Ahhh, New Year! Here in the Philippines, we have so many traditions and beliefs that sometimes leave our mouths open because of the reasons behind it. Yet, we still do them anyway! (Admit it! Or else Lola will spank you if you will not wear something polka-dotted). Well, it might be worthwhile to know that we are not the only ones with the weird traditions and beliefs! Here are some from different countries:
America. The Midnight Kiss
We see lots of movies depicting that midnight kiss during New Years’ Eve. As the clock strikes 12 in Times Square, you should not be alone! Maybe we don’t know that this is in fact a tradition wherein this practice would bring them true love. It washes away bad memories in the past, marking the New Year with love and life! This should be one of the traditions we should emulate huh, Single Hearts’ Club members?
Ireland. Mistletoe under the Pillow
If you are single on New Years’ Eve in Ireland, fear not! If it's traditional in the US to kiss under a mistletoe, the people in Ireland have a different spot for it other than on top. You can put some mistletoe under your pillow in the chances that you might catch your future husband! They also believe that mistletoe brings them good luck.
Germany and Austria. Lead Pouring
Apparently, tea leaves aren’t the only things that fortune tellers have to predict the future. In Germany and Austria, they use lead! There, lead pieces are poured into a bowl of water. The shape that is formed in the water will determine what would happen in the year ahead. Generally, if you get a cross, that means doom! You’ll be facing death ahead. I wonder what would happen if it forms the shape of an iPAD. Would I get one next year?
Germany. Dinner for One
photo:Frequent Business Traveller
Germany gets stranger with another annual tradition. No, you don’t go to dinner alone. The Dinner for One is a British show that Germans go to watch every New Year’s Eve. This started since 1972 and albeit there’s no particular reason how it started, they still do this. If it’s in Pinas, what show would we be watching? I wonder… Hmmm..
Ecuador. Burning of Scarecrows
photo: Hate your State
Scarecrows in Ecuador are not just made to scare crows. They are also used to scare bad luck! With this, every New Year, they have this unique custom of making scarecrows out of newspapers or wood. They then gather outside their homes as midnight approaches and each family burns their scarecrows. Shooo… crows! Shoo, bad luck!
This is one freaky tradition. For Mexicans, the best time to talk to your departed loved ones would be New Year. Apparently, the souls are at peak to give messages or guidance at this wonderful time of the year. And fear not, this is a legal practice for them. They even offer spiritual sessions for a fee so that you can talk to your dead friends and relatives! (Happy New Year, Lo! Naay pabuto sa langit?haha)
Mexico. Talking to Spirits
Bolivia, Mexico and Brazil- Yellow Underwear!
She wore an itsy-bitsy yellow polka dot bikini that she wore for the first time today... I bet that first time is during New Year and I assume she is Bolivian! People there will buy a yellow underwear, wait for midnight and when the clock strikes 12, they will change into their yellow underwear! They believe that once they change underwear, they will also change their luck.
Chile. Visiting Cemeteries
For Chileans, it’s better to spend time with the dead on New Years’! Creepy, much? Every New Year, cemeteries in Chile are as full as All Souls’ Day in Pinas. They believe that the dead can give them guidance for the year ahead.
Denmark. Throwing Dishes
If someone throws dishes at you here, you’d be angry and throw a big rock back! That would start a riot! Hahaha.. But not in Denmark! Apparently, the more thrown dishes they find at their doorstep on January 1, the more they are assured that they have many friends in the year ahead.
For me, it just means wasted Chinaware and a lot of things to clean afterwards!
Puerto Rico. Throwing Water
No, it’s not the Feast of San Juan! It’s Puerto Rico’s New Year! There, they literally wash away the old year by throwing buckets of water out of their window! And since they are in the cleaning spirit, they also clean their homes and decorate them.
Nothing can ever beat the traditions in the Philippines because while other countries seek for love and luck, we aspire for MONEY!!! Yeah, boy!!!! What’s more practical than that??
So bring out those polka dots, eat circular foods, and have things in circular patterns because these denote none other than money money money!
So, there we go.. Wouldn't you be glad to know we won't be branded as the only ones with the crazy traditions? Crazy or not, this means we believe in something. But we must bear in mind that the greatest belief we should focus is in ourselves. Money, luck, love, life will just follow as long as we believe in something higher than us and being confident that we can be the change we want to be.
Happy New Year!!!