The Paw Print

The Paw Print

The Paw Print

New Years Traditions Around the World

New Years Traditions Around the World

As the year of 2023 begins coming to a close, there’s a strong surge in the atmosphere that promotes festivities and celebrations that seemingly didn’t have a reason behind them. After all, the first New Years celebrations did date back to almost approximately 4,000 years ago during Babylonian times! Their festivities actually took place the moon after the vernal equinox, which is the day in March where there are equal amounts of both sunlight and darkness, and that day would mark the start of the new year. However, the calendar eventually began to mismatch with the equinox; therefore, a new calendar was set in place for the celebratory events. Julius Caesar created the Julian Calendar, which put the start of the new year on January 1st as we all know it. The reason behind this decision was that January was named after the Roman god Janus, a god associated with new beginnings and two faces that peers into the past and future.

Now, the New Years that we’re familiar with usually consisted of singing songs such as “Auld Lang Syne” to bid the current year farewell, and eat black-eyed peas to bring good luck for the following year. These traditions seem to be timeless, but when did they begin? Compared to the history of news years in general, we don’t actually date back too long to find the answers.

The song “Auld Lang Syne” did actually come from Scottish origins, attributed to poet Robert Burns. Eventually, after many translations and distribution, the song would be played over and over again on radios across English-speaking countries. The history of black-eyed peas would actually date back to time during the Civil War. Based on Capi Peck, the owner of Trio’s Restaurant, Union soldiers used to raid confederate families and looting everything except for peas and salt pork as they weren’t the best choice of human consumption. The peas and salt pork did feed the Confederate families, and for that reason alone, black-eyed peas would become a staple for good luck around the New Years.

Though, the U.S isn’t the only country that celebrates the New Years! After all, the whole world has their own way of welcoming the New Years. While some of them may seem obscure to those who aren’t used to these traditions, keep in mind that there is and will always be a demographic with a strong connection to them.

For example, the citizens of Spain enjoy the New Years with the consumption of grapes! The citizens would eat one grape for each month of the new year, each grape correlating to good luck for a month. In larger cities, people would gather to eat their grapes as a whole, sharing and passing around bottles of cava. There are many stories of which this tradition came to be, but the most likely one dates back to the 1880s. Allegedly, it derived from how the French would drink champagne and relish grapes for the New Years, which would then be mimicked by the Madrid bourgeoisie.

There’s also Denmark with their unique way of celebratory activities such as throwing unused plates or glasses on their loved ones’ doors! It is said that this process helps with banishing old spirits, which doesn’t sound impossible due to the loud sounds the crashing makes. The history behind this tradition is pretty unclear, but the idea of plate smashing did date back to Greek times.

In conclusion, New Years is unequivocally an event that is different for everyone around the world. What the U.S does may seem abnormal to others, and what others do may seem abnormal to us. What’s important is that everyone keeps an open mind when hearing about or practicing these traditions globally. After all, the spirit of New Years is all about harnessing good luck for the next 12 months. What would be the point of competing against which traditions bring more luck or abundance? In the end, everyone is satisfied with their choices, and that’s all that matters in the spirit of New Years.

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About the Contributor
Andy Cao, Staff Writer
Andy Cao is a Sophomore here at Heritage High School, but only in his first year regarding Journalism. He has a great interest in writing and anything English related. He enjoys reading in his pass time, but listening to music is also a favorable second option. With a connection to nature, the outdoors greatly motivates him in whatever task he's doing, preferably cold weather.