4 weird New Year’s rituals from around the world

 

1. Wearing coloured underwear

szilveszteri-babonak-olaszorszagIn many Latin American countries wearing coloured underwear will determine the sort of fortune you will have in a particular year. Red underwear is worn for love and passion on New Year’s Eve, yellow underwear for prosperity and happiness, green for wealth and well-being and white for hope and peace. So make your choice wisely.

2. Bleigießen

11356061In Germany New Year’s Eve is called Silvester, to honour Pope Sylvester I who died on December 31, 335. In this vaguely metal-themed vein, Bleigießen takes place. On Silvester, the ancient custom of melting lead also determines how the New Year will literally shape up for you. A small piece of lead is melted on a spoon over a candle and dropped into a bowl of cold water. The often odd shapes that form will indicate if your year will be a winner or a doozy. In English, Molybdomancy is defined as a technique of divination using molten metal.

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3. Ringing bells

maxresdefaultJoya no Kane as it is called in Japan is a Buddhist tradition, whereby for about 2 hours surrounding midnight, bells are struck 108 times. The number 108 is also significant because according to ancient tradition it is believed that human beings are plagued by 108 types of earthly desires and feelings called “Bonnou,” exemplified by anger, adherence and jealousy. Each strike of the bell will remove one troubling “Bonnou” from you.

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4. Times Square Ball

c_4_foto_1030243_imageNaturally one of the most anticipated rituals of the New Year has to be the ball drop that takes place at New York’s Times Square. The event is an all-out extravaganza with performances and parties held at different locations in the United States leading up to the ball drop. What’s interesting is that the ball drop has its roots in Great Britain where, as Daily Mail reports ‘Time Balls’ were first used in England in the 19th century to help ship captains set their clocks while at sea. A ban on fireworks in New York 1907 meant that the New Year had to be rung in in other ways. New York Times owner, Adolph Ochs commissioned a shiny giant iron ball to be lowered from the flagpole of the Times Tower at midnight.

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