Celebrating New Year Traditions

New Year’s Eve is celebrated around the world to mark a brand new year, come January 1st.  A champagne toast at midnight; resolutions, reminiscing and watching the ball drop in Times Square are some ways we ring in a fresh new year.  Traditions go back hundreds of years. Let’s look at how some, ranging from the more common to bizarre, began.

Popular Ways to Ring in the New Year

The crystal ball drop in New York’s Times Square dates back to 1907. Hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets every year or watch from home. 

Fireworks displays are a tradition embraced around the world.  People also light sparklers in their own backyard to mark the occasion. 

Some historians believe the midnight kiss traces back to a raucous celebration in ancient Rome. Over time, German and English folklore brought romance into the picture that claimed starting the year with a kiss would improve your chances of love. 

The toast dates back to ancient times when folks drank to health, hospitality and honor. Today, the custom celebrates the advent of the new year and is the only toast made at the stroke of midnight. 

The Polar Bear Plunge started in Vancouver, Canada in 1920 by a group of swimmers who called themselves the Polar Bear Club.  The tradition of running into freezing cold water is usually done to raise money for charity. 

Some of the following ancient traditions may not be practiced much in modern times, but they sure make good conversation starters.

In Spain, it’s tradition to eat 12 grapes at midnight, one at a time with each chime of the clock.  It’s believed whoever is the first to finish before the chimes end will have 12 months of luck and happiness. The ritual dates back to 1909. 

Folks in the Philippines believe wearing polka dots will guarantee them wealth in the new year.  Roundness indicates prosperity so the locals surround themselves with circular shapes, putting coins in their pockets or eating round fruit, like oranges.

It’s a tradition in Denmark to break old dishware to celebrate the new year.  It’s believed the more broken dishes you find outside your door in the morning, the more friends and luck you will have in the new year. 

The Italians throw stuff out their windows.  Items include old toasters and retired fridges.  However, it’s best to stick to small, soft objects, in case anyone is down below. 

Origins of New Year’s Eve

Throughout ancient history, civilizations have typically pinned the start of a new year to an agricultural or astronomical event.  Julius Caesar instituted January 1st as the first day of the year, partly to honor Janus, the Roman god of beginnings.  Romans celebrated by exchanging gifts, decorating their homes and attending raucous parties.  

Traditional New Year Dishes

When a new year begins, revelers worldwide often enjoy traditional dishes thought to bring good luck.  Legumes resemble coins and are associated with future financial success. Pigs and pork represent prosperity.  Ring-shaped cakes and pastries mean a year has come full circle. Rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is served on New Year’s Eve in some countries. Whoever finds the nut can expect 12 months of good fortune. 

Let Us Serve Your Treats

Let us scoop up a special dessert for your new year celebration.  Norwood Ice Cream & Candy Company is located in Eldersburg, Maryland. Each unique ice cream flavor is handcrafted in the store in small batches. We offer customers exciting new ice cream flavor choices every time they come in.  We sell scoops and pints of ice cream, as well as cakes, and waffle treats.  Drop on by or give us a call at 410-875-7238.