Happy New Year to all our customers, partners and suppliers.
I thought it may be nice to look at some of the traditions you enjoy across the globe during News Year Eve:
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebration is said to be the largest street-party in the country. We have employees and suppliers who are Scottish; so I think I can vouch that they are a nation who knows how to party!
Neighbours pay visits to each other and spread their New Year’s good wishes. The first ones to do this are known as ‘first foots’. Traditionally they would bring along a gift – perhaps coal for the fire or shortbread. It is considered especially lucky if a tall, dark and handsome man is the first to enter your house after New Year is rung in. Although some of the girls here would argue that this is the case, whatever date in the year this happens!
For the Japanese, of all the holidays, the New Year is their most important one; they look at this date as a symbol of renewal.
Interestingly they build up to this date with various ‘Bonenkai’ parties (literally this means forget-the-year). The idea is to relinquish any problems and concerns that have been faced over the preceding 351 days.
Apparently any misunderstandings or minor fall-outs are often erased from minds. At midnight on New Year’s Eve Buddhist temples strike their gongs 108 times – to expel 108 types of human weakness (who knew we had so many?)
Sending New Year’s cards is a popular tradition, and something we haven’t really adopted yet in the UK. Children often receive small gifts containing Yen.
Moving back to European shores, namely our Spanish friends. We are led to believe they eat twelve grapes at midnight. While I can’t say if this does happen across the country, in terms of traditions followed, it is meant to secure twelve happy months in the coming year… pass the fruit bowl, please!
In the Netherlands, they light bonfires which are stacked with households Christmas trees. The symbolism here is about purging the old and welcoming in the new.
The Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the festival of St Basil on New Year’s Day. They serve cake named after this beloved Saint. A silver or gold coin is baked inside this. If you are lucky enough to have the slice that contains the coin, you are said to be especially lucky during the year ahead.
While there are undoubtedly so many other traditions across the globe, I would like to finish my nostalgic global jaunt in the United States of America. Specifically citing how the New Year Ball is dropped in Times Square at 23:59 in New York City.
Being carried out for more than a century, thousands gather to watch the ball make its one-minute descent. Timed to perfection, it arrives exactly at midnight watched by many eyes across the nation. It is quite literally a glitzy ball as it made of Crystal and is six foot in diameter and has a visible wow factor.
Wherever you are in the world and however you will be celebrating it, on behalf of our lovely teams based in the UK and USA – we wish you a wonderful 2016.