Happy 2014!

Good morning everyone,

Well, another year has passed and we are already 7 hours into the new one. Have you kept your New Year's Resolution? Or have you already broken it? Ha ha!

Today will be a bit warmer and sunnier than yesterday-we can expect a high of 13C today and mostly sunny skies. Tomorrow will be almost exactly the same. Friday and the weekend will also be warm but with cloudy skies.

What do you do to ring in the new year? In Canada, we wear corny hats and drink champagne on New Year's Eve and then spend the first day of the year hungover...now that I think about it, it's not a very auspicious start to a new year is it? Hmmm...I wonder if we should change that tradition...

Luckily there are tons from around the world to choose from...here are some interesting ones...

#1: Put your right foot out

If you want to start your year off on the right foot, do it like the Argentinians – put your right foot out at midnight on New Years Day! Other variations of this tradition include hopping three times on your right foot or climbing down from somewhere using your right foot first.

#2: Predict your future with red hot metal
new year in germany

In Germany, Austria and Finland, the people read molten metal by melting it and pouring it into cold water. The shape of the hardened metal is a sign of what’s ahead in the coming year. Usually, a heart or ring shape signifies an impending marriage, a ship represents travel, and a pig shape means abundance and lots of food. Don't ask me how the average person would do this, but watching the metal take shape sounds pretty cool!

#3: Take a stroll with your suitcase!

In hopes of a travel-filled year, Colombians carry their suitcases around their residential blocks on New Year’s Day. All right, you’ll probably get some weird stares from the people in your neighbourhood if you choose to do this, but it’d be a blast to do it with your family.

#4: Keeping it 'round'

From displaying heaps of round fruit on the dining table on New Year's Eve to wearing polka dots on New Year's day, many Filipino families usher in the new year with round shapes (representing coins), which are thought to symbolise prosperity for the coming year!

#5: Jumping into the new year!

The Danes jump-literally- into the New Year by standing on chairs and jumping off of them together at midnight. The whole idea of ‘leaping into January’ is supposed to bring good luck and banish evil spirits.

#6: The 12 grapes of luck

As the clock strikes midnight in Spain, they eat 12 grapes – one with every toll – to bring good luck and prosperity for the next 12 months of the New Year. In some areas, it is believed that this tasty tradition also wards off all evil.

#7: Water splash
new year in thailand

The Thais usher in the New Year by splashing buckets of water on each other. In addition to that, they will have small bowls of beige coloured talc which is smeared on passers-by as a blessing for the new year. It is believed that as they throw water over one another, it will bring 'good' rain in the coming year.

#8: Cemetery sleepover
new year in chile

Thousands of Chileans spend the New Year in the company of their loved ones (be it deceased or alive) ... at the cemetery! Although this tradition sounds a bit ghoulish to us, it is seen as a wonderful, happy way for families to get together and preserve the memory of loved ones who have gone to a better place. When you look at it that way, it doesn't sound to bad, does it? And when you look at the picture, it doesn't look so creepy either...

#9: What does the cow say?

This Romanian ritual, often seen as wacky and ridiculous, is popularly practised by farmers. They try to hear the animals speak. If they succeed, it’s a bad omen; if they fail, it’s good luck. They carry out this ritual in hopes of finding true happiness in life. Ahhh...there's no much to say to this one, is there? If you did hear one of your animals speak, would you tell anyone? ha ha!

#10: Paying respect to elders

The most ceremonial ritual on New Year’s Day in Korea is ‘seh bae’ which means a deep bow to the floor. Families begin doing the ‘seh bae’ to deceased ancestors. However, depending on the family, the ‘seh bae’ may instead start with children and grown-ups bowing and paying respect to their elders, beginning with deep bows to the oldest living generation. The beauty of the Korean New Year is that it is the time for Koreans to reconnect with their families.

Fortunately last night wasn't too cold, so I could go to the local shrine and ring in the new year-literally-and enjoy a small cup of amazake. Then I headed home for a bowl of soba and hit the hay. It was ok, not very exciting though...

Well, I don't know about you, but some of these sound like they might be worth trying next year..

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dHappy 2014 !!
It seems that you had a very "Japanese" New Year, Jerry.
Just like you, my family and I went to the local shirine and enjoyed a cup of amazake.
My New Year's Resolution? To stay healthy and young( at heart, ha ha...) and of course, keep learning English at Urban English Schoolv-237i-236
今年も よろしくおねがいします。
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