Happy New Year to you all! Everyone here at Transun hopes you’ve had a fantastic 2014 and kicked off the New Year with a bang!
However you marked the occasion, here’s a brief run-down of how the New Year is celebrated in some of Transun’s favourite destinations around the world.
1. Croatia: The Croats tend to spend New Year’s Eve throwing big parties in houses, nightclubs and restaurants, as well as putting on awesome firework displays in the public squares. It is a cultural tradition to eat ‘lucky foods’ on New Year’s, such as sarma (or stuffed cabbage) and spit-roasted pig. It is believed that the rich fat content of pork symbolizes wealth and prosperity and it is also considered a symbol of progress. In that case, maybe bacon sandwiches are good for us after all!
2. Finland: Just like the Croats, the Finnish people also throw massive parties on New Year’s Eve and gather in the town’s central plaza to watch magnificent firework displays. However, they also have a couple of interesting New Year’s traditions that stem from mystical origins. One of these is a popular game for predicting the future. The idea is to place several small objects under cups. Each person takes it in turn to lift up their cup, revealing the object hiding under it. Each object has a special connotation, symbolising things such as love, happiness, wealth, sorrow, pain, or sometimes death. When the children lift up their cups, the adults quickly remove the negative symbols so as not to scare the little ones!
3. Sri-Lanka: Unlike Europe, Sri-Lanka’s New Year, known as Aluth Avurudda, falls on April 14th. Aluth Arvurudu can be traced to the harvest festival of the country’s farming society whose lives revolved around Mother Nature and the movement of the sun. The festival also coincided with the ‘Maha’ (spring) harvest when the rice crop was brought home. April was also a month when trees grew plentiful fruits, flowers blossomed and people relished in being free of work. The New Year thus became an authentic folk celebration with folk games, songs and other merry activities carried out in farming communities across the country. To this day there remains relics of the country’s rich New Year’s traditions. For example after the dawn of the New Year, people will light the hearth, boil milk and prepare milk rice which adheres to “auspicious” astrological signs and directions. The objective of the Sri Lankan New Year is to manage the year with a healthy harvest and income, without any financial burdens.
If you fancy spending New Year’s Eve 2015 somewhere a little more unique and magical than normal, then check out Transun’s Lapland 2015 New Year’s trips!