By Paige Nash
Countries around the world celebrate the New Year in similar fashions. The more popular traditions include making lots of noise, eating loads of food to bring luck, exchanging thoughtful gifts and making an effort to put your best foot forward as you step into a brand-new year. Although almost every country across the globe shares in these traditions, they each have their own unique ways and reasons.
For instance, in the United States the most popular event is watching the ball drop in New York’s Times Square, whether in person or on television. As the ball drops and the countdown begins, people across the country make toasts, cheer and exchange a kiss as the clock strikes midnight.
Although the ancient saying is not “ball drop into the New Year.” It is, “ring in the New Year.” That is because decades before people began congregating in downtown New York to watch the ball drop, they would gather outside the churches to wait for the church bells to do exactly that- “ring in the New Year.”
If you live in the United States, at least once in your lifetime, you may have eaten cabbage and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day in hopes of a year full of good health and fortune. Many traditional meals take place on this day around the world. In Ireland households enjoy bannocks and countries like India and Pakistan believe eating rice on this day promises prosperity to come.
Webster Parish local Melissa Young who is originally from Ciudad Mante Tamaulipas, Mexico said that New Year is a huge celebration in Mexico.
“Family and friends gather to eat a big dinner and pop fireworks. We eat 12 grapes before midnight. One grape with each chime of the clock’s bell for good luck,” said Young. “We eat lentils for good fortune for the coming year. We also grab a suitcase and walk it around at midnight that is supposed to bring you good travels.
In the United States it is not highly popular to exchange gifts, but in countries like Rome or Egypt this is a way to mark the start of the New Year. In Persia, eggs are gifted to others as a symbol of fertility, while in Scotland, people may exchange coal or silverware for good luck.
Another highly popular tradition is making resolutions as a way of reflecting on the year that has passed and making plans for the year ahead. Common resolutions for people in the states usually revolve around health and include getting in shape, eating healthier or being more active. The Japanese and Australians tend to focus their goals on romance like finding a significant other or bettering their relationships, while the majority of people in Russia make resolutions regarding furthering their education or careers.
Studies have shown that only 25 percent of people are still working toward their New Year goals after the first 30 days. Many people may not follow through on their resolutions, but it probably will not stop people from making them. Perhaps that is why when asked what her New Year resolution for 2023 is, Minden local Sharlene Warren said, “To not make any.”