, eat them or hang them by your door — your choice.

      Many Americans mark the new year with parties with friends and family. Celebrations generally go on past midnight into January 1 (New Year’s Day). Here’s a look at some New Year’s Eve traditions in America.

      Times Square ball drop

      (© AP Images)

      An estimated 1 million people venture to Times Square in New York City to watch the New Year’s Eve Ball begin its descent a minute before midnight and to count down the final seconds before the new year begins. More than 1 billion people watch worldwide in a collective welcome to the new year as the illuminated Waterford crystal ball is lowered down a 21-meter pole. The ball weighs 5,400 kilograms and is 3.7 meters in diameter.

      Auld Lang Syne

      Roughly translated as “For the sake of old times,” Americans, and many in the English-speaking world, sing this old Scottish ballad near the midnight hour. The song is about old friendships and acts of kindness in years past, and is widely used to mark endings, farewells and new beginnings.

      Kissing at midnight

      (© Craig Walker/Denver Post via Getty Images)

      This couple in Denver, Colorado, share a New Year’s Eve kiss. The tradition to kiss the first person you see at the stroke of midnight is rooted in German and English folklore. According to tradition, a favorable first encounter will set the tone for the rest of the year.

      Black-eyed peas

      (© Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

      Americans in the Southern states believe that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will bring them good luck and wealth. Many Southerners prepare the pea stew with a new coin and the person who receives it in their portion is considered to be extra lucky. Adding cooked greens (the color of U.S. money) to a black-eyed pea dish symbolizes a prosperous new year.

      Fireworks

      (© AP Images)

      Local fireworks displays, like the one above in San Francisco, are another favorite New Year’s Eve tradition. Other famous firework venues are in Dallas, Las Vegas and Walt Disney World In Orlando, Florida.