New Year is a time for fresh starts. In the UK, we have our own traditions such as staying up until midnight to ‘see the new year in’, and welcoming the coming 12 months with fireworks and the singing of ‘Auld Lang Syne’. In other countries around the world, they have their own ways of celebrating.
In Nordic countries such as Sweden and Norway, the celebratory dish is rice pudding! If you find the hidden almond in the dish, you’re promised prosperity for the coming year – a bit like our Christmas pudding and sixpences.
In the southern states of America, tradition demands a stew of black-eyed beans and collard greens. Collard greens, a hardy relative of the brassica family, are very difficult to find in the UK – but if you fancy trying your hand at this traditional dish you could substitute with kale or Swiss chard.
In countries diverse as Cuba and Austria, the traditional New Year’s Day meal is roast suckling pig. Hmmmm…we prefer the sound of that to the bean stew!
Nearer to home, some parts of Spain ‘predict’ the coming year by eating a dozen grapes at midnight. Each sweet grape represents a good month ahead, each sour grape symbolises a difficult one.
In Italy, families serve lentils on New Year’s Day, as their resemblance to little coins makes them symbolic of prosperity.
One of the liveliest New Year traditions takes place in Denmark, where it’s customary to jump off a chair at midnight! It’s said to banish any bad luck left over from the previous year. Meanwhile, in Greece the traditional foodstuff is ‘vasilopita’, a kind of sweet bread. In a similar idea to the Nordic custom, a coin is baked into the bread which gives good luck to the finder.
A very happy New Year to all our customers, and we look forward to seeing you all again in 2017.