Whether we tune in to watch the ball fall on Times Square or spend the day with friends and family, we all have our traditions on how to ring in the new year. As we turn the page on 2020, let’s take a look at some of the more unique ways people celebrate the New Year around the world:
Russia. For over 25 years, two divers who represent Father Frost and the Ice Maiden plunge into the frozen waters of Lake Baikal, the world's largest freshwater lake, with a decorated New Year’s Tree and take it down more than 100 feet and leave it there. This event draws tourists from all over the world.
Brazil. In Brazil, you will find that on New Year’s Eve everyone dressed in white and headed to the beach. White represents luck and prosperity, and is meant to ward off evil spirits. At the beach, they’ll jump seven waves (a lucky number in Brazilian culture) for good fortune, and then throw white flowers and candles into the water to ask Lemanjá, the goddess of the seas, for her blessing on the new year.
Japan. The Japanese welcome the new year with a bowl of soba noodles in a tradition known as toshikoshi soba, or year-crossing noodles. No one is quite sure how the tradition started, but it is thought that the long, thin soba noodles represent a long and healthy life, and the buckwheat they are made from represents their strength and resiliency.
Greece. The pomegranate symbolized fertility, life, and abundance in Greek mythology, and has come to represent good fortune to Greeks today. Just after midnight on New Year’s Eve, you’ll find Greeks smashing a pomegranate against the door of their house, and according to tradition the number of seeds scattered is directly related to the amount of good luck to come in the new year.
Turkey. As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s, it is considered good luck to sprinkle salt on your doorstep in Turkey. As with many traditions around the world, this is meant to promote peace and prosperity in the new year.
Switzerland. For good luck, wealth and abundance, the Swiss drop a dollop of ice cream on the floor at midnight on New Year’s.
Bolivia. Bolivians use the age-old festive tradition of baking pennies into their desserts on New Year's. Whoever finds the coin has luck for the year ahead!
If you are looking forward to a new year filled with travel and adventure, Luxury Destinations Concierge can help! Give us a call at (805) 236-4437 to start planning your dream vacation today.
If you think about it, most of us associate special foods with the holidays. Whether it’s the candy canes, gingerbread houses or grandma’s Christmas dinner, we all have fond memories of gathering around the table to share a meal or two. Here are some of the more unique foods that people around the world eat at the holidays:
Many of our holiday traditions are looking quite different this year because of the pandemic. Shopping, going to the local tree-lighting and other family-friendly events have been cancelled. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t experience them from the comfort of your own home. Here are some ways you can get your fill of the holiday season virtually:
Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lights. The Museum of Science + Industry Chicago takes you on a tour of their annual exhibition of Christmas traditions around the world celebrated through Christmas trees. Each of the 40 trees and displays are decorated to represent the holiday traditions from cultures around the globe. The free event is available at various times through December 24th.
A Christmas Carol. The Old Vic in England continues its efforts to bring stage performances into our homes with Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This isn’t a pre-recorded version – it’s done live each day through December 24th, performed on the Old Vic stage and live-streamed across the globe. Visit their website to find out how to purchase tickets and access your showing.
AskSanta.com. If your kids are begging to talk to Santa this year, then do it online through AskSanta.com. They’ll be able to talk to Santa in real time, and he’ll answer all their questions with the help of AI. They can talk about whatever they want, there are conversation starters to help get you going, and the best part is it’s free!
The Nutcracker. No holiday season would be complete without seeing The Nutcracker. Marquee TV brings you the ballet courtesy of the New York City Ballet. This version of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker was performed in 2019 at the Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts. Get ready to be swept away into the world of sugar plum fairies with this beautiful production. You can access it through Marquee TV’s website through January 3rd.
Virtual Scavenger Hunts. What could be more fun than a holiday scavenger hunt? Watsons Adventures has come up with a great way to find out more about holiday traditions around the world through their Joy Around the World: Virtual Holiday Scavenger Hunts. So grab your family, friends and colleagues through Zoom for an all-around good time. A kid’s version is also available. Join one of the public hunts through December 26th, or inquire about a private hunt just for your party.
