By: Michaela Kirkpatrick
In the United States, over 1 billion people have the same new years tradition. They all tune into whatever TV station and count down until the giant ball in times square drops to mark the new year. They toast champagne, or some other sparkling beverage for kids, and drink to the new year. But even with all of those people in the United States celebrating the new year that way, what about the rest of the world?
All over the world there are different traditions and beliefs surrounding the new year. And all over the world people celebrate in different ways, each unique and special in their own ways. Now that it’s 2023, let’s take a trip around the world and look at a few of the different cultures surrounding the coming of a new year.
- France: Feasting on Champagne
This French tradition isn’t too different from what some people do in the US, but in France the tradition is taken to a new level. While France is partially known for its wine, on new years they drink more than they eat. In the few hours leading up to the clock striking 12’ people begin to drink sparkling wine and champagne in excess while only picking at food. This tradition is accompanied by lots of parties and celebrations. But for the families in France, drinking and partying during the new year is turned down. Though there is more drinking than eating, the foods consumed during the new years celebrations are typically oysters, turkey, goose, or a Cornish hen.
2. Haiti: Sharing Joumou Soup
In Haiti, the new year also marks their independence day from France. For that reason, the new year does not only mean the start of a new year, but also the start of a new country and the start of their freedom. Therefore, Haitians share a soup called Joumou which means Pumpkin in English. Before Haiti gained independence Joumou was a delicacy that black enslaved people were not allowed to eat. So on new years people make a large pot of the soup and share it with their neighbors, family, or friends to mark the new year.
3. Denmark: Throwing Old Plates
Everyone wants good luck for the new year, especially the people in Denmark. In Denmark, they smash old plates on the ground or even throw them at friends as a sign of good luck. In some people’s eyes, throwing the old plates is a symbol of letting go of the past year and letting in the new year and its blessings. The tradition is that having more broken plates outside of your house the more luck you’ll have for the new year.
4. Puerto Rico: Cleaning your House
Now this is a tradition that more people should definitely adopt. In many countries, not just Puerto Rico, it’s customary to start the year by cleaning everything, and we mean everything. The idea behind it is simple, out with the old and in with the new. In short, if you start the year fresh it will continue that way.
5. Japan: Eating Soba Noodles
In Japan, people like to start the new year by eating a bowl of soba noodles. The tradition dates back to the Kamakura period in 1185, and is tied to a Buddhist temple giving out the noodles to the poor. The long thin noodles are firm yet easy to bite due to the noodles being made from buckwheat flour. In Japan it is believed eating the noodles symbolizes a break away from the old year.
I hope that this world tour of new year’s traditions has shown you that the marking of a new year can be an important thing deeply rooted in history, or just nice traditions to share wishes with family and friends. Regardless of what you do to celebrate something, you should do it with pride and know that all around the world people celebrate in different ways and have different cultures.