Around the World on New Year's Eve
Looking for ideas to make your New Year's Eve special? Take a look at some traditions from around the world.
Get Your Year Off to a "Grape" Start
When in Spain, do what the Spaniards do -- or in this case bring the Spanish New Year's tradition to your home. Invite some friends for a late dinner. In Spain, that's 9 p.m. at the earliest! Before midnight, bring out the dessert -- bunches of grapes. Eat one grape with each toll of the midnight bells. This old tradition is thought to bring good luck.
Get Rid of Your Faults and Bad Luck
It's a tradition in Colombia, South America, to build a dummy representing the Año Nuevo (the old year). It's made out of bits of old clothing from each family member and stuffed with straw and firecrackers. On a piece of paper, every family member writes a fault or a bit of bad luck that they want to get rid of. Exactly at midnight, Año Nuevo is set on fire and burns until nothing but ashes is left. That's when all of the old year's bad luck and faults disappear.
Your neighbors may think you're nuts if you and your family burn a straw effigy in the middle of the street on New Year's Eve. But you can bring this tradition down to size. Here's how.
Make a small Año Nuevo out of sturdy paper or cardboard. "Dress" it by drawing clothes on it or gluing on scraps of old clothing from each family member. Everyone writes their faults and bad luck on a piece of paper. At midnight, tear Año Nuevo into shreds. Or, if you have a fire going in your fireplace (and this should only be done with adult supervision), burn Año Nuevo like the Columbians do (but minus the firecrackers). While Año Nuevo is being destroyed, read the list of faults and bad luck out loud. They'll all go up in smoke with Año Nuevo.
Let Them Eat Cake and a Coin Too
It's a Greek tradition to serve Vasilopita (New Year's Bread) at midnight. This special bread is baked with a coin or charm hidden inside. The head of the household cuts the bread exactly at midnight and whoever receives the piece with the coin will have good fortune throughout the year. So spend the day baking Vasilopita with your kids and at midnight, welcome in the New Year with a sweet treat. Happy hunting!