Happy aka New Year´s Eve Trail at Stephansplatz,

Happy New Year!

There is no better window into another culture than to watch how it rings in the New Year. More people celebrate the New Year around the world than any other holiday. But that doesn’t mean that we all celebrate it in the same way! Though kissing, fireworks and champagne to ring in the New Year have all become commonplace, deeper cultural traditions vary vastly. There are so many traditions and ways to celebrate NEW YEAR.

I know many of us can’t wait to bid 2017 good riddance. So get ready, because the big day is coming!

Vienna: Let us start with my city: Vienna. Here people stroll down the Silvesterfad aka New Year´s Eve Trail at Stephansplatz, which is in the first district and the oldest part of Vienna, during New Year’s Eve celebration.

Now we come to Spain. One of the most know traditions in Spain is to eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year´s Eve – one each time the clock chimes. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on extra good luck! Another tradition is to wear red underwear and I have no idea why.

Our 3rd stop is England. For good fortune in the newly arrived year, Brits believe the first guest to enter through the front door should be a young, dark-headed male bearing gifts such as bread (to be full), salt (to be wealthy) and coal (to stay warm).

Now a big jump to Japan: As Japan has a significant number of Buddhists, their tradition of ringing 108 bells during New Year’s Eve. The belief is that it brings cleanness. In addition, smiling while going through the first hours of the new year is also thought to bring good luck, so do not be alarmed if the whole of Japan is ringing bells and smiling while the clocks hit midnight on Dec. 31.

In Stonehaven, Scotland, it is a custom to parade through the streets on New Year’s Eve while swinging blazing balls of fire around. Not for the faint hearted. The tradition is part of Scotland´snHogmanay celebrations, although its roots back to the Vikings.