SPANISH TRADITIONS ON NEW YEAR’S EVE
CHAMPAGNE – CAVA
STAYING UP LATE
WEARING RED UNDERWEAR
THE “SAN SILVESTRE