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MAIN Arrow to Home Life - Holidays Holidays Arrow to New Year New Year Arrow to New Year Tradtions Customs, Superstitions & Traditions

Grapes for the new year
In many cultures, getting the house
clean and the laundry done guarantees
a fresh start to the New Year.

Traditions to bring good luck for the New Year are as old as the celebrations and come from all corners of the world.

Many cultures count a tall, dark and handsome man crossing the threshold as a sign of good luck, but if the first person to enter the house is a red headed woman...the year is sure to be stressful. What single girl would argue with that one!

Others involve housecleaning... which may range from sweeping the floors and the bad luck of the past out with the dust -- to changing the bed linens for a fresh start to the New Year.

Holding a piece of silver or gold as the New Year begins is said to increase the chances of prosperity in the coming year...some place a silver coin over the doorway or a penny on the windowsill.

An Irish tradition involves banging on the door and walls with Christmas bread to chase the bad luck out and bring good spirits to the household with the promise of bread enough in the New Year. This is probably related to the tradition of banging pots and pans in Iran, or the ancient tradition of using firecrackers to welcome in the Chinese New Year.

Grapes for the new year
Eating a dozen grapes - one
for each month - makes for a
lucky year in Spain and many
other Latin countries.


The youngest boy in the household lighting a candle at dusk to burn through the night until morning light is another Celtic tradition — that may be an urban version of lighting bonfires or a carryover of the Samhain tradition of lighting tapers in the windows to chase away evil spirits.

In the Philippines, children jump up and down at midnight to make sure they will grow tall. In Asia, sunrise celebrations and honoring of the ancestors and elders brings luck.

Germans drop melted lead into cold water and take turns interpreting the results. This tradition has become so popular that kits are sold that include the lead pellets and suggestions for discerning what it all means!

Then there are the foods! Chiacchiere, or honey drenched balls of fried dough, always ensure a sweet year in Italy.

Grapes, one for each month, make for a lucky year in Spain and many Latin countries (in Portugal it's raisins!)

Eating greens (the color of money), or anything that forms a circle - such as donuts or pretzels - also make for good fortune in the coming year.

These ancient holiday traditions are as varied as the lands where they are from, but they all have one thing in common: sharing warm personal wishes with friends and family for much happiness, health and prosperity in the New Year...

More about New Year traditions worldwide around the Web:

New Year's Festivals Around the World - Tour the customs associated with the New Year alphabetically starting in Austria and ending in Vietnam. The foods for health and prosperity as well as traditional good luck symbols are explained....

Irish Christmas and New Year Customs and Superstitions - The Celtic traditions and superstitions left over from the Druids form the basis for traditions in Ireland. Much of the mythology of New Year's comes from the ancient Samhain festivals...


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