New Years Eve

In the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Eve (also known as Old Year’s Day or Saint Sylvester’s Day in many countries), the last day of the year, is on December 31 which is six days after Christmas. Samoa, Tonga and Kiritimati (Christmas Island), part of Kiribati, are the first places to welcome the New Year while American Samoa and Baker Island in the United States of America are among the last.

Different countries celebrate New Year in Many different ways. For instance In Albania preparations for New Years Eve start with the Christmas tree which in Albania is known as “New Year’s Tree” or “New Year’s Pine”. On this day, parents, children and relatives are gathered together to spend some remarkable moments all together. Having an abundant dinner with different kinds of delicious dishes is also a tradition. Part of the tradition is also watching a lot of comedy shows on that night, as the New Year should find people smiling and full of joy.The most amazing moment of the night is the last minute of The Old Year and the minute to come of the New Year. At 00:00 everyone toasts and greets each other and a lot of fireworks brighten up the sky of the city. They wish each other a prosperous new year, full of happiness, joy, good health and lots of fortune. It is a tradition that at 00:00 people call each other on the phone to greet one another or send SMS to all their friends. 31 December is the busiest day of an Albanian.

In Austria, New Year’s Eve is usually celebrated with friends and family. At exactly midnight, all radio and television programmes operated by ORF broadcast the sound of the Pummerin, the bell of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, followed by the Donauwalzer (“The Blue Danube”) by Johann Strauss II. Many people dance to this at parties or in the street. Large crowds gather in the streets of Vienna, where the municipal government organises a series of stages where bands and orchestras play. Fireworks are set off by both municipal governments and individuals.

In Belgium, New Year’s Eve (Sint Sylvester Vooravond (“Saint Sylvester’s Eve”) or Oudjaar (“old year”)) is celebrated with family parties, called réveillons in the French speaking areas. On television, a stand-up comedian reviews the past year after which a musical or variety show signals midnight, when everyone kisses, exchanges good luck greetings, and toasts the New Year and absent relatives and friends with champagne. Many people light fireworks or go into the street to watch them. Most cities have their own fireworks display: the most famous is at Mont des Arts in Brussels. Cities, cafés and restaurants are crowded. Free bus services and special New Year’s Eve taxis (the Responsible Young Drivers) bring everyone home afterwards. On January 1 (Nieuwjaarsdag in Dutch) children read their “New Year’s letter” and give holiday greeting cards of decorated paper featuring golden cherubs and angels, colored roses and ribbon-tied garlands to parents and godparents, on decorated paper. In Bosnia and Herzegovina. Streets are decorated for New Year’s Eve and there is a fireworks show and concerts in all the larger cities. Restaurants, clubs, cafes and hotels are usually full of guests and they organize New Year’s Eve parties. In Sarajevo, people gather in the Square of children of Sarajevo where a local rock band entertains them. Several trumpet and rock groups play until the early morning hours. At midnight there is a big fireworks show.

New Year’s Eve (Silvestr/Silvester) celebrations and traditions in Czech Republic and Slovakia are very similar. New Year’s Eve is the noisiest day of the year. People generally gather with friends at parties, in pubs, clubs, in the streets, or city squares to eat, drink, and celebrate the new year. Fireworks are a popular tradition; in large cities such as Bratislava, or Prague, the fireworks start before noon and steadily increase until midnight. In the first minutes after midnight, people toast with champagne, wish each other a happy new year, fortune and health, and go outside for the fireworks. In both countries all major TV stations air entertainment shows before and after the midnight countdown, which is followed by the National anthem of each country. The Presidents of the republics gave their New Year speech in the morning – the new Czech President Miloš Zeman renewed the tradition of Christmas speeches. In recent years however the Czechoslovak national anthem is played at midnight, in honor of the shared history of both nations. People in Denmark may go to parties or entertain guests at home. There is a special evening meal that concludes with Kransekage, a special dessert, along with champagne. Other traditional dishes are boiled cod, stewed kale and cured saddle of pork. However, beef as well as sushi have become increasingly popular.

