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New Year’s Traditions

As the year winds down, different cultures partake in different traditions to ring in the New Year. Some may be familiar, others may be new to you. Whether you follow these or not, read on for some history of these various practices.

The traditional kiss at midnight is a given, right? Whether it’s a significant other or the stranger next to you, it is believed that no kiss at midnight will lead to a year of loneliness.

Have you ever wondered about “Auld Lang Syne”? It originated in Scotland and spread from there. A poem turned song about coming together, reflecting on the past, and moving forward to the future. It’s common for everyone to join in a massive sing-along to close out the night.

Watching the ball drop in Times Square is another well-known tradition. It’s likely that we have all counted down and watched the ball drop at least once, especially since it’s widely televised every year. But before there was a ball drop, there were fireworks. Thanks to a ban a few years in, fireworks were out and the ball drop was in.

Fireworks are still a tradition in China. The loud noises are thought to ward off evil spirits and misfortune. Their calendar year is slightly different than ours; Chinese New Year falls on Jan 31, 2014 and marks the beginning of the year of the horse.

Many wish for prosperity & good fortune in the New Year. For Southerners, this is achieved by eating Hoppin’ John, a black-eyed peas-based stew. The peas are thought to symbolize coins. In the Philippines, they wear polka dots & carry coins in their pockets. And in Spain, good luck comes from eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. Each grape signifies a month of good luck.

Color plays a role in these traditions as well. In Latin American countries, the color of your underwear are believed to predict the year ahead. Red symbolizes love & romance, yellow brings prosperity & success, white brings peace & harmony, and green brings health & well-being.

There are countless more traditions, and if yours wasn’t mentioned, please share it with us. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.

Whatever your traditions or beliefs, we would like to wish you a happy new year! May 2014 bring you much success and happiness. Stay safe & celebrate responsibly.

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