Sparked by a radio listener emailing the radio teatime show, this gave me the idea of looking at New Year’s Eve traditions.
The majority of us will be familiar with ‘First footing’ in Scotland – arriving at the hosts’s house with a lump of coal and a bottle of whisky, maybe also a coin and some salt.
How about Brazil, where they dress in white and have to jump seven waves?
Or Sicily where they eat lentils – which are supposed to resemble coins and guarantee prosperity in the coming year – or Norther Italy where rice is eaten for the same reason.
In Japan the bells are rung 108 times where each strike will remove 1 of the 108 earthly desires.
I haven’t checked this out from Steve G (who, by the way, wishes a happy 2024 to all our members) but in the Philippines, round items are important – 12 round fruits, 12 coins on the table and wearing polka dots … Steve??
Spaniards eat one grape on each strike of the clock and you need to make a wish whilst eating each grape.
In Ireland, they hit the wall with bread to knock all the evil spirits out of the house.
In Romania, they dress up as bears – sounds like fun and has memories of the 70’s/80’s when New Year’s Eve fancy dress parties were all the rage.
In Scandinavian countries, people jump off the furniture into the new year.
In Germany and Sweden (to be confirmed with daughter-in-law to be), they always watch the 1969 slapstick sketch of Dinner for One – The Countess & The Butler (available on YouTube) before a poetry reading, a choir singing and fireworks.
My first taste of an English New Year was being allowed to stay up and go outside where you would greet all your neighbours and see the new year in. Naively, I was expecting some visual scene and was very disappointed when everything looked the same 5 mins before midnight as 5 minutes afterwards but I did enjoy watching Kenneth McKellar on the television. I’m sure Jools Hollands’ Hootenanny didn’t take over straight away – he probably wasn’t born when KMcK was doing his thing!
In more recent years, fireworks seem to be the Order of the Day for every occasion from Guy Fawkes to Diwali to Weddings, Birthdays as well as New Year’s Eve.
So, whether you’re dancing in front of the tv; up in the midst London action; or safely tucked up in bed, we wish you all a very happy and healthy 2024 and hope you will join us in raising a glass to those who have left us and those who we have yet to meet as well as our family and friends.
Once you’ve danced to the New Year’s Day waltzes, polkas and marches from Vienna, the festive celebrations will have passed and we will see you on the green soon. Don’t forget the club comps. 10th January deadline is only 10 days away!