New Year all over


 A new year can be a chance to discuss some very old customs with your students.  With that in mind we’ve come up with a round up of New Year’s traditions from around the world for you to put your students’ cultural knowledge to the test.  This exercise would work particularly well with a mixed nationality class.  Ask them at the end whether they know of any others to add to the list; can their classmates guess what country the tradition is from?  What do they make of such traditions; are they harmless fun or superstitious nonsence?

1 Australia A When the clock strikes midnight they eat 12 grapes, one with every toll to bring good luck for the next 12 months of the New Year. Tradition says that wearing new, red underwear on New Year’s Eve brings good luck.
2 Brazil B Throw old things that you don’t want anymore out of windows especially breakables. Particularly in the south there are lots of firecrackers and fireworks.
3 Scottish C They ring in the New Year with church bells ringing and gunshots being fired.
4 Mexico D One tradition is to run across the street with luggage to ask for new trips and adventures in the upcoming year.
5 Costa Rica E Families decorate homes and parties during New Year’s with colours such as red, to encourage an overall improvement of lifestyle and love, yellow to encourage blessings of improved employment conditions, green to improve financial circumstances and white to improved health.
6 Spain F Some believe that people should eat seven, nine or even 12 times on New Year’s Eve, those being three lucky numbers in this country, and for each meal consumed the person gains the strength of that many men the following year. Meals should not be eaten entirely; some should be left for ancestors and spirits who visit the house on New Year’s Eve.
7 Estonia G They celebrate the New Year on January 1. This day is a public holiday and many people have picnics and camp out on the beach. It’s also a day for outdoor activities such as rodeos, picnic races and surf.
8 Italy H A New Year’s custom involves telling fortunes by the shapes made by molten lead dropped into cold water. Other luck bringing things are touching a chimney sweeper or have him rub some ash onto your forehead for good luck and health. A tiny marzipan pig is consumed for more good luck.
9 Germany I Here the lentil is believed to signify wealth, so on the first day of the New Year they serve lentil soup or lentils and rice.
10 South Africa J This New Year is known as Hogmanay. On New Year’s Eve they all link arms in a circle and sing the traditional New Year song Auld Lang Syne.


1G, 2I, 3J, 4E, 5C, 6A, 7F, 8B, 9H, 10C



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