At midnight on
31st December bells will ring out around the world to welcome the New Year.
Although certain countries and religions calculate time by other calendars most
countries in the world now number their years according to the Gregorian
calendar introduced in the 16th century by Pope Gregory XIII. This calendar was
intended to overcome the confusion caused by calculating time according to the
is one way of celebrating the arrival of a new year which is common to all
countries welcoming it at this time; but it is the differences in their
celebrations and customs which are intriguing.
traditions vary considerably, but most of them involve a meal or special food.
Swiss housewives bake special bread, rich in butter, eggs and raisins. They
also cook roast goose. Children go from house to house greeting the occupants
and receiving invitations to come inside. People in Italy hold all-night
parties, where salt pork lentils are included on the menu. Lentils are supposed
to be lucky and bring money - perhaps because they look like small piles of
gold coins. There is a practical reason for meals featuring in these new year
festivities. Most people stay up all night, or at least until midnight to
"see the New Year in", so sustenance is essential. Also there is
common superstition that if the new year begins well it will continue like
efforts are made to provide an atmosphere of goodwill and plenty. Parties are
arranged a drink flow freely. In Spain it is a custom to eat , ^ grapes at
midnight and toast the new year in champagne. at family gatherings. Groups of
friends visit restaurants in Turkey intending to spend the night in
celebrations which include present giving. So a people in Greece play cards,
hoping that a win will bring them luck for a whole year.
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