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10 Bizarre Ways of Celebrating the New Year Around the World

10 Bizarre Ways of Celebrating the New Year Around the World

One country’s traditions are another country’s peculiarities. What might seem perfectly normal to you as a means to celebrate the New Year could be an oddity just one pond over. Carrying around an empty suitcase, an entire nation wearing red underwear, earning broken plates at your front door for being a good friend, these are just a few different ways to celebrate.

Let’s take a look at ten bizarre and distinct ways of celebrating the new year across the globe.

1. Greece: Pomegranates and Good Luck

As the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve in Greece, tradition holds that the first person to walk through someone’s house should be one who bears good luck. They are referred to as the “Pothariko”, meaning “the first foot”. This esteemed individual should have a positive spirit and be lucky. They are a blessing to the house for the New Year. Often, children are chosen to play this role because of their innocence. It is imperative that the right foot be the first to cross through the threshold. Finally, a pomegranate is smashed to the floor while the “Pothariko” wishes for joy and good health for the residents.

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    2. Spain: The Grape Divide

    In an effort to court prosperity and ward off evil for the New Year, Spaniards have an interesting tradition of eating twelve grapes of luck within the first minute of the New Year. A bell tolls every five seconds for this celebratory first minute. Each of the twelve grapes is to be chewed up and swallowed individually before the next ring.

    3. Mexico: An Empty Suitcase Equals New Adventures

    Should you happen to be in Tijuana for New Year’s Eve, don’t be alarmed if you see Mexicans walking the streets with suitcases that don’t seem to weigh their shoulders down. They are empty. It is a New Year tradition to bring travel and adventure in the coming year. Find yourself an empty suitcase and let fate guide you.

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      4. Germany: “Dinner for One”

      This is a curious one. The eleven-minute-long English comedy sketch “Dinner for One” , produced in 1963, is touted as one of the most globally viewed television programs ever, even though it has little to no cult following in America or the United Kingdom. It is Germany’s tradition to air this sketch every New Year’s Eve, wherever a television can be found. The sketch depicts a ninety-year-old Miss Sophie throwing a birthday party for herself, setting her table for dead friends, as her butler, James, plays the part of all of them. The plot briefly thickens and all of Germany laughs their way into the New Year.

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      5. Italy: Red Underwear

      For Italians, the color red is believed to bring good fortune, summoning the protection of Archangel Michael. Come New Year’s Eve, Italians men and women will all be wearing red underwear for prosperity. I suppose what is fun about this tradition is the fact that someone wearing red underwear more than likely wants someone else to know they are wearing red underwear…

      6. Panama: Effigies of Public Figures Burn

      For Panama, New Year’s Eve is a time to take inventory of the performance of elected officials, celebrities, and other public figures. Based on these personal assessments, front lawns across the country have effigies to burn in the hopes that the New Year will bring less news of whomever it is they choose to construct a full-scale representation of to set ablaze.

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        7. Estonia: Eat Twelve Meals in One Day

        Estonians believe every meal they eat on New Year’s Eve is the equivalent of one man’s strength for the upcoming year. While seven meals is the common minimum, many men aim for twelve meals in hopes of gaining the strength of twelve men for the following twelve months.

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        8. Serbia: Christmas on New Year’s Eve

        Serbia celebrates New Year’s Eve with Spruce trees and gifts, much like Christmas. Actually, what is New Year’s Eve to many is their Christmas Eve. Their version of Santa Claus, Deda Mraz,visits that night and leaves gifts for all. Following the Julian calendar, they celebrate the New Year on January 13.

        9. Finland: Molten Tin Predictions

        At midnight of New Year’s Eve, the people of Finland find a random piece of tin and melt it in a horseshoe-shaped ladle. The liquid tin is then dropped in cold water left to form a shape in order to interpret the future of each person’s New Year. For example, a ring shape signifies a wedding, a form similar to a ship indicates travel, and animal shapes each possess various fortune telling attributes.

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          10. Denmark: Broken Dishes

          The people of Denmark have a tradition of throwing plates at other people’s front doors on New Year’s Eve. A broken plate represents good fortune for the coming year. Breaking the plate is a gesture from one friend to the other to indicate they have a loyal friendship. The more broken plates to clean up on January 1st, the better fortune for the New Year.

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          Featured photo credit: New Year’s Fireworks via emmastrend.com

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          Last Updated on December 9, 2019

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

          Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

          Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

          1. Get Rationally Optimistic

          Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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          This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

          In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

          The result: no more mental stress.

          2. Unplug

          Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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          How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

          It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

          Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

          3. Easy on the Caffeine

          Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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          Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

          4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

          That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

          How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

          • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
          • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
          • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

          While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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          5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

          This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

          The result: mental stress will be gone!

          So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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          Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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