Whenever I traveled, one of the things that really stood out for me was the food! France with its' meats and amazing sauces...Italy with its' pastas...the United States with its' southern deliciousness! Oh how I miss it! Food is such a big part of our culture and lives. It is also part of the New Year's Eve (and Day) traditions...who knew?! Many countries eat certain foods on New Year's Eve for luck in the coming new year...and we all know how much luck we can use right now after the craziness of 2020! So, here we go! Bon appetit!
¡Feliz Año Nuevo y muchas felicidades!
Tango, steak, gauchos, soccer...and beans! On New Year’s Day, Argentinians eat beans. Well, they believe that eating beans will help them keep their current job or find a better job in the new year.
AUSTRIA & GERMANY
Frohes neues Jahr!
Apparently, for Germans and Austrians, pigs are good luck charms. They decorate their dinner tables with marzipan pigs (almond paste and sugar shaped into hogs), and of course, eat them for dessert. Those sound good! Pigs are a symbol of progress and prosperity.
To drink, they sip on a red wine punch, mixed with cinnamon, sugar, and other spices. They give a toast Saint Sylvester and watch Dinner For One, a black and white English sketch. They do this every year. :) Traditions!
DENMARK & NORWAY
Hav et godt nytår!
Of course it's dessert! You have to greet the new year with sweetness. :) The Danes and Norwegians have a dessert called kransekage, which is a tall, cone-shaped cake with many rings layered on top of one another. Also, don't forget to throw dishes on your neighbor's doorstep to guarantee many friends in the new year! Well, if you prefer to save your plates for food, many Danes also jump off chairs to ensure good luck for the next year. :) Your choice!
When I learned what the French eat on New Year's Eve, it did not surprise me - goose or turkey, oysters, foie gras, and champagne. Never forget to treat yourself like an aristocrat, especially to greet the New Year! I sure don't mind! :)
Yoi otoshi wo!
Japanese are all about living a long and resilient life. As a symbol of such, just before midnight, they have a bowl of toshikoshi soba, which are buckwheat noodles (also known as "year crossing" or "year end" noodles). Other traditional foods eaten on New Year's include kuromame (sweet black beans), kazunoko (herring roe), kobumaki (rolled kelp), rice cakes, and shrimp. I always wanted to travel to Japan and try their cuisine...one day. :)
Happy New Year!
I loved the various dishes when I traveled through the South, not to mention the incredible southern hospitality! And it doesn't change on New Year’s Day, when eating a meal called Hoppin' John is a must. It is dish of black-eyed peas, ham hock and rice (sometimes with collard greens, too). It's supposed to bring wealth and good luck in the year to come.
¡Feliz año nuevo!
Well, Spaniards know how to party, but they keep it interesting for New Year's. Right before the clock strikes midnight, the Spaniards take a break from the celebration and start eating 12 grapes. Yes, specifically 12 for each stroke of midnight. If you finish eating the 12 grapes before the final bell toll, you will have good luck for the next 12 months. :) This has been their tradition since the 1800s and spread to other Spanish-speaking countries. Maybe I should try it out too. :)
And something else I learned about New Year's traditions in other Spanish-speaking countries, like Columbia, though not food-related...they take out their empty suitcases and run around with them in the streets. This is supposed to bring more travels in the new year. Sign me up! Suitcases - check!
RUSSIA (and former USSR republics)
S novym godom!
Well, this is near and dear to my heart! :) Since I was a kid, New Year's Eve brought on so much excitement. Santa Clause, or as we call him Ded Moroz, brought presents on New Year's Day. We prepared for this family celebration in advance with the Christmas tree, presents, and food! Oh the dishes that covered a Russian New Year's dinner table! The highlights and staples are olivye (a take on a potato salad); seledka pod shuboi (herring under layers of veggies and mayo - direct translation: "herring under a winter coat"); cold cuts with cheeses, deli meats and smoked fish; caviar (red or black, depending on your budget); kholodets (a sort of meat jelly) and various other dishes depending on the USSR country in which one resided. For example, since my husband grew up in Georgia, we also have Georgian dishes for New Year's, such as satsivi (chicken in a walnut sauce) and pkhali (grinded spinach and walnuts).
Oh, and in addition to food, it is a Russian tradition to watch certain Soviet movies, such as "Ironiya sudby ili s legkim parom" (The Irony of Fate) and "Karnavalnaya noch" (Carnival Night) on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Let's not forget about various concerts where contemporary singers sing all the songs from the Soviet times. :)
It was, and still is, a big affair! Speaking of which, got to get back to putting the final touches on the New Year's feast! Let's give 2021 with a big welcome!