New Year is a time when we love to say goodbye to old habits and difficult situations that have dragged us down over the previous year. But some of the regular time honoured traditions out there are stranger than anything you may have encountered before.
1. Nailing the Cake
There is an old Irish/Celtic tradition of saving any left over, stale cake or bread from the Christmas celebrations, so that it can be hammered to the outside of windows and doors. The theory being that any bad spirits will be appeased by the offering and will not enter your house to bring you bad luck over the coming year.
2. Chinese Food Fights
Chinese Lo Hei is a fun yet messy new year ritual, performed at their new year celebrations which coincide with the lunar calendar as opposed to the western new year. Lo Hei is a Chinese appetiser, participants gather around a large bowl of the stuff and attempt (with the aid of chopsticks) to throw some as high in the air as is possible, whilst shouting out their hopes and wishes for the year ahead. The higher the throw the more profitable the wish.
3. Greek Money Cake
Cultures all over the world bake cakes for celebrations, but you should be extra careful when biting into a piece of Greek new year cake. Each cake is baked with a coin inside it. Once baked the cake is shared out between friends and family and the recipient who receives the coin containing slice is said to receive good fortune for the coming year.
4. Danish Plate Smashing
Visitors to Denmark at New Year may be forgiven for thinking that the nation has decided to air its grudges all at once by throwing crockery around, but believe it or not a long standing Danish tradition is to throw and smash plates and dishes at your neighbours door. Stepping out the following morning to a pile of broken ceramics may not sound like fun, but the bigger the pile of debris outside your door, the better your fortunes for the coming year are said to be.
5. Belarus Wedding Games
Things are slightly different in Belarus. Each year all of the unmarried and eligible women take part in a series of games to discover just who will be married in the course of the coming year. One of the most popular games involves each woman standing next to a pile of corn, a rooster in then set loose and whichever pile of corn he goes to first indicates which woman is due to be wed.