For the new year, do you eat a pretzel? Kiss someone? Eat pork and sauerkraut? Clean the house?
These are just a few of the many, many, many traditions observed to usher in a new year.
If you make any New Year’s resolutions, you’re taking part in a tradition that is said to date to the ancient Babylonians — about 4,000 years ago.
Kiss someone at midnight? The tradition is said to have many origins. One such story dates to Europe’s Renaissance masquerade balls where, according to Encyclopedia.com, “Regardless of a person’s gender and class, sexual license was tolerated at masked balls so that men and women were free to indulge their sexual proclivities with persons of whatever sex and class they chose.”
And, the Washington Post says, English and German folklore suggests kissing the first person one comes in contact with “dictated the year’s destiny,” according to Joanne Wannan, author of “Kisstory: A Sweet and Sexy Look at the History of Kissing.”
And, in Scotland, revelers kissed everyone in the room. This way, apparently, nobody was left out!
By the way, what does your New Year’s kiss style say about you?
Among Irish traditions for ringing in the new year include cleaning, banging Christmas bread and the direction of the wind, according to the Irish Post. And, if you don’t have someone to kiss at midnight, place sprigs of holly, ivy or mistletoe under your pillow and you’ll dream of your future lover.
In Saratoga Springs, New York, smashing peppermint pig-shaped hard candies are said to usher in good luck.
Slow-cooked pork and sauerkraut are on the menu in many homes across Pennsylvania and Ohio on New Year’s Day. This German tradition was brought to America by the Pennsylvania Dutch.
Like many other traditions, this one is said to bring both good luck and prosperity.
The Germans brought another tradition — a New Year’s pretzel. And, you guessed it, this tradition is also said to bring good luck.
Spanish tradition calls for eating 12 grapes. You guessed it — for good luck.