happy new year 2016

Happy New Year from Rhodes Greece

As we celebrate the end of 2015 and look forward to the year ahead how and where will you be celebrating this year?

As expats we’ve always tended to band together with others. Our celebrations haven’t been that different from back home. A good meal, a few too many drinks and lots of hugging and kissing at midnight. Usually there’s been a few fireworks thrown in.

Last year I spent the evening in a local taverna, the expats all did their thing at midnight and left for a bar. We stayed on, some Greek music came on and the dancing began. We’d heard that in previous years the locals have got their guns out at midnight for a good firing in the square. I’m glad we missed that…

vasilopita cake

vasilopita cake

Another local tradition is making a Vasilopita cake. Inside is hidden a coin and the lucky one who gets the coin will have good luck for the year ahead. I’m resisting making one this year laced with Metaxa, fresh orange from the trees nearby and ground almonds grown on the island it’s tempting!

New year is bigger here than Christmas with the children traditionally receiving their presents on January 1st. The new year in the village will start with the children going house to house ringing a triangle and carol singing in return for a coin. Though they haven’t found our house yet!

Still not decided what you’re doing this year? Here’s a few traditions from around the world to give you inspiration, I’m thinking a giant water fight sounds like fun!

5 funniest customs:

  1. A collective kissing session on a square (Venice, Italy)
  2. Wearing red underwear, a symbol of good luck (Spain, Italy and Mexico)
  3. Having a giant water fight over the course of three days (Thailand)
  4. Throwing furniture out of the window (Johannesburg, South Africa)
  5. Boxing with neighbours to settle long standing quarrels (Peru)

5 strangest customs:

  1. Spending the night in a cemetery in the company of dead loved ones ( Talca, Chile)
  2. Attempting to hear animals speaking, in the hopes of finding true happiness (Romania)
  3. Striking the walls with bread to ward of evil spirits (Ireland)
  4. Throwing furniture out the window (Johannesburg, South Africa)
  5. Jumping into a frozen lake while carrying a tree trunk (Siberia, Russia)

Who’s up for furniture throwing? Weather permitting we’ll head to the beach new years day for a traditional expat BBQ. Grilled meat, a few drinks, a big bonfire and great company.

Wherever you are in the world and however you decide to celebrate a very happy New Year to you all. Are there any strange and wonderful customs where you are?


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