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New Year’s Day around the world

All the same, yet different

Created date

December 23rd, 2013
couple holding champagne glasses

A flip of the calendar and the New Year is here again. But while Americans are toasting with champagne, scribbling resolutions we won’t keep, and eating black-eyed peas for good luck, others around the world are celebrating in their own traditional ways. 

For instance">

As clocks strike midnight in Spain, everyone eats 12 grapes, one with each toll, to bring good luck for the upcoming 12 months.  

In Hungary, effigies or scapegoats known as “Jack Straw” represent the troubles of the past year and are burned signifying starting the New Year with a clean slate.   

Brazilians believe lentils signify blessings and good fortune, so on New Year’s Day, they serve lentil soup or lentils and rice. 

The British believe the visitor known as the “first footer” to enter the house after midnight on Jan.1 brings good luck. 

Scottish New Year celebrations (where kilts are optional but highly recommended) are known as Hogmanay and include singing “Auld Lang Syne” written by Scottish poet Robert Burns. The poignant song is now sung on New Year’s Eve by many English-speaking countries, including ours.

In Greece, children leave their shoes by the fireplace to be filled with gifts from St. Basil, an ancient Greek bishop and saint.   

The Swiss use the Julian calendar and celebrate their New Year on Jan. 13. They believe good luck depends on letting a drop of cream land on the floor that day. 

Rewarding resolutions 

But back in our country, those ubiquitous resolutions always pop up this time of year. We visited with Creek residents Judy and Terry Turner, who have several items on their 2014 agenda. 

“We want to continue eating well and staying fit,” says Terry from the couple’s sunny, two-bedroom, two-bathroom Stratford-style apartment. “But we also want to spend more time with our two young grandchildren who live in Minnesota.” 

Judy wants to author a family cookbook that includes family photos and brief histories.

“I’d love the recipes to be in the original handwriting of those who wrote them, so it’ll take a bit of computer expertise,” says Judy. “So there’s another resolution: to operate the computer more effectively.” 

Sounds like resolutions that just may be kept. 

“We have so many goals and things we want to learn,” says Judy. “We’re lucky we can do a lot of that right here.”