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29 Dec 2020
Celebrations of the Year. Entrance to 2021. Traditional and emblematic ceremonies.
NEW YEAR’S EVE TRADITIONS AND RITUALS AROUND THE WORLD
Festivals and celebrations at the beginning of the new year are taking place on all continents. In the South Pacific, countries such as Samoa and Kiribati, due to their time difference, are the first to welcome the new year. Later on they add Europe, Africa and Asia. In the final part, the American continent is found, especially Hawaii, since its time zone is the one that is furthest behind.
For their part, each region has its own marked traditions and some with notable differences. For example, the traditional twelve chimes of Spain contrast with the 108 chimes of Japan. The Buddhist tradition assures that in this way worldly desires are purified. And while here we toast with champagne, the Japanese do so with amazake, a hot liquor very appropriate for this cold season.
In the Philippines, the main dish on the menu for the farewell of the year is long noodles, a taste they also share with the Japanese. In Russia, the most peculiar tradition is to write on a paper the wishes for the new year and the curiosity of the ritual is that this paper is then burned and a little bit of cava is poured over the ashes. On the other hand, in the United States, and in the case of New York, the famous and brilliant New Yewar’s Ball (Times Square Ball Drop)
stands out, where the queues to see the show start at midday on the 31st of December. In Quebec, New Year’s Eve becomes a big celebration with street bands, traditional dances and fireworks.
Other countries that stand out for their traditions are Denmark, where the ritual requires breaking the dishes from the end-of-year menu, or Puerto Rico, where it is customary to throw buckets of water out the window on New Year’s Eve, while Ecuadorians have the ritual of burning a large doll made of paper, wood and firecrackers. In contrast, in South Africa, the beginning of the new year is filled with festivals and musical performances and light shows as it coincides with the beginning of summer.
Anyway, this year, all the celebrations will be altered by the measures and restrictions marked by the Covid-19 pandemic. The regulatory differences in each region mean that you often have to consult the information provided from official channels to update the changes that may have occurred.
A very different new year cellebration.
This year-end celebration calls for caution and all governments often review changes to their existing measures and restrictions. Social interactions have been reduced and the nightly mobility schedule has been adjusted. In the case of Catalonia, there is a perimeter closure and mobility restrictions for this 31st December will begin at 1.30am, until 6am in the morning. These restrictions do not allow restaurants to serve dinner either and only the take-away option will be considered. Leisure venues such as discos or nightclubs will not be able to organise New Year’s celebrations and therefore, among many families and groups of friends, these will have to be held virtually as they also have restrictions on the number of people who can be brought together. It is true that there are some exceptional cases in which onLine events have been organised to get a feel for the party, even if it is virtual.
Nor will it be possible to move from one region to another unless it is for reasons of work, study or some other of the concepts established by the government.
The celebrations at home will be in a reduced format, as no more than 10 people will be able to attend the meetings and it will be necessary to follow the shows prepared to say goodbye to the year either in a virtual format or through the different television channels that have organised different programmes to broadcast the traditional bells that this year, in Catalonia, will be broadcast from Barcelona which has prepared fifteen-minute fireworks show to say goodbye to 2020. The fireworks show will be carried out without an audience and can only be followed comfortably from home via the TV screen.
Other traditional activities on these dates, such as the “Cursa dels Nassos”, will be carried out with a series of measures and restrictions to prevent contagion among the participants. The route will be 10 km long, but with different starting and finishing points to avoid crowding of runners. On the other hand, festivals as popular and traditional as the “Festa del Pi” in Centelles, a Heritage Festival of National Interest that is documented since 1871, this year will not be carried out and only different events and documentary projections have been organized, free of charge for those attending, but with prior reservation for entry due to capacity controls and social distancing.
Other popular festivals have also been affected this year and the appropriate consultations must be made with the official channels of each organising entity.