New Year’s Eve: History and Traditions
New Year is the favorite holiday of most adults and children, because at night from December 31 to January 1 (and in most countries the beginning of the year falls on these numbers) the most real miracles happen!
With impatience, excitement and joy people are waiting for the solemn night. Preparations for the holiday begins in advance, and by the end of December streets of cities are full of sparkling lights, and in every house there is a decorated Christmas tree.
The holiday spirit reigns everywhere: in houses, stores and restaurants.
The pleasant bustle of the New Year reaches everyone without exception. People go shopping for gifts for their friends and relatives, choosing the most beautiful outfits and thinking about the menu for the holiday table.
We will tell you more about the holiday and what we need to do to create the fabulous atmosphere for the New Year.
The history of the holiday
The history of the celebration of the New Year goes back to Mesopotamia, where the tradition of celebrating the spring awakening of nature began, and it was first celebrated in March. Even then, the fun lasted more than a week. No one worked during those days, people went to festivities and merry masquerades.
Later, the custom of celebrating the New Year adopted by the Greeks, then the Egyptians and the Romans.
In Russia, the New Year hasn’t always been celebrated on the night of December 31 to January 1.
On what date did it fall on the pagans, before the baptism of Russia, is still unknown, but the fact is that the celebration of the New Year coincided with the end of winter.
With the advent of the new year, associated with the baptism of Russia, the holiday fixed March 1, later it was moved to September 1.
In 1699, Tsar Peter I issued a decree on the celebration of New Year on January 1. This was done by the example of all European countries, who lived by the Gregorian calendar.
To this day the holiday is celebrated in Russia on January 1.
New Year traditions
Every country has its own New Year’s traditions, but there are several holiday customs that people all over the world observe.
What is the custom for the New Year?
Most people want to celebrate the holiday in a warm, cozy, home-like atmosphere. Raising glasses of bubbling champagne, making wishes in the company of family and friends, sitting at the festive table – these are things valued in all countries of the world!
Creating a festive atmosphere in the house is customary since ancient times. With what only our ancestors decorated their homes! Basically, it was something edible: apples, nuts, potatoes, and even eggs. Much later, there were glass balls, garlands and other familiar elements of decorations. Today the choice of Christmas decorations is so great that it is easy to choose exactly what will make your home unique and fabulous.
No New Year does not do without gifts. It was like this before, people congratulated each other with the end of the old year and the beginning of something absolutely beautiful.
The tradition of giving gifts is certainly one of the most enjoyable!
New Year’s omens
“MIR 24” has made a selection of the most unusual New Year’s omens of different countries:
- In Vietnam, it is believed that the household god on New Year’s Eve goes to heaven on the back of a carp, so people buy a live fish in advance for the holiday to release it into a body of water at night. This way the god who protects the home is provided with transportation for the whole next year.
- The islanders of Cyprus extinguish the lights in their homes at midnight for a while, as they believe that the darkness will bring them good luck in the new year.
- Many Italians throw out their old clothes out of the windows in the middle of the holiday, and they wear only red underwear at that moment!
- The Chinese do not use scissors, knives and other sharp objects on New Year’s Eve, so as not to accidentally “cut off” welfare and good luck, which come into the house with the holiday.
- The French consider the wheel a symbol of a happy new year, so they often present it as a gift to their friends and family.
New Year’s Tree
Decorating a Christmas tree on New Year’s Eve is common in many countries. The symbol of the holiday can serve not only as a spruce, but also any coniferous tree (pine, fir and so on).
The history of this tradition began a long time ago. Since ancient times, people believed in the power of the World Tree, which was a symbol of life.
Almost all peoples worshipped evergreen plants. At first they were dressed up in the woods or near the houses, without cutting them down. Later, people began to put trees in their homes, and so far this tradition has been preserved, but the living plants are increasingly replaced by artificial ones.
It is customary to decorate the Christmas tree with balls, lights, lanterns, garlands, cones, sweets. Many adhere to a certain color scheme, which corresponds to the coming year.
New Year’s Table
The New Year’s table traditionally should be rich, but what dishes to prepare, everyone decides for himself.
“MIR 24” has chosen 5 interesting dishes that decorate
New Year’s tables of people from different countries:
- England, Christmas pudding.
In almost every home in England on the table there is a sweet dessert made of flour, candied fruits, lemon zest, apples, raisins, nuts and spices. The dish is started a month before the celebration! This makes it even more desirable, especially for the younger members of the family.
- USA, Stuffed Turkey
Turkey is very fond of cooking for various holidays in the United States, New Year’s Eve is no exception. The stuffing of the bird can be absolutely anything, each family prepares the dish according to its own recipe.
- Austria and Hungary, strudel
The traditional dessert takes its rightful place on the New Year’s table. It is usually served with ice cream and beautifully decorated with nuts, berries and syrup.
Tender cakes made of rice dough are not only put on the festive table on New Year’s Eve, but are also handed out to friends who come to visit, neighbors and relatives.
The favorite dish of all Germans is sure to be on the table on New Year’s Eve! The knuckle is usually boiled in beer and served with sauerkraut, potatoes and other side dishes.
The kindest fairy tale character that all children look forward to is, of course, Santa Claus.
An old man with a long gray beard, who arrives on a trio of horses late at night, when everyone is already asleep, quietly enters the houses and leaves presents under the Christmas tree.
The history of the appearance of this character goes back to ancient times, when there was still paganism. The almighty god Morozko personified the winter beauty, was a generous giver of frosts and snowstorms. With the adoption of Christianity, Morozko began to be represented as a negative hero, and only in Soviet times did the image of the good grandfather return.
For many years, children have a tradition of writing letters to Santa Claus, who lives with his granddaughter, Snegurochka, in the town of Veliky Ustyug, where he arrives on New Year’s Eve with the gifts that everyone is so excited to see!
New Year movies
Nothing inspires people before the holiday like watching movies filled with the fabulous atmosphere and magic of the New Year.
If you’re still not in the New Year’s Eve mood, clear the evening, brew some aromatic mulled wine or cocoa, grab a warm plaid and choose a movie from our holiday selection. We guarantee that all of them will give you that festive feeling you need for the last days of the year.
World’s favorite New Year’s Eve movies:
- “Home Alone”
- “Miracle on 34th Street.”
- “Merry Christmas.”
- “The Magicians”
- “Exchange Holiday.”
- “The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath”
- “A Christmas Tale.”
- “Christmas Trees”
- “Carnival Night”
- “The Grinch, the Christmas Snatcher”
Not only children, but adults love cartoons. And especially New Year’s Eve cartoons!
What could be better than getting together with the whole family and plunging into a fairy tale world?
We offer you a list of Christmas cartoons that will fill your house with the atmosphere of the approaching holiday!
- “Cold Heart”.
- “The Postman Snowman”
- “Winter in Prostokvashino”
- “Last Year’s Snow Has Fallen”
- “The Nightmare Before Christmas”
- “The Nutcracker.”
- “Madagascar Penguins on a Christmas Adventure”
- “A Christmas Story.”
New Year’s Eve Songs
New Year’s Eve is a noisy and fun holiday! Of course, it doesn’t go by without songs, many of which are so firmly embedded in our lives that it’s hard to imagine this magical celebration without them.
Here are a few New Year’s Eve songs that must be sung on the night of December 31 to January 1 in every home: