New Year’s traditions vary greatly from place to place but one thing that is consistent is the idea that the New Year is a time to spend time with your loved ones and work on your flaws to become a better person. So many live in their own little bubble and the beginning of a new year is the perfect opportunity to try to immerse yourself in other cultures and become a more well rounded, informed person. A great way to start to accomplish this is learning about other New Year’s traditions around the world to broaden your horizons on how New Year’s eves can differ depending on where you live.

So many live in their own little bubble and the beginning of a new year is the perfect opportunity to try to immerse yourself in other cultures and become a more well rounded, informed person.

To start off, let’s talk about China and their New Year’s traditions. The Chinese New Year is an occasion that is always looked forward to. This year it will take place on February 16, 2018, and, unlike the Western New Year’s eve most of us celebrate, it doesn’t occur on the same day annually. In China, the holiday formed because of the fear that came along with the myth of a beast that would kill villagers at the end of every year, and it could only be stopped by scaring it away with loud noises and bright lights. This has evolved into a 15-day celebration of festivities to ward off the evil and rejoice over the success of the previous year. Now in China, it is common to watch firework displays, see lit lanterns up and down the streets, and receive money in red envelopes for good fortune in the New Year. These are all things that have symbolism to ensure a bountiful and healthy upcoming 12 months and are what truly make China’s New Year’s traditions so unique.

Romania also has New Year’s traditions that value the importance of supporting your community and helping those you care about. On the morning of New Year’s eve, it is likely to see children walking from house to house reciting lyrics that will bring good health to those listening and their crops. Later in the evening, groups of adults wear costumes and perform musical acts. It is a time for neighbors to bond and meet new people to get to know in the New Year. The most extravagant of the Romanian New Year’s traditions may be the mask dances that represent stories of death and rebirth, bringing only the best qualities into the future. They can vary from village to village but they always include characters that play out a storyline with an important moral. These traditions may seem like only fun and games to children, but they are actually learning life lessons that will stay with them for so long and show how the New Year’s traditions in Romania have real significance.

On New Year’s in Finland, you can find plenty of parties if you wish to, but there are special traditions that are still intact and upheld. Wherever you go, it is a time that is meant to be spent with friends and family, so it is likely that if you’re going somewhere from a bar to a gala, it is going to be with those closest to you. One of the most popular activities is the casting of tin. This is when everyone gets a piece of tin in the shape of a horseshoe (a symbol of good luck), melts it, and then pours it into cold water. The metal quickly hardens into various shapes and then is studied to see what the year has in store for you. There are other games that you can play to predict your future and it is an exciting family event that many take part in. Most Finish New Year’s traditions involve thinking about setting good intentions for you and your family and sets an example as to what New Year’s is really all about.

As you can see from just looking at three countries and their New Year’s traditions, what you think of as normal could be quite different from what is typical in other places in the world. Noticing the similarities and differences of culture between countries or even parts of a city can help you deepen your connection to others around you and may even make you a more compassionate person. So, as you walk into 2018 with a fresh new outlook on life, I hope you remember this article and the reminder that everything, everyone, and everywhere has a story that can make you a wiser, more well-rounded person.

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