The new year is almost upon us, so let's talk new year's traditions. We could all use a little luck in 2018, so here are some ideas from around the world to improve your fortune for the coming year.
Lucky in Love and Friendship
We all know a midnight kiss on New Year's Eve is tradition, but what does it mean? It's supposed to ward off a lonely year. Some sources also suggest the one you kiss at midnight is the one you'll kiss for the rest of the year. Either way, if you're looking for love in 2018 a (consensual) smooch is a good way to kick off the new year.
For extra luck in the love department, some Latin American countries, including Mexico and Brazil, believe that wearing red underwear will bring love in the new year. Not sure how much science there is to support this, but we're talking about luck here, so might as well give it a shot, right?
If you're more of an introvert and need a little help in the platonic department, you could take a tip from the Danes. In Denmark, people collect dishes all year and throw them at the front door on New Year's Eve. The more broken plates, the more friends you'll have in the new year...though this might just be a con perpetrated by Big Flatware to boost sales. You make the call!
Lucky in Prosperity
If you're hoping to strike it rich in 2018, cultures around the world have ideas on how to do that. In the Philippines they wear polka dots because the circle represents prosperity. They also keep coins in their pockets to jangle, in the hopes of attracting wealth. Similarly, the Dutch believe eating a ring-shaped treat, such as a donut, symbolizes "coming full circle" and leads to good fortune. We'll take any excuse to eat donuts, so thanks, Netherlands!
Latin Americans believe wearing yellow underwear (we're sensing a trend here) will bring prosperity and success, while Indians and Pakistanis believe rice brings prosperity. The Swiss drop ice cream or whipped cream on the floor to symbolize the richness of the year to come.
Here in the United States, southerners believe that black-eyed peas bring good fortune, thus Hoppin' John is a popular new year's day dish. Here at Boredwalk we like this recipe for Black Eyed Pea Salad, but we're not sure if it's ever actually materialized into big bucks for us. (Matt just checked; it hasn't. But it is delicious, so we're happy to keep the tradition going!)
Lucky in Life
Some of the world's new year traditions are about bringing luck in general. The Spanish eat 12 grapes at midnight for 12 months of happiness. The Japanese adorn the entrances to their homes with hand-strung ropes for luck. Danes climb onto chairs and jump high when the clock strikes midnight. The Greeks serve St. Basil's cake on new year's day. A silver or gold coin is baked into the cake and whoever finds the coin in their slice will have a lucky year; I guess the luck kicks in after the dentist fixes that crown.
Lots of new year traditions also center around noise-making, traditionally used to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. The Chinese were the first to use fireworks in this fashion, but early American colonists used pistols for the same effect (note to present-day Americans: please don't revive this tradition). Italians ring church bells, and the Swiss beat drums.
However you plan to celebrate the coming new year, we wish you a good one!
Peace, Love and Happy New Year,