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Thursday, December 29, 2011

More New Year's Traditions

Hello, readers.  Violet McCallum here.  Elaine told my story in her book A New Dream which just happens to be on sale for .99.  The sale ends in a few days so get it now at either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. 

Today I’ll continue with New Year’s traditions around the world.  Did you know that The Republic of Kiribati is the first country to receive the new year? Kiribati is the first place to see the sun rise. 

In Russia, the New Year holiday trumps even Christmas in importance, and major celebrations take place all over the country. There is also a second New Year in Russia – the Old New Year which takes place after the regular New Year.  New Year celebrations in Russia occur on December 31st/January 1st. Fireworks and concerts mark this holiday. It is on this day that the Russian Santa, or Ded Moroz, and his companion Sengurochka visit children to pass out gifts. What we’d call a Christmas Tree is called a New Year's Tree in Russia. Because the first Russian New Year precedes Christmas in Russia on January 7, this tree is left up in honor of both holidays.

Russians have a second chance to celebrate the New Year which falls on January 14th according to the old Orthodox calendar. This “Old New Year” (Старый Новый год) is spent with family and is generally quieter than the New Year celebrated on January 1st. People follow old folk customs like singing carols and telling fortunes, and they serve large meals.

In Spain, when the clock strikes midnight, they eat 12 grapes one with every toll to bring good luck for the next 12 months of the New Year. Sometimes they wash down the grapes with wine. Theater productions and movies are interrupted to carry out this custom.  Now you know why I put a picture of grapes on this post.

Readers, please come back tomorrow and I’ll share a great recipe that you'll want to try for your own celebration.

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