Two significant traditional events are also broadcast on television and radio on December 31: the monarch’s New Year message from Amalienborg Palace at 6pm and the Town Hall Clock in Copenhagen striking midnight. To celebrate New Year’s Eve in Estonia, people decorate villages, visit friends and prepare lavish meals.Some believe that people should eat seven, nine, or twelve times on New Year’s Eve. These are lucky numbers in Estonia; it is believed that for each meal consumed, the person gains the strength of that many men the following year. Meals should not be completely finished—some food should be left for ancestors and spirits who visit the house on New Year’s Eve. Traditional New Year food includes pork with sauerkraut or Estonian sauerkraut (mulgikapsad), baked potatoes and swedes with hog’s head, and white and blood sausage. Vegetarians can eat potato salad with navy beet[clarification needed] and pâté. Gingerbread and marzipan are very popular for dessert. Traditional New Year drinks include beer and mead, but mulled wine and champagne have become modern favourites. People in Denmark may go to parties or entertain guests at home. There is a special evening meal that concludes with Kransekage, a special dessert, along with champagne.  Two significant traditional events are broadcast on television and radio on December 31: the monarch’s New Year message from Amalienborg Palace at 6pm and the Town Hall Clock in Copenhagen striking midnight.  The Royal Guard parade in their red gala uniforms. The climax of the celebration is fireworks launched as the Town Hall Tower bells chime on the stroke of midnight.

To celebrate New Year’s Eve in Estonia, people decorate villages, visit friends and prepare lavish meals. Some believe that people should eat seven, nine, or twelve times on New Year’s Eve. These are lucky numbers in Estonia; it is believed that for each meal consumed, the person gains the strength of that many men the following year. Meals should not be completely finished—some food should be left for ancestors and spirits who visit the house on New Year’s Eve. Traditional New Year food includes pork with sauerkraut or Estonian sauerkraut (mulgikapsad), baked potatoes and swedes with hog’s head, and white and blood sausage. Vegetarians can eat potato salad with navy beet[clarification needed] and pâté. Gingerbread and marzipan are very popular for dessert. Traditional New Year drinks include beer and mead, but mulled wine and champagne have become modern favourites.

In Finland, New Year’s Eve is usually celebrated with family or friends. Late supper is served, often featuring wieners, Janssons frestelse, and potato salad. Some municipalities organize fireworks at midnight. Consumer fireworks are also very popular. A Finnish tradition is molybdomancy – to tell the fortunes of the New Year by melting “tin” (actually lead) in a tiny pan on the stove and throwing it quickly in a bucket of cold water. The resulting blob of metal is analyzed, for example by interpreting shadows it casts by candlelight. These predictions are however never taken seriously. The Finnish Broadcasting Company broadcasts the reception of the New Year at Helsinki Senate Square. Countdown to New Year is with the Helsinki Cathedral clock. In the afternoon programme, the German comedy sketch Dinner for One is shown every year. On the radio, just before midnight, the poem Hymyilevä Apollo (Smiling Apollo) by Eino Leino is read. In France, New Year’s Eve (la Saint-Sylvestre) is usually celebrated with a feast, le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre (Cap d’Any in Northern Catalonia). This feast customarily includes special dishes including foie gras, seafood such as oysters, and champagne. The celebration can be a simple, intimate dinner with friends and family or, une soirée dansante, a much fancier ball. On New Year’s Day (le Jour de l’An) friends and family exchange New Year’s resolutions, kisses, and wishes. Some people eat ice cream. The holiday period ends on January 6 with the celebration of Epiphany (Jour des Rois). A traditional type of flat pastry cake, la galette des rois, made of two sheets of puff pastry, filled with frangipane (almond paste) is eaten. The cake contains a fève, a small china doll; whomever finds it becomes king or queen and gets to wear a gold paper crown and choose his or her partner. This tradition can last up to two weeks.

