There are many common traditions as well. Fire, for example, is a recurring element in many countries. There are lots of European countries where you can hear firecrackers and enjoy fireworks all night long that day, for example in Denmark, where are heard late into the night and throughout the city like a storm of colours.
But fire is particularly important in places like Hungary, where sculptures are burned that night or in some other Central Europe places where small figures are lit to celebrate the last night of the year. The meaning is wanting to get rid of old things to come good in the new year. In some areas of Scotland is usual to hear left barrels rolling on the streets to scare away evil spirits. However, in Austria incense is burned inside the houses, just a little more intimate.
But usually, the New Year’s Eve party in Europe is a party to socialize, to share with friends and to enjoy. That’s why the most widespread tradition is to share hugs and kisses upon entering the new year. In the UK, people hug and sing an old hymn called “Auld Lang Syne”. In France, it is said that you should kiss under the mistletoe and in Turkey you spread hugs and handshakes.
In the major European capitals is common to have the chance to celebrate that night in a street party until dawn. But the most massive party takes place every 31st of December in Berlin and gathers thousands of people from everywhere together, reaching the million people sometimes. The party does not detract in Budapest either, where many streets are closed to traffic in the area of Pest. same happens with celebrations in central Paris or at Puerta del Sol in Madrid.
Of course, many European traditions for the new year are accompanied by food and have to come together with certain dishes. In Spain, for example you should eat 12 grapes, one for each stroke of the clock at twelve in the night, if you want to attract good luck. In Italy, lentils are a symbol of abundance and they are of course in the menu for that night. In Holland you can taste the “oliebollen” which are sweet and delicious.
Wines and spirits are an important part of the holidays. Sparkling wines as Champagne, cava or sekt are the big winners but we cannot forget wines as traditional for that night as the English “mulled wine“.
Billecart Salmon Brut Réserve
Pastis 51 1L