Miscellany and detritus, from the writer of Is This Mutton?com

Search this blog

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New Year traditions: from red knickers to dancing bears

The UK New Year celebration generally involves large quantities of alcohol, the ritual of Big Ben and fireworks at midnight and drunken renditions of Auld Lang Syne. In Scotland they like to party like it's 1999 and get an extra day's bank holiday on Jan 2 to recover.

Some of our EMEA chums have far more interesting traditions.

In Romania people put on bear costumes and furs and dance at different houses to keep evil at bay.

In Turkey they like to wear red underneath their New Year's party outfit. Stalls selling red lingerie appear over the festive period and sell out fast.
Image: Daily Telegraph

In Germany December 31st is the feast day of Saint Silvester and New Year's Eve is named after him. The Germans like to party and the big event at Brandenburger Tor in Berlin is famous worldwide.

For Silvester, lentil (or split pea) soup with wieners is very popular. People also share meat and cheese fondue with family and friends as the New Year feast. If the Germans are craving some TV, they might watch, for the umpteenth time, "Dinner for One."  This British curiosity about an elderly lady living alone, whose butler pretends to be different guests and gets progressively more drunk, is hugely popular. Yet hardly anyone in the UK has ever seen it.

Image: United Archives GmBH/Alamy 
Meanwhile in France, New Year's Eve is known as la Saint-Sylvestre. On this day they host a special New Year feast called le Réveillon de Saint-Sylvestre which consists of customary dishes like pancakes, foie gras and Champagne. On New Year's Day, day cruises have become popular. Paris has a fantastic two-day festival with thousands of performers,  singers, dancers and entertainers, marching through the streets.

Finally to Scandinavia. In Sweden, after Christmas spent with family, Swedes like to spend New Year's Eve - Gott Nytt Ar - with friends. After a lavish dinner everyone gathers to watch a live television broadcast from the Skansen Open-air museum in Stockholm, where the bells chime and a New Year verse is read to the nation: a Swedish translation of “Ring out wild bells” by the English poet Tennyson.

Blog Design Created by pipdig