As another year comes to an end, people all over the world from various cultures have different and exciting ways of celebrating the New Year. From the singing, dancing, and drinking, down to sophisticated rituals, there are unique ways people participate in to welcome another year hoping to attract good fortune, good health, and overall a good life ahead.
Before we go ahead and flip our Gregorian calendars, let’s take a look at how New Year’s Eve is celebrated from these five culture-rich countries.
In Cambodia, the Khmer New Year celebration is a three-day celebration that includes all sorts of rituals passed down through the ages.
With Buddhism at its centre, the first day of the New Year is called a Moha Sangkran, when people clean their houses and prepare food for the monks and priests. The second day is called a Vanabot, when they participate in charity, give alms to the poor, and give gifts to their loved ones. Finally, the last day is called Leung Sakk, when people wash their Buddha idols with scented water to bring good rains for the year. Children are also told to wash their elders’ feet to bring them good fortune during this day.
Throughout the three-day celebration, they also play games and various physical activities for fun.
Scotland, United Kingdom
Aside from the general drinking and merrymaking in the UK, the most exciting way to celebrate the New Year is the Hogmanay, the term for the Scottish New Year.
On New Year’s Eve, they leave the back doors of their homes open to let the lousy fortune out, and the first one to enter the home should be a young, handsome male with dark hair, which is known to bring in good luck.
Similar to the Khmer celebrations, the Scots clean their houses as well, especially the fireplace. Before cleaning it thoroughly, some people read the ashes from the last fire of the year to tell what the coming year holds for the family.
The Filipinos are known to have a four-month Christmas celebration, starting from September down to December. They believe that Christmas starts as soon “-ber months” start, and the best way to cap the months-long celebration is to end the year with a boom.
Influenced by the Chinese culture, Filipinos during New Year’s Eve believe that making noise with firecrackers or just simply clanging kitchen pots against each other will scare the bad luck away and pave the way for the good fortune.
They also prepare fruits that are naturally circle shaped, like oranges, apples, and grapes. A kind of cheese called “Queso de Bola” is also prepared along with some sweet ham.
The people in Jamaica celebrate the New Year’s Eve in a uniquely welcoming way. Most people gather in beaches and embrace nature while spending time with family and friends. If not the beaches, they can be found indulging in the mountains, appreciating the beauty of the Caribbean.
The Jamaicans party through New Year’s Eve and sometimes extend to the whole of January. The streets are decorated with lights and glitter, and homes are emptied as soon as the fireworks start.
The Spanish New Year, commonly known as Nochevieja, is a family-centred celebration. Pubs will be closed during the welcoming of the New Year to give the staff a chance to see the New Year with their own families. People would even turn down their friends and would prefer to stay in with their family during this time.
When the clock strikes twelve, the Spanish proceed to eat twelve grapes to bring good luck as tradition. This started when the King of Spain gave out grapes on one New Year’s Eve after a huge harvest. The Spanish carried the tradition out and practice it to this day.
Welcoming the New Year is indeed just one of the many milestones of humanity. It symbolises a fresh start, opens new beginnings, and awaits another year packed with luck and adventure.