From Doors to Saunas – New Year's Traditions From Around the World

From Doors to Saunas – New Year's Traditions From Around the World

Happy New Year from Bistro Chic!

As Americans get ready to ring in the New Year with Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest, let’s check out how our friends across the pond are celebrating…

la galette

Britain – Many British still keep the age-old tradition of first footing, a practice whereby the first visitor (preferably a tall, dark, and handsome man!) enters a New Year’s gathering bearing gifts. In order to ensure luck for the New Year, the first footer must enter through the front door and then leave through the back. Only question I have is – do they let him back in?

Wales – In complete reverse of the Brits… on New Year’s Eve, the Welsh open the back door of the house when the clock strikes midnight, signifying the end of the year. This is followed by the opening of the front door to welcome in the New Year. They really take the phrase out with the old, in with the new, literally.

Spain – Spaniards eat 12 grapes at midnight to secure 12 prosperous months for the coming year. 

Denmark – Throughout the year, the Danes save their old dishes, only to throw them at the houses of their friends on New Year’s Eve. A household that receives an array of broken dishes come January 1, will be a household full of friends and good relationships in the coming year. You really know if you have friends when they help you clean up the mess!

Portugal – Children go door to door singing carols known as Janeiro’s. These old songs are said to bring good luck in the New Year and children are given treats and coins in return.

Finland and Russia – The Finnish and Russian people are accustomed to ringing in the New Year by taking a bath at their favorite sauna. Hmm…not too different than any other day of the year. However, this year, the Russian government is encouraging citizens to enjoy their sauna before they pop open the bubbly. Apparently, drinking and sauna-ing don’t mix.

France – Aside from eating, drinking, and traditional merry making with close friends and family, the French also end the year (actually on January 6) by cutting and enjoying  la galette des rois, a round, sweet puffed pastry cake with a tiny king, queen, or other figurine baked inside. The person who finds this figure, or une feve, is said to have luck throughout the year. Sounds just like the King Cake at Mardi Gras! I wonder if that’s where the French got the idea 😉

See you in 2010!

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