January 1 2023
Pam has written about Scottish New Year traditions a little further along. In the meantime, here are some perhaps lesser-known festivities from around the world.
In Brazil, New Years is the summer season and for those living near the water, it can mean heading to the beach. One is supposed to jump seven waves while making seven wishes. The tradition hearkens back to Yemanja, the goddess of water. And before getting in the water, make sure you are clothed all in white, which symbolizes purity.
If you’re in Spain, start off the New Year by eating 12 grapes, each symbolizing the strike of each hour on the clock. It began in the late 19th century, believed to ward off evil while boosting your chance at a prosperous and lucky new year. There’s a catch though. You must eat all those grapes in a matter of seconds – they need to be gone by the time the clock finishes striking midnight.
Moving further south to India, you’d make an effigy of an ‘old man’ to represent the old year, and then burn it – at midnight of course. A good way to symbolize the passing of grievances from the old year, to make space for the birth of a new year.
In Japan, people start the new year by eating a warm bowl of soba noodles. This tradition dates back to the Kamakura period, and is tied to a Buddhist temple handing out the noodles to the poor. The long thin noodles, which are firm yet easy to bite, symbolizes a literal break away from the old year.
These are just a sample, but its amazing to learn how much food plays a part in closing out the old and welcoming in the new. Norway and Denmark have towering cakes, the Irish bang loaves of bread against walls and doors. Three potatoes are needed in Colombia, but in Greece it's an onion. Then there are Mexican tamales, and fruits in the Philippines, while in Haiti it’s sharing soup.
These customs focused on food seem to also symbolize that worldwide, we are more alike than different. Something to keep in mind as we move into another year. Too much of this world has grown unkind and just plain old mean. Let’s remember food, the symbolism behind respectful breaking of bread together and the reminder that without food, there would be nothing left to celebrate.
Word of the Day - Blether
Origin - Scottish
Mother Nature derailed plans to have our Genre5 Writer Group Christmas get together just before Christmas. Freezing rain, and snow had us err on the side of caution and reschedule for January 4.
Jamie Tremain wishes one and all only the best of health, happiness and kindness for 2023. Oh, and yes - please keep reading those books!
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