By JESSE BARRINGER
Fireworks popping, hearts warming, confetti flying, and voices all across the United States joined together in unison to utter those inspiring lyrics of Auld Lang Syne as they welcomed in the new year.
Last week, as the clock ticked closer and closer to midnight, time meticulously slowed down for billions of people all around the world. For most, they sat at home, held their loved ones close, and watched as the nation's most prominent ball slowly relinquished its fetal position amongst the thousands of party hungry New Yorkers squeezed tightly into the crowded streets of Times Square.
|Jesse Barringer for the WIZARD WEEKLY|
However, those billion people tuning into the worldwide live event weren’t the only ones celebrating the countdown to 2019. In fact, there were an approximate 6 billion people across the globe, not sitting in their homes awaiting the long anticipated New York ball drop.
So if not sitting at home witnessing one of the world's most viewed events, what were the other hundreds of cultures across the globe doing to celebrate the coming New Year?
It might interest people to know that most, if not all other countries besides the United States, have at least one, if not many, New Year’s Eve traditions of which many have never heard.
The first foreign New Year’s Eve cultured tradition brings us all the way to the European country of Denmark. It may be shocking to discover that one this country’s most celebrated traditions involves greeting “the New Year by throwing old plates and glasses against the doors of family and friends to banish bad spirits” (Sarah Wyland, Worldstrides Blog). Nothing like a bit of friendly vandalism and destruction of private property to celebrate the incoming New Year, right? Other than throwing glass kitchenware at friends' houses, Denmark’s other traditions are fairly heartwarming and happy New Year’s Eve rituals. It is also a common custom to “stand on chairs and jump off them together at midnight to 'leap' into January in hopes of good luck” (Sarah Wyland).
Much like how the United States celebrates our New Year's Eve with parties and confetti, London, England also puts on quite a grand show. Feasts are held, parties are celebrated, and fireworks are lit. However, their most unique tradition includes their “annual New Year parade. Thousands of prominent artists from their respective fields and from different parts of the world come all the way to London to be a part of this famous parade” (123NewYear.com). This is very similar to what America does for Thanksgiving with the “Macy’s Day Parade.”
A much more romantic way of greeting the New Year in London, however, involves couples taking “a cruise to have an extended night-long celebration in the middle of the River Thames. Most of the cruise trips offer a midnight view of the London Eye fireworks show (123NewYear.com). What better way to welcome in the new year than with a loved one by your side?
In a slightly more subtle, and definitely less usual, way of celebrating the hours leading up to New Year’s Day, Spain in it’s masterful customary traditional glory, incorporates the tradition of eating “12 grapes – one at each stroke of the clock at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Each grape represents good luck for one month of the coming year” (Sarah Wyland). Other people of Spain also meet in big cities to “gather in main squares to eat their grapes together and pass around bottles of wine.” (Sarah Wyland).
So a year from now, at the end of 2019 on New Year’s Eve, remember a few of these global traditions, and maybe even try a few of them (If legal. For instance, do not throw glassware at neighbors houses) for yourself. New Year's Eve is a very special time of year for the entire world; everyone has something to celebrate, and something to reflect upon during the year leaving, and the year coming. Here’s to another successful year in 2019!