The New Year ignites me with renewed incentive to do more, learn more and cross off challenges from my bucket list. As Americans, we are accustomed to making resolutions, counting down to midnight followed by a sweet kiss with the ones we love.
But it’s fascinating to examine the New Year traditions around the world.
In Denmark, its customary to smash plates and drop them on the doorsteps of friends to bring good fortune in the New Year. The bigger your pile, the more popular you are (and better your good luck)
In Italy, it is believed the the color of your underwear will influence the kind of year you will have. For those wishing for love and romance, red is the color to wear. For peace, wear white and for prosperity or success yellow is the color of choice. For good health, green is the way to go!
Since the circle represents prosperity to people in the Philippines, many wear polka dots and and carry coins in their pockets to attract wealth. Eating foods that are also circular such a round fruits are also believed to be good luck.
In Japan, Buddhist temples ring their bells exactly 108 times to represent each of the 108 earthly desires - or “bonnou” - being cast away. It is thought that these are the cause of human suffering and therefore 107 bells are rung just before midnight and the 108th bell just after midnight.
Doors are painted radiant shades of red in China for good luck on Chinese New Year in January, while the noise from magnificent firework displays ward off evil spirits and misfortune.
Bearing a grudge brings on a whole new meaning at the Takanakuy Festival in Peru. Here is one of the more unique ways to start anew. People in this small village fist fight at the end of the year to settle all differences and then begin the new year on a clean slate.
In Switzertland, dropping a scoop of ice cream on the floor is said to bring overflowing abundance in the year ahead!
Due to an unexpectedly large grape harvest in 1909, farmers in Spain had an overwhelming surplus of crops. They came up with idea of telling people to eat one grape on each of the 12 clock chimes to midnight for good luck. This tradition spread to countries like Mexico and Portugal symbolizing 12 lucky months ahead.
To inspire a year full or travel, people in Columbia carry their suitcase around with them all day!
And finally, in Scotland, it is believed that the first person to cross your threshold in the New Year should bring a gift to bring good luck!
Wherever you live or celebrate the coming year, I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2018.