While in the United States, celebrating the New Year generally involves fireworks, dropping balls and drinking enough alcohol so you don’t remember Dec. 31, other countries around the world do things very differently. Here’s a look at some of the ways 2017 will be rung in across the globe.
While drinking as much as you can may be a tradition in much of the West, in Japan food plays the key role in the festivities. Perhaps the biggest tradition is eating a bowl of soba noodles on New Year’s Eve called toshikoshi. While soba noodles are thought to represent strength and resilience, the toshikoshi noodles are also easy to cut, signifying the end of the hardship of the previous year. Traditionally, it is thought long noodles represent longer life.
In Italy, the bells ringing in midnight are followed by eating a portion of lentils. They are thought to symbolize wealth due to their brown color making them appear like gold coins, and prosperity, courtesy of the fact that they are long lasting. But lentils are not the only food that is served: A spicy pork sausage known as zampone is also eaten.
Spaniards have a very specific way of welcoming in the new year. For each of the 12 chimes of the clock at midnight, a single grape is eaten. The 12 grapes tradition is thought to date back to 1909 when some growers in the port city of Alicante popularized it as a way to sell a surplus grapes. Eating them is thought to lead to a year of prosperity and, what’s more, should be done wearing red underwear given to you by someone else.
Mexico And Latin America
In Mexico and across Latin America, the sight of people running around the block on New Year’s Eve is not as unusual as it may sound. For those desperate to get away, the tradition is said to bring more travels in the year ahead.
For Filipinos, New Year’s Eve means a dinner party called Media Noche, which literally translates as midnight. Traditional dishes include Lechon, a whole roasted pig, and a beef stew. But the dinner party also has a dress code, with polka dots considered prosperous, once again because of their resemblance to coins.