New Year: traditions and gifts from around the world
New Year around the world is considered a family holiday. But this is also a great opportunity to travel at the expense of a long weekend. Especially for those who will spend abroad from December 31 to January 1, we will tell you what will be waiting for you there, and give some tips on what should be presented as a gift and what should not be given in any case.
On New Year’s Eve, Italians are no longer scattered with old things from the windows, as we used to think. After all, Europe is also in crisis. But the inhabitants of the peninsula still believe that if you put on red clothes on the night of December 31 to January 1, you can attract good luck and wealth in the coming year. So don’t be surprised if you see red underpants and bras at every clothing store on Christmas Eve. Winter holidays in Italy are ending at Epiphany according to the Gregorian calendar – January 6th. And the last night before the start of everyday life is special. This is a Befana festival. A kind, but unhappy fairy girl flies on a broomstick, opens the door with her golden key, and leaves sweets in stockings hung by the bed. Children usually try to wait for Befana to appear and refuse to go to sleep. Why are there children, many adults often put a piece of paper next to a hanging stocking, and in the morning they check whether it is missing or not. They say that sometimes a piece of paper disappears without a trace. This means that Befana really came. Who is she? Legend has it that once, on a cold winter evening, the house of old Befana, an ugly and hunchbacked one, was knocked by the magi who went to worship the baby Jesus, brought him presents. They asked for an overnight stay – Befana did not refuse. In the morning the magi called the mistress with them, but she refused: they say, there is a lot of work. And then she came to her senses, ran to catch up with the night guests. So until now she is trying to find the way to Bethlehem, – and she does not find everything. Therefore, he distributes gifts to those who have to.
The British do not give gifts for the New Year (they gave them away before Christmas), but exchange cards. Actually, they started this tradition – the first New Year’s card was printed in London in 1843. And on the night of December 31 to January 1 in London on Piccadilly or Trafalgar Square going to a lot of people. Everyone congratulates each other and have fun as they can. After Big Ben counts 12 beats, a colorful firework begins. And the British believe that if you kiss at the time of the New Year’s arrival under the mistletoe, then for the next 365 days you will not part with your beloved. Use the moment! How to recognize a mistletoe? This semi-parasitic shrub grows on many trees. Therefore, if you see a green “nest” on a bare winter tree, feel free to get up under it and kiss.
In Scotland, the New Year is called “Hogman”, which means a new morning. Walking starts on January 29, and ends on January 1. Men make a gigantic torch from a barrel of tar, set it on fire and walk around the city with it. Usually they walk in groups of 15 people, and when one gets tired of dragging, the rest replace him in turn. This strange procession goes on all the streets of the city strictly clockwise. They are followed by a crowd of women, children, as well as tourists. In the end, the torch is erected on a stone altar, pouring some more fuel. In one second, the whole structure breaks up, and from that moment it is believed that the New Year has officially arrived! Smoldering firebrands people take home. And then they continue to celebrate – in pubs with friends or in the family circle.
New Year in Germany is the continuation of the Christmas holidays with carnivals, fairs and traditional winter activities. On the squares of large cities, ten seconds before the New Year, a countdown begins, and with the onset of midnight, colorful fireworks start. Almost every club on New Year’s Eve hosts noisy parties. For the festive table, as a rule, they prepare fondue or raclette from molten cheese. And also Berlin donuts with confiture or cream. To laugh, the Germans sometimes instead of sweet stuffing add mustard or onion to the donuts. Whoever gets such a “happy” donut will be lucky all next year.
In Germany, all kinds of symbols of luck are presented as gifts, for example, ornaments in the form of four-leaf clover. Do not give office supplies, as well as watches and diaries – the Germans have their own relationship with time, so they will consider such a gift as an insult.
In Sweden, the New Year is celebrated traditionally. Locals sit at home, watch TV, and after midnight, drink a glass of champagne, and go out for a walk. Well, almost like ours. Therefore, it is better to come to Stockholm at least two weeks early. Then you can become a member of a more interesting holiday, which is celebrated on December 13. On this day, parades of mummers are led through the streets of the capital, led by the Queen of Light Lucia. She is chosen and crowned at the Skansen Museum, dressed in a white festive dress, and a crown with candles is put on her head.