In Germany, parties are common on New Year’s Eve (Silvester). Fireworks are very popular, both with individuals and at large municipal displays. December 31 and the three days leading up to it are the only four days of the year on which fireworks may be sold in Germany. Every year Berlin hosts one of the largest New Year’s Eve celebrations in all of Europe, attended by over a million people. The focal point is the Brandenburg Gate, where midnight fireworks are centered. Germans toast the New Year with a glass of Sekt (German sparkling wine) or champagne. On New Year’s Eve, several German television stations broadcast a short comedy play in English (recorded by West German television in 1963) entitled Dinner for One. A line from the comedy sketch, “the same procedure as every year”, has become a catch phrase in Germany. Molybdomancy (Bleigießen) is another German New Year’s Eve tradition, which involves telling fortunes by the shapes made by molten lead dropped into cold water. Other auspicious actions are to touch a chimney sweep or have him rub some ash on your forehead for good luck and health. Jam-filled doughnuts (called Berliners) with and without liquor fillings are eaten. Finally a tiny marzipan pig is consumed for more good luck. In some northern regions of Germany (e.g. East Frisia) the making of Speckdicken is another tradition – people go door to door visiting their neighbors and partaking in this dish. It looks similar to a pancake, but the recipe calls for either dark molasses or dark syrup, with summer sausage and bacon in the center.

New Year’s Eve in Greece has many traditions. During the day, children sing the New Year’s carols to be given money or treats. Then, it is time to have family lunch or dinner. In the evening, people cook a pie named “King’s pie (Vassilopita locally)”, which is a cake flavored with almonds. Following tradition, they put a coin wrapped in aluminium foil inside the pie. During the family dinner, the hostess puts some of her jewelry in a plate and serves it in the side of the table, as a symbol of the coming year’s prosperity. After the dinner is over, the dishes are not washed until the next day. The reason for that is that Saint Vassilis (Greek Santa Claus) is awaited during the New Year’s Eve and it is considered common courtesy to leave some food for the traveler who visits the house to bring the presents during the night. When midnight arrives, the families count down and then they turn off all the lights and reopen their eyes to “enter the year with a new light”. After the fireworks show, they cut the “Vassilopita” and serve it. The person that gets the wrapped coin is the lucky person of the day and he is also blessed for the rest of the year. Gifts exchanges may follow.

New Year’s Eve (Szilveszter) in Hungary is celebrated with home parties and street parties, including a gathering in downtown Budapest. Fireworks and firecrackers are popular. Champagne, wine and traditional Hungarian New Year dishes—frankfurter sausages with horseradish, lentil soup, fish, and roast pig—are consumed. The national anthem is commonly sung at midnight. In Budapest, the Timewheel runs out on New Year’s Eve, and is mechanically rotated so that the sand runs through it for another year. In past centuries, some Hungarians believed that animals were able to speak on New Year’s Eve, and that onion skins sprinkled with salt could indicate a rainy month. Hungarian Christian communities focus on celebrating Mass on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.Fireworks are very popular in Iceland, particularly on New Year’s Eve. Iceland’s biggest New Year’s Eve events are usually in and around the capital, Reykjavík. Áramótaskaupið (“The New Year’s comedy”) is also an annual Icelandic television comedy special, which is an important part of the New Year for most. New Year’s Eve (Oíche Chinn Bliana, Oíche na Coda Móire, or Oíche Chaille) celebrations in major cities are modest, with most people favouring small parties in the home for family and friends.

In Italy, New Year’s Eve (Vigilia di Capodanno or Notte di San Silvestro) is celebrated by the observation of traditional rituals, such as wearing red underwear. Dinner is traditionally eaten with relatives and friends. It often includes zampone or cotechino (a meal made with pig’s trotters or entrails), and lentils. At 8:30 pm, the President reads a television message of greetings to Italians. At midnight, fireworks are displayed all across the country. Rarely followed today is the tradition that consist in eating lentil stew when bell tolls midnight, one spoonful per bell. This is supposed to bring good fortune; the round lentils represent coins. New Year’s Eve is celebrated across Macedonia. New Year’s Day is celebrated by day-long fireworks shows. The day is celebrated together with family or friends at home or in restaurants, clubs, cafés and hotels. Evening celebrations include food, music, and dancing to both traditional Macedonian folk music, and modern music. New Year’s Eve is celebrated on December 31 and also on January 14 according to the Macedonian Orthodox Calendar.MMalta holds New Year’s street party with national celebrations taking place in St. George’s Square, Valletta while In Montenegro, New Year’s Eve celebrations are held in all large cities, usually accompanied by fireworks. It is usually celebrated with family or friends, at home or outside. Restaurants, clubs, cafés and hotels organize celebrations with food and music.

