Friday, January 1, 2016

Welcoming in the New Year and looking forward to 2016

So that's it - it's 2016! What a year it has been for Ripples Foundation, with many successful projects and plenty to look forward to in the coming year. We just can't wait to share our work with you all.

Whilst many countries take the coming of the New Year to reflect, many places have their own unique New Year traditions. Here are a few of our favourites!

1. "Auld Lang Syne", a song well known at new Year, is one of the most popular songs that nobody knows the lyrics to. The title literally translates as "old long since" and means "times gone by". The song asks whether old friends and times will be forgotten and promises to remember people of the past with fondness, "for auld lang syne, we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet."

2. In Scotland, New Years Eve sees the Hogmanay celebrations take place. One widespread national custom is first-footing, which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a neighbour's house and giving a symbolic gift such as coal, shortbread, whisky and black bun (a rich fruit cake). This is supposed to set the luck for the upcoming year. Traditionally tall dark men are preferred as the first-foot.

3. In Japan, Buddhist temples strike their gongs 108 times as the clock hits midnight on December 31st in the belief that it will help man overcome 108 earthly temptations as he proceeds into the New Year and moves closer to 'nirvana' or salvation.

4. In Chile, taking a walk round the block with an empty suitcase before midnight is believed to make travel dreams in the New Year come true.

5. In Spain, it is traditional to eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year's Eve, one for each of the clock's chimes. Each grape is meant to represent a different month, for instance: if the 3rd grape is a bit sour, March may be a bad month.

Have we missed any? Comment below if you know of any more interesting New Year traditions, we'd love to hear!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Alysha Bennett Web Developer

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