Wednesday Wonders – New Year’s Food & Fireworks

Happy New Year to all of you! This post for my Wonder Lesch blog will be exploring New Year’s celebrations and traditions around the world.

A bit of history first, then the fireworks. Have you ever wondered where some of the celebrated New Year’s traditions come from? Did you know the day of the New Year was once observed on the date of the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox? This solar pattern meant that New Year’s day was celebrated sometime in March. Thousands of year later, Romulus, the founder of Rome, created the Roman calendar which consisted of 10 months and 304 days, but the New Year continued to be tied to the Vernal Equinox. After time the monthly calendar system created by Romulus and adjusted by King Pompilius (who added the months of January and February to the Roman calendar) was no longer in sync with the sun and moon. Julius Caesar, with the help of mathematicians and astronomers, created the Julian calendar and named January 1st as New Year’s day. Janus was the god of new beginnings and a fitting start to each New Year.

Statue of Emperor Julius Caesar, Rome, Italy

Throughout the world many New Year’s celebrations of food and fireworks begin on the evening of December 31st and continue through January 1st.

Buckwheat soba noodle soup with roasted tofu and mushrooms.

In Japan, families will eat toshikoshi or buckwheat soba noodles at midnight on New Year’s Eve to say goodbye to the year past and hello to the year coming. The noodles symbolize longevity and prosperity.

Grapes equal wishes

In Spain and Mexico, a tradition is to eat grapes. At the stroke of midnight they eat one grape per chime of the clock bell. 12 chimes equals 12 wishes, which equals a very Happy New Year.

Pickled herring with onions

In Poland and parts of Scandinavia people eat pickled herring at the stroke of midnight to bring a year of prosperity including increased trade and friendships. The silver lining of the fish is thought to bring abundance to the person eating the fish.

Berliner pancake from Germany, sweet pantries with sugar coating and jam filling.

In Germany after the firework show Germans like to eat “Pfannkuchens”, a traditional donut treat filled with jam, and sometime liquor. Outside of Berlin, Germany these tasty treats are known as “Berliners”. A great way to begin the New Year, sweet treats for a sweet year.

Pomegranate seeds equal good luck

In Greece, a pomegranate is hung above the front door for the 12 days of Chrsitmas to symbolize fertility and good luck. On New Year’s Eve the members of the house gather outside and the pomegranate is thrown against the front door of the house. The more seeds that are on the ground the luckier the New Year will be.

North American Southern States Traditional New Years Day meal, Slices Spiral-cut smoked Ham, Cooked Black-eyed Peas over Collard Greens, with Cuts of Corn Bread

An American food tradition for New Year’s Day is eating black-eyed peas (representing coins), collard greens (representing money) and cornbread (representing gold). The dish is said to bring good luck in the New Year to all that eat it.

Now the fireworks from around the world! Do you have a place where you watch the festivities? Here are several places that are renowned for their firework displays.

Sydney Harbor, Sydney, Australia
Fireworks at Wat Arun Temple in Bangkok, Thailand
Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE
Tower Bridge, London, United Kingdom
Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
New York City, USA

So many yummy things to eat and amazing sites to see. What is your New Year’s Eve/Day tradition? Share them with me in the comments. I learned a lot putting this post together, and I love learning. Below are a couple items to help keep the learning going.

May your New Year be full of friends, family and fun. Until next time, take care WonderLesch.

Most New Years superstitions, traditions, and customs come from the strong belief that whatever is done on the first day of the year will set the pattern for the coming year. Learn new traditions and customs from around the world.

A unique cookbook featuring recipes from 80 different countries. Explore the world from the comfort of your own kitchen!

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