Christmas Markets Around The World. Christmas markets around the world always are a sight to see, with the lights, the hustle and bustle, and the various traditions that underscore each one. It’s no wonder that they are some of the top holiday destinations each year. Even though most are closed because of the pandemic, you can still enjoy them with these virtual tours of some of the most famous markets around the world.
We hope you enjoy these virtual holiday tours and activities, and have a safe and happy holiday season. When you’re ready to plan your trip for 2021, Luxury Destinations Concierge is here to help. Give us a call at (805) 236-4437 to start planning your dream vacation today.
All around the world, everyone is getting ready to celebrate the holidays. While we all have our family traditions at this time of year, we tend to forget that not everyone celebrates in the same way – or even on the same day. Here are some of the more unique holiday traditions in other countries:
Philippines. The Saturday before Christmas Eve, the Philippines holds their Giant Lantern Festival in the city of San Fernando which is known as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines. Eleven villages take part in the competition, trying to outbuild the others as they race to create the most elaborate lantern. Originally, the lanterns were made of origami paper, lit by candle and measuring no more than 3 feet across. Today, they are incredible displays of art made of electric lights and other materials and can measure up to 16 feet across. Started over 100 years ago, the festival is a celebration of light which symbolizes unwavering hope to the Filipinos.
Norway. One of the more unusual holiday traditions is the hiding of brooms in Norway on Christmas Eve. This centuries-old tradition goes back to when people believed that witches and evil spirits came out on Christmas Eve looking for brooms to ride on. To this day Norwegians will hide all their brooms, so you better get your cleaning done beforehand!
Sweden. Dating back to ancient pagan festivals, the Yule Goat is one of Sweden’s Christmas traditions. In 1966, they upped the ante when someone decided to make a giant straw goat. Today, this goat is known as the Gävle Goat, and measures over 42 feet tall, 23 feet wide and weighs in at about 3.6 tons. It’s set up in Castle Square the first Sunday in Advent, and has even made the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest straw goat.
New Zealand. While many associate Christmas with a winter wonderland, down under it is actually summer. Their Christmas celebrations usually entail family gatherings around the barbie (grill) and you’ll probably see Santa in sandals and a rugby shirt on the beach. Kiwis also have their own special Christmas Tree, the Pohutukawa, which blooms a bright-red color in December.
Germany. It’s thought that the tradition of decorating the Christmas tree started in Germany in the 16th century. One of the more interesting Christmas tree traditions Germans have is hiding an ornamental pickle in the tree and whichever child finds it gets a present. Full disclosure: there are other stories that have circulated that this tradition could have started in Spain when two young boys were held prisoners in a pickle barrel and Saint Nicholas rescued them.
Mexico. In Mexico, Christmas is centered around the Posadas. In Spanish, a posada is an inn or place of lodging and the Posadas celebrate the Christmas story. Held each evening from December 16th to December 24th they commemorate the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph’s search for a place to stay where Jesus could be born. Posadas in Mexico feature hot food and drinks, sweets, music, and piñatas.
Iceland. In Iceland, you’ll hear tell of the Yule Cat that roams the streets only one time per year. This is not your cuddly kitty-cat, though: It’s said to be a ferocious creature that will eat anyone who doesn’t have new clothes by Christmas Eve. You see, the Yule Cat is the “good behavior enforcer” – children who did their chores before Christmas would get new clothes (i.e., socks) and those that didn’t complete their chores would be fair game for the Yule Cat. It’s also used to inspire generosity – giving to those who don’t have “new clothes” so they can avoid the “consequences”.
Want to celebrate other holiday traditions around the world? Give Luxury Destinations Concierge a call at (805) 236-4437 to start planning your dream vacation today.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.