Welcoming the New Year Around the World

CAMILA DONOSO, FEATURES COLUMNIST

We are back on campus after the holidays and a nice long break, during which many of us went back home and spent some quality time with the people that we love. It’s amazing how these celebrations bring us all together and give us the opportunity to get together with people that we might see only once a year.

Each family has their own traditions and ways of celebrating these special days. It is super-interesting to know all the different ways of celebrating New Year´s Eve around the globe. Here are some examples:

In the United Kingdom, a huge crowd gathers along the Thames River to enjoy the countdown to midnight and the fireworks from the London Eye as Big Ben strikes 12.

In China, people celebrate New Years on a different day of the year than the Occidental culture. Their celebrations usually continue for 10 or 15 days. The traditional Lion Dance feasting is the main attraction for locals and visitors. Friends and relatives celebrate with one another. A gift of a red envelope containing money is exchanged as a symbol of good luck.

In Denmark, people stand on a chair and jump from it as the clock strikes 12 to welcome in the new year. They also collect dishes and throw them at the front door; the more broken plates, the more friends one shall have in the upcoming year.

In Spain and in many Latin-American countries, as midnight arrives, it is customary to quickly eat 12 grapes, one at each strike of the clock. This is supposed to bring good luck for each month of the New Year.

In Puerto Rico, people throw buckets of water out of their window and also clean their homes properly. They believe this will clean the odds of the last year as well as get the spirits out of the home.

Not everybody has the opportunity of going back home. It really doesn’t matter what you do or where you are when the New Year arrives. The most important thing is to be with the people that you love. Take some time to think about the good and bad things that this past year has brought to your life. Finally, decide what you want to improve on in this New Year, and learn from the mistakes that you have made.

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