New Year celebrations around the world. Part III

New Year celebrations around the world. Part III

The Scottish New Year is known as Hogmanay and both New Year's Eve and New Year's Day were also known as Daft Days.

In 1582, the Gregorian calendar reform restored January 1 as New Year's day. Although most Catholic countries adopted the Gregorian calendar almost immediately, it was only gradually adopted among Protestant countries. The British, for example, did not adopt the reformed calendar until 1752. Until then, the British Empire —and their American colonies— still celebrated the New Year in March.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Scotland. The Scottish New Year is known as Hogmanay and both New Year's Eve and New Year's Day were also known as Daft Days. The first Monday in January is a holiday and is referred to as Handsel Monday. In Scotland New Year's Eve is called Hogomanay or Night of the Candle. Foods such as three cornered biscuits called Hogmanays are eaten. Other foods that are special at this time of year are wine, cordials, cheese, bread, shortbread, oatcake, currant loaf and scones. After sunset people are known to collect juniper and water to purify the home. The Scots prepare for the New Year by cleaning their houses. This was believed to have been a purification ritual. They would perform a ritual of burning juniper branches which they carried throughout the house so as to remove any lurking germs and diseases. The food they would eat at New Year was Haggis, shortbread, scones, oatmeal cakes, cheese, whisky and wine as well as traditional New Year black buns.

Netherlands. In the Netherlands people burn Christmas trees on street bonfires and let off fireworks to ring in the New Year and as a way of driving out the spirits of the old year.

South Africa. In South Africa people ring in the New Year with church bells ringing and gunshots being fired. For those in the Cape Province New Year's Day and Second New Year's Day are full of a carnival atmosphere as there are carnivals where people dress in colorful costumes and dance in streets to the sound of drums.

Switzerland. In Switzerland people celebrate Old Sylvester's Day on Jan 13 according to the Julian calendar. People go through the streets dressed in costumes and hats representing good and evil spirits. They believe good luck comes from letting a drop of cream land on the floor New Year’s Day. This was said to bring a year of overflowing abundance.

Vietnam. The more popular name for the Vietnamese New Year is Tet, where as the formal name is Nguyen-dan. Tet is a very important festival because it provides one of the few breaks in the agricultural year, as it falls between the harvesting of the crops and the sowing of the new crops. The Vietnamese prepare well in advance for the New Year by cleaning their houses, polishing their copper and silverware and paying off all their debts. They observe the custom of the kitchen god tao for a week before the New Year, they believe there are three gods represented by the three legs of the cooking equipment used in the kitchen. The middle god is a woman the other two are her husbands. It was once customary to provide the gods with a carp on which to travel. The carp represents the second last stage in the process by which animals are gradually transformed into dragons. They buy the carp from the market, bring it home and place it in a bucket of water to place at the altar of the house before it is later set free. A special rice pudding is eaten at New Year which must be prepared beforehand. The rice pudding is known as banh Chung or banh Tet. The pudding contains mung beans and pork. New Year foods such as preserved sweets, beef, chicken, fish, oranges, coconuts, grapefruits and other seasonal fruits, especially watermelon. Watermelon is considered lucky because the flesh is red, so the choice of the melon must be taken carefully so as to find one rich in color. The seeds are often dyed red also and served as delicacies. The last day of the year a plant such as the bamboo tree is planted in the courtyard of their homes. They decorate the tree with bells, flowers, and red streamers. The decorations are not for decorative purposes but are to guard the family against evil spirits.

How New Year is said around the world

Irish (Gaelic): Bliain nua fe mhaise dhuit

Italian: Buon Capodanno

Khmer: Sua Sdei tfnam tmei

Laotian: Sabai dee pee mai

Polish: Szczesliwego Nowego Roku

Portuguese: Feliz Ano Novo

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