New Year is a versatile holiday, which is celebrated differently in every country. In Latvia for many people it is still a family occasion and there are a lot of those, who celebrate it at home in front of TV. Legendary “meat salad” –known as “olivie” or “rosols” – holds its main position on the festive table. Even those, who choose salads with lighter dressing such as olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic sauce in their everyday diet, appreciate a spoon or two of this mayonnaise dressed dish. But others join the crowds on Dome square in the Old Town and wait for the clock to hit twelve, open bottles of champagne and congratulate each other. But some prefer not to worry about a thing on New Year’s Eve and spend it in a restaurant or a hotel with food, drinks and entertainment programme.
People in Spain seem more concerned about healthy eating on New Year’s Eve. There is a tradition to eat grapes at midnight. There should be exactly twelve grapes to be consumed while the clock hits twelve times. It is believed that this ritual ensures good luck for the whole upcoming year – one grape for each month. In many cities people gather together on the main squares to share grapes eating tradition with bottles of cava.
Greeks also believe that food symbolizes good luck, but for this purpose they eat Vassilopitta – a round coffee cake that’s usually made with almonds – hoping to find in their piece a coin baked inside. The one who finds it will enjoy luck throughout the whole year to come. In Mexico there is a similar tradition. Their New Year’s cake is called Rosca de reyes and is also round, but in a form of a ring with candied fruit on top and a trinket inside that symbolizes luck for the person, who uncovers it.
Since in the United States New Year is not a family event, the most famous tradition there is probably dropping the ball in Times Square in New York City, starting exactly one minute before midnight. Cheerful crowds gather in the heart of New York to watch the ball descend. This tradition is more than hundred years old. The first ball made of iron and wood descended in 1907. But now it is made of Waterford Crystal, weighs about five tons and is more than three and a half metres in diameter.
In Southern part of the United States the traditional dish for New Year is black eyed peas. This tradition goes back to the Civil War between North and South. There are many ways black eyed peas are cooked, but the most popular for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is Hoppin’ John. Black-eyed peas are cooked with rice, pork with season vegetables and sometimes chopped onions and hot sauce.
In China New Year is celebrated later than in other parts of the world. But the tradition to eat certain foods remains there as well. They eat Chinese dumplings, which are known as jiaozi in Mandarin. These dumplings are viewed as a symbol of wealth and long life. The jiaozi are usually made in the shape of semi circles, so they resemble ingots, early Chinese money.
For many years Finns drown molten tin in water. Why do they do it? They believe that the shape the piece of metal takes when it hardens may show the events that will take place in the upcoming year. If you see a ring or a heart, it means a wedding; if you see a vessel then you should wait for a voyage, but a pig shape tells about the abundance of food.
Pork is considered to bring wealth and luck in many countries. For example, in Austria and Cuba roasting a suckling pig over a fire is traditional for New Year’s celebration.
Traditions of what people eat and rituals in different countries may vary, but champagne bubbles are what unite everyone, who celebrates New Year. Let us toast for a prosperous New 2018 Year!
Ēst – est.lv wishes everyone happy celebrations, bright emotions and let all your dreams come true in 2018!