In Gallivanting the Globe

NEW YEAR’S TRADITIONS AROUND THE WORLD

Featured image: Fireworks blast high above Vatican City

As the holiday season comes to a close, we’re not ready to cease the celebrations just yet. New Year’s is, arguably, the biggest celebration of this festive season and, like so much else in our cultures, varies in its revelry depending on where in the world you are. In many countries, the New Year’s celebrations revolve around food and drink, enjoyed with family and friends, because it is thought to bring about prosperity and bounty in the coming year. Although, we’re pretty sure that it’s also because virtually all of life’s most wonderful celebrations involve copious amounts of food, drink and beloved company.

As we prepare to embark on yet another year of discovery traveling the globe together, we’re observing the opportunity to highlight the varied ways the world’s cultures celebrate one of our biggest shared occasions. No matter where you are ringing in 2017, we wish you health, happiness, love and a world of adventure ahead.

SPAIN – At the stroke of midnight, the goal of Spaniards is to consume 12 grapes as quickly as possible, in order to account for prosperity in each of the coming months of the year.

COLOMBIA (ALSO ARGENTINA) – Carrying an empty suitcase around the block will ostensibly fuel fortunes of travel in the New Year. We think this one is definitely worth a try!

Denmark's flag waves amidst New Year's Even fireworks.
Denmark’s flag waves amidst New Year’s Even fireworks.

DENMARK – Apparently, Danes think nothing of buying a new set of china every year, because each New Year’s Eve, they break the ones they have. Not just smashing them against the floor a la many Greek wedding customs, but actually hurling them at the doors and homes of friends and family.

FINLAND – Did you know that molten tin shrivels and reshapes when it’s placed in water? In Finland, residents “read” the shapes that emerge once the tin hardens. A ship foretells a year of travel ahead (we think this is fitting), while pig shapes and heart or ring shapes signify plentiful food and marriage, respectively.

SCOTLAND – It’s often customary, in many places throughout the world, to bring a gift when you enter the home of a friend for a dinner party or other celebration. The “first footing” or Hogmanay tradition is particularly prevalent at New Year’s Eve, when the custom dictates the person to cross the threshold of a home in the New Year must carry a gift. Whiskey is common, and always appreciated.

ROME – Romans continue the party not just late into the night, but for three full days. During this time, they decorate houses with greenery and colorful lights, similar to the U.S. tradition of adorning homes with Christmas lights. Gifts are also given. Thoughtful gifts intended to bring prosperity (think silver or gold) and love and sweetness (honey).

Fireworks over the Colosseum during the Roman New Year's celebration. (© Greta6 | Dreamstime.com - New Year Eve In Rome, Fireworks At Colosseum Photo © Greta6 | Dreamstime.com
Fireworks over the Colosseum during the Roman New Year’s celebration. (© Greta6 | Dreamstime.com – New Year Eve In Rome)

GREECE – New Year’s is called St. Basil’s Day, after one of the forefathers of the Greek Church. Special bread is prepared in honor of the anniversary of his death. A coin is placed inside the dough, and is believed to foretell fortune for the recipient of that piece. If the third slice of the bread served contains the coin, spring will come early that year. Spring in Greece is spectacular, by the way.

AUSTRIA – NYE is called Sylvesterabend, in reference to the soul of Saint Sylvester, and is celebrated with a number of delectable traditions, including some that resemble North American Christmas customs. Children gather to celebrate, walk the neighborhood while singing New Year’s carols, then join their families for lavish feasts of suckling pig and more sweetness than we can imagine – fudge, marzipan, cookies, peppermint ice cream and maple sugar.

One of the most beloved shared customs in any New Year’s celebration throughout the world is the display of fireworks. This practice is nearly as old as fireworks themselves, dating back to ancient New Year’s observations, when the noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck.

Dubai's night sky is illuminated with thousands of sparkling fireworks.
Dubai’s night sky is illuminated with thousands of sparkling fireworks.

Whether you’re preventing evil from ruining your 2017, or you simply enjoy sparkling displays of festivity, we’ve got VIP access to two of the world’s most acclaimed fireworks shows. Crystal Symphony will take guests to the heart of the party in the midst of Sydney’s famed harbour, while guests aboard Crystal Esprit will relish the nearly-impossible-to-get vantage point near Dubai’s Burj al Arab. Both spectacular shows showcase record-setting light exhibitions, and both share the added bonus of Crystal’s expert attention to each exclusive detail.

Happy New Year, from your fellow travel enthusiasts at the Crystal Insider!

 

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