In the Netherlands New Year’s Eve (Oud en Nieuw or Oudejaarsavond)  is usually celebrated as a cozy evening with family or friends. Traditional snack foods are oliebollen (oil dumplings) and appelbeignets (apple slice fritters). There is a TV Broadcast of the oudejaarsconference, a performance by one of the major Dutch cabaretiers. Historically, in Reformed Protestant families, Psalm 90 is read, although this tradition is now fading away.At midnight, Glühwein (bishops wine) or champagne is drunk. Many people light their own fireworks.

In Norway New Year’s Eve (Nyttårsaften) is the second biggest celebration of the year, after Christmas Eve. While Christmas Eve is a family celebration, New Year’s Eve is an opportunity to celebrate with friends.Traditionally, there is first a feast, commonly consisting of stuffed, roast turkey with potatoes, sprouts, gravy and Waldorf salad. The accompanying beverage is traditionally beer (commonly either Christmas beer or lager beer). Dessert will often be vanilla pudding or rice cream, and there will be cakes and coffee later in the evening – commonly accompanied by a glass of cognac. Then, at close to 12 am on New Year’s Day, people will go outside to send up fireworks.

In Poland New Year’s Eve (Sylwester) celebrations include both indoor and outdoor festivities. A large open-air concert is held in the Main Square in Kraków. 150,000 to 200,000 revelers celebrate the New Year with live music and a fireworks display over St. Mary’s Basilica. Similar festivities are held in other cities around Poland. For those who do not wish to spend the New Year in the city, the mountains are a popular destination. Zakopane, located in the Carpathian Mountains, is the most popular Polish mountain resort in winter. In Portugal the New Year celebration is taken very seriously. The tradition is to drink champagne and eat twelve raisins – one for each month of the year, making a wish for each. Another Portuguese tradition is a special cake called Bolo-Rei (literally: King Cake). Bolo-Rei is a round cake with a large hole in the centre, resembling a crown covered with crystallised and dried fruit. It is baked from a soft, white dough, with raisins, various nuts and crystallised fruit. Inside is hidden the characteristic fava (broad bean). Tradition dictates that whoever finds the fava has to pay for the Bolo-Rei next year. In Lisbon the New Year is celebrated with a grand concert. The New Year’s Concert is held at the CCB (Centro Cultural de Belém) on the evening of 1 January, featuring the prestigious Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra.

In Romania Traditional celebrations of New Year’s Eve (Revelion) take place. Romanians follow centuries-old customs, rituals, and conventions. Children sing “Plugușorul” and “Sorcova”, traditional carols that wish goodwill, happiness and success. Parties are common in the evening. Since the Romanian Revolution of 1989, Romanians have gathered in the University Square in Bucharest. Other significant parties occur in Piața Constituției.

