How has 2015 treated you so far? If you’re feeling down on your luck, maybe you didn’t see in the New Year in the right country. Maybe you didn’t wear the right colour underwear or throw the correct thing out the window…
Across the world, New Year traditions vary in their wackiness. Here we bring to you a few of our favourites.
Watch what you eat
In Spain, locals count down to the New Year by stuffing twelve grapes into their mouths: one for each chime of the bell clock. Eating all twelve uvas de la suerte (‘lucky grapes ‘) promises twelve prosperous months ahead but poses an almost impossible task. Timing is critical, and grapes should be small and carefully prepared.
Meanwhile, in the Philippines, munching on round shaped food will bring you prosperity in the coming year, as such forms represent coins and wealth.
Elsewhere in the world, food serves more unconventional purposes. The Irish bang bread loudly against the wall, supposedly to expel bad luck, while in Peru, a potato determines your finances for the year ahead. Three potatoes are placed under a chair with one selected at midnight: a peeled potato suggests no money, a half-peeled one just average, and an unpeeled one great wealth.
Choose your underwear carefully
If you are after passion and romance in the New Year, join the millions wearing red underwear in Turkey, Spain, Italy and much of South America. If it’s riches you’re hoping for, try yellow in Colombia or Brazil.
Do some exercise
In Colombia you might glimpse a local running round the block with an empty suitcase. It is said that the faster this person runs, the more travel he or she can expect in the New Year.
The Finns dip molten tin into water and its shape once hardened is then interpreted. A heart or ring shape symbolises a wedding, a ship forecasts travel, while a pig signifies abundant food.
The most dubious of traditions for us though is the practice in South Africa of throwing old furniture and appliances out of the window. A few years ago, the situation got so out of hand in one Johannesburg neighbourhood that emergency services were called in to crack down on the mayhem.
This blog post is by Amber, our Evening Receptionist on Mondays and Tuesdays.