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Jump to:-   Western New Year Traditions  |  New Year Around the World




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Celebrating the new year is probably the oldest of all festivities dating back to around 4000 ago in Babylon,  although it has only been celebrated on 1st January for about 400 years in the West. Prior to that  it was celebrated much later in the year, at the beginning of Spring, to herald new birth and a new season (agriculturally speaking). Even when the Roman Senate declared that January 1st be the start of the New Year back in 153BC, the Catholic Church condemned the festivities as pagan right up to the Middle Ages.


Western New Year Traditions

The tradition of making new year resolutions also dates back to the early Babylonians. How times change; whilst modern resolutions may include the promise to stop swearing or give up smoking, the early Babylonian's most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment!


In many countries, traditional New Year's foods are 'einf' shaped or round. This symbolises the end of the one year with the seamless beginning of the next.


The song, "Auld Lang Syne," is traditionally sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world and is reputed to have been partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700's. "Auld Lang Syne" literally means "old long ago" other words "the good old days." You can find the  traditional words to Auld Lang Syne here.


New Year around the world

Different cultures celebrate the New Year at other times of the year, but the sentiment is still pretty much the same the world over. Below are some examples of recipes traditionally served at the new year in various countries and how to say Happy New Year in that language.


Chinese:  "Chu Shen Tan"

The Chinese New Years falls on varying dates usually during January or February.  For Chinese New Year, it is a tradition for families to come together on New Year's Eve and make jiaozi (Chinese dumplings) for the next day's feast. The dumplings are said to resemble old Chinese money and are served to bring wealth and good luck in the new year.

Chinese New Year Recipe:   Jiaozi     HT HD Chinese 45mins plus chilling


Dutch:  "Gullukkig Niuw Jaar"

Oliebollen are donuts traditionally eaten at New Year in Holland. Because the Dutch  believe you should eat the old year out and the new year in, a family new years eve is often spent drinking  mulled wine and nibbling on these delicious donuts whilst playing games.

Dutch New Year Recipe:    Oliebollen      HT   CD   CBF   Dutch   35mins plus standing


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Hebrew:    "L'Shannah Tovah Tikatevu"

Rosh Hashanah, which literally means "the head of the year" , commemorates the anniversary of the creation of the world. It is celebrated on the first and second days of the seventh Hebrew month, which, depending on the solar calendar, occurs in September or October.

Jewish New Year Recipe:   Raisin Challah     Veg   CD   CBF   Jewish   85mins plus proving


Italian: "Buon Capodanno"

Lentils are traditionally eaten on New Year's Day in Italy.  Their round shape being reminiscent of coins,  are  as a symbol of good luck and prosperity in the new year.

Italian New Year Recipe:    Lenticchie Stufate di Capodanno    Veg   HT  ACC  Italian  45mins plus soaking


Scottish Gaelic: "bliadhna mhath ur"

For the first half of the twentieth century, most of the protestant Scots worked over Christmas (believing Christmas to be a popish celebration) so New Year was the first opportunity for them to party. Celebrate Hogmanay the Scottish way with this traditional warming drink.

Scottish New Year Recipe:      Het Pint       HT   PFC   Scottish   15mins



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