Most Russians celebrate New Year’s Eve with their families and close friends. The origin of this holiday in Russia derives from Christmas. Christmas was also a major holiday in Russia until it was banned, with all other religious holidays, by the Communist Party. To compensate for the absence of Christmas, New Year’s was celebrated as much as Christmas was, but without the religious aspect of the holiday. The Kremlin Clock chimes and the singing of the Russian national anthem bring in the New Year.Celebration usually starts one or two hours before midnight. A common tradition is to “say farewell to the old year” by remembering the most important events of the last twelve months. At five minutes to twelve most people watch the president’s speech on TV. It is traditional to listen to the Kremlin clock bell ringing twelve times on the radio or on TV, which is followed by the national anthem. During the last seconds of the year people make secret wishes for the next year. After the clock strikes, they drink champagne and have rich dinner, watching TV concerts and having fun.Some people light fireworks outside and visit their friends and neighbors. As December 30 and 31 are working days, a lot of people also have small parties at work, though December 31 is mostly spent at home or with friends. Grandfather Frost and his granddaughter Snowmaiden bring presents on New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve in Serbia is celebrated With families eating an abundance of food. Serbs decorate trees, Novogodišnja jelka, at New Year’s Eve, rather than at Christmas Eve. Near, or after midnight, Santa Claus (Deda Mraz) visits houses and leaves presents under the tree, Serbia New Year’s celebrations take place in Belgrade, and several other major cities such as Novi Sad and Niš. As of mid-December, cities are extensively decorated and lit. The decorations remain until way into January due to the influence of the Julian calendar. Throughout the region, especially amongst former Yugoslav republics, Belgrade is the most popular destination for major parties. On January 13, people celebrate “Serbian New Year”, according to the Julian calendar. Usually one concert is organized in front of either City Hall or the National Parliament in Belgrade, while fireworks are prepared by the Serbian Orthodox Church and fired from the Cathedral of Saint Sava,

In Slovenia, New Year’s Eve is known as a Saint Sylvester’s Day (Silvestrovo). Streets are decorated for the whole December. In larger cities like Ljubljana, Maribor, Celje or Koper there are concerts, culture programm and countdown followed by fireworks. There is also special programme on the national TV. Tradition is, that family comes together and have a dinner. At midnight, people toast with champagne, wish each other a happy new year, fortune and health. People have already decoreted the christmas tree before christmas and children are waiting for the third “Good man of December – Dedek Mraz.”

In Spain New Year’s Eve (Nochevieja or Fin de Año) celebrations usually begin with a family dinner, traditionally including shrimp or prawns, and lamb or capon. The actual countdown is primarily followed from the clock on top of the Casa de Correos building in Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid. It is traditional to eat Twelve Grapes, one on each chime of the clock. This tradition has its origins in 1909, when grape growers in Alicante thought of it as a way to cut down on the large production surplus they had had that year. Nowadays, the tradition is followed by almost every Spaniard, and the twelve grapes have become synonymous with the New Year. After the clock has finished striking twelve, people greet each other and toast with sparkling wine such as cava or champagne, or with cider. The song “Un año más,” by the Spanish group Mecano, is frequently played. Earlier in the evening there is a 10k run called Carrera de San Silvestre which starts on the street called La Castellana and ends at the stadium of Vallecas. After the family dinner and the grapes, many young people attend cotillones de nochevieja parties  at pubs, clubs, and similar places. Parties usually last until the next morning and range from small, personal celebrations at local bars to huge parties Early the next morning, party attendees usually gather to have the traditional winter breakfast of hot chocolate and fried pastry (chocolate con churros).

In Sweden, New Year’s Eve is usually celebrated with families or with friends. A few hours before and after midnight, people usually party and eat a special dinner, often three courses. New Year’s Eve is celebrated with large fireworks displays throughout the country, especially in the cities. People over the age of 18 are allowed to buy fireworks, which are sold by local stores or by private persons. While watching or lighting fireworks at midnight, people usually drink champagne.In Switzerland, New Year’s Eve is typically celebrated at a residence with friends. There are no particular main dishes associated with the event, although sweets and desserts are usual.

In Turkey Numerous decorations and customs traditionally associated with Christmas and Bayrams are part of secular New Year’s Eve celebrations. Homes and streets are lit in glittering lights. Small gifts are exchanged, and large family dinners are organized with family and friends, featuring a special turkey dish stuffed with a zante currant, pine nuts, pimiento and dill iç pilav, dolma, hot börek, baklava, and various other Turkish dishes, accompanied with rakı, Turkish wine, or boza, şerbet, salep, and Turkish tea or coffee.  decorating Christmas trees is a very popular tradition on New Year’s Eve in Turkey, and the Turks associate Santa Claus with New Year’s Eve. Public and private parties with large public attendances are organised in a number of cities and towns, particularly in the largest metropolitan areas such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana, Bursa and Antalya, with the biggest celebrations taking place in Istanbul’s Taksim, Beyoğlu, Nişantaşı and Kadıköy districts and Ankara’s Kızılay Square, which generally feature dancing, concerts, laser and lightshows as well as the traditional countdown and fireworks display.

