2018-01-03 / ChatterBox

The Chatter Box

By Deborah Bennett

The New Year has arrived! Many of us celebrated the arrival of 2018 with well-known traditions such as watching the ball drop in Time Square on New Year’s Eve on television, attending New Year’s Eve parties, making New Year’s resolutions, holding family gatherings and eating black-eye peas and greens for luck in 2018.

This started me to wondering about what New Year’s traditions might be in other countries around the world. Ours seem kind of “mild” in comparison! This is what I found, according to Worldstrides.com.

In Spain, it is customary to eat 12 grapes – one at each stroke of the clock at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Each grape represents good luck for one month of the coming year. In bigger cities like Madrid and Barcelona, people gather in main squares to eat their grapes together and pass around bottles of cava.

Colombia - In hopes of a travel-filled new year, residents of Colombia carry empty suitcases around the block. (I love this one!)

Denmark - Residents of Denmark greet the New Year by throwing old plates and glasses against the doors of family and friends to banish bad spirits. They also stand on chairs and jump off of them together at midnight to “leap” into January in hopes of good luck. (This one is good, too!)

In Finland, people predict the coming year by casting molten tin into a container of water, then interpreting the shape the metal takes after hardening. A heart or ring means a wedding, while a ship predicts travel and a pig declares there will be plenty of food.

Panama - To drive off evil spirits for a fresh New Year’s start, it is tradition to burn effigies (muñecos) of well-known people such as television characters and political figures in Panama. The effigies are meant to represent the old year. During Scotland’s New Year’s Eve celebration of Hogmanay, “first-footing” is practiced across the country. The first person who crosses a threshold of a home in the New Year should carry a gift for luck. Scots also hold bonfire ceremonies where people parade while swinging giant fireballs on poles, supposedly symbols of the sun, to purify the coming year.

In Brazil, as well as other Central and South America countries like Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela, it is thought to be lucky to wear special underwear on New Year’s Eve. The most popular colors are red, thought to bring love in the New Year, and yellow, thought to bring money.

Greece - An onion is traditionally hung on the front door of homes on New Year’s Eve as a symbol of rebirth in the New Year. On New Year’s Day, parents wake their children by tapping them on the head with the onion.

Happy birthday this week to: Dustin Brown, Earl Jones, Al Jackson, Jack Kent, James Carlton Cowart, Maybelle Wiggins, Patty McLeod, Beverly Joiner, Sheryl Dudley, Tammy Cranshaw, Ken Delay, Justin Chance, Drew Dudley, Matt Turner, Ray Garvin, Jeremy Dailey, and Pug Davis.

Celebrating wedding anniversaries are: Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Shackelford and Mr. and Mrs. Glynn Bassett.

Military Active Duty

Col. James Eldridge Davis, U.S. Air Force, DoD Pentagon, Washington D.C.; TSgt. Jeremy M. Chestnut, U.S. Air Force, Keesler AFB, Biloxi, MS; CPT Justin G. McBride, U.S. Army, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas; Chief Warrant Officer 5 Darryll L. Simpkins, U.S. Army, Fort Gordon Logistics Readiness Center, Augusta, GA; Tech Sgt. Stuart Burrus, U.S. Air Force, Shaw AFB, Sumter, S.C.; E-4 Christopher Simmons, U.S. Army, Missouri; E-3 Ralphael Franklin Lovett, U.S. Army, Kuwait; E-4 Rhonda Lovett, U.S. Army Reserve, Augusta, GA; Airman First Class Aaron Comstock, U.S. Air Force, Shaw AFB, Sumter, S.C.; E-5 She’nice Thompson, U.S. Army, 25th Sustainment Brigade, HHC 25th Special Troops Battalion, Wahiawa, Hawaii; and Major D. Slade Burke, U.S. Air Force, 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom.

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