Will you be throwing out your old fridge on NYE?

Published: Friday 29th December 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Ever wondered how other cultures celebrate the New Year?

The earliest record found of people celebrating this event is from over four millennia ago. Ancient Babylonians would feast during the first new moon following the vernal equinox, which is a day in late March when there is an equal amount of darkness and sunlight. The festival was known as Akitu and would last 11 days, with different rituals carried out on each.

No one celebrated the arrival of 1st January until the early Roman calendar was devised. Incredibly, the year only lasted ten months back then. Imagine that!

However, centuries later, they eventually realised that this way of organising time quickly fell out of sync with the sun. So in 46 BC, Julius Caesar attempted to solve the problem by working with astronomers and mathematicians to come up with the Julian calendar. It was much closer to the Gregorian calendar we use today.

This twelve-month timeframe didn’t come into play until the 1500s, when Pope Gregory XII commissioned an astronomer to come up with a calendar that would correctly follow the solar year. After this, people all over the world gathered together to celebrate the arrival of the first of January.

Nowadays, we celebrate the new year in a number of weird and wonderful ways.

In Spain, for example, people will eat twelve grapes at midnight. With each chime of the clock, you must eat one grape to ensure twelve months of happiness. The custom originated in the thirteenth century when there was a huge grape harvest. The king gifted the surplus fruit to the people to consume on New Year’s Eve. It is believed whoever finishes the twelve grapes before the chimes will be rewarded with luck and happiness.

A more risky practice is observed in Italy. The tossing of old possessions out of your window is thought to symbolise your readiness to accept to new year and all that comes with it. So be careful if you plan to wander around Naples after the clock strikes midnight.

The people of Denmark also used to enjoy a similar activity, smashing dishes to welcome in the new year. The idea was that the more broken plates you had outside of your door on New Year’s Day, the more luck you would have.

A more peaceful throwing of white flowers is carried out in Brazil. Offering the blooms to the Goddess of the Sea, Yemanja is believed to ensure that wishes for the new year are granted. Quite often, people will present items such as perfume, jewellery, combs and lipstick in small wooden boats to appease the deity.

Whatever you get up to this New Year, we hope you have a cracking time!

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Published: Friday 29th December 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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