In former Soviet Union countries, New Year’s has the same cultural significance as Christmas has in the United States, but without the religious connotations. Ukrainian families traditionally install spruce trees at home, the equivalent of a Christmas tree. Families gather to eat a large feast and reflect on the past year. They have a large celebration, make toasts, and make wishes for a happy New Year. Families give presents to their friends as well as informal acquaintances. As Ukrainians are traditionally a closely knit community, it is seen as a taboo to not give presents to those the family associates with. Children stay up until midnight, waiting for the New Year. During these celebrations many Ukrainians tune to special New Year shows, which have become a long-standing tradition for the Ukrainian TV. And just before midnight the President of Ukraine gives his New Year’s message to the nation, and when the clock strikes 12 midnight the National Anthem Shche ne vmerla Ukraina is played in all TV and radio stations as well as in Independence Square in Kiev and other cities where holiday celebrations are held. New Year is often considered a “pre-celebration” for Greek Catholics and Eastern Orthodox living in Eastern Europe, primarily in Ukraine, since Christmas is celebrated on January 7.

In England Thousands of people gather in central London for New Year celebrations, including fireworks at the London Eye at midnight. The celebration in London focuses on Big Ben (Westminster Clock Tower) the bell and by association the clock housed in the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster. These celebrations are aired by the BBC and other networks. Parties are held across the country, in pubs, clubs, and private houses. On New Year’s Eve 2010, an estimated 250,000 people gathered to view an eight-minute fireworks display around and above the London Eye which was, for the first time, set to a musical soundtrack. The celebrations in London continued into January 1, with the New Year’s Day Parade, held annually since 1987. The 2011 parade involved more than 10,000 musicians, cheerleaders and performers. Other major New Year events are held in the cities of Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Newcastle.

In Scotland, New Year’s (Hogmanay) is celebrated with several different customs, such as First-Footing, which involves friends or family members going to each other’s houses with a gift of whisky and sometimes a lump of coal.Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, hosts one of the world’s most famous New Year celebrations. The celebration is focused on a major street party along Princes Street. The cannon is fired at Edinburgh Castle at the stroke of midnight, followed by a large fireworks display. Edinburgh hosts a festival of four or five days, beginning on 28 December, and lasting until New Year’s Day or January 2, which is also a bank holiday in Scotland. Other cities across Scotland, such as Aberdeen, Glasgow and Stirling have large organised celebrations too, including fireworks at midnight. BBC Scotland broadcast the celebrations in Edinburgh to a Scottish audience, with the celebrations also screened across the world. STV covers both worldwide New Year celebrations, and details of events happening around Scotland.

In Wales it is an ancient traditional to give gifts and money on New Year’s Day (Welsh: Calennig). Thousands of people also descend every year on Cardiff to enjoy live music, catering, ice-skating, funfairs and fireworks. Many of the celebrations take place at Cardiff Castle and Cardiff City Hall. Every New Year’s Eve, the Nos Galan road race (Rasys Nos Galan), a 5-kilometre (3.1 mi) running race, is held in Mountain Ash in the Cynon Valley, Rhondda Cynon Taf, South Wales, ro celebrate the life and achievements of Welsh runner Guto Nyth Brân. It was Founded in 1958 by local runner Bernard Baldwin, it is run over the 5 kilometre route of Guto’s first competitive race. The main race starts with a church service at Llanwynno, and then a wreath is laid on Guto’s grave in Llanwynno graveyard. After lighting a torch, it is carried to the nearby town of Mountain Ash, where the main race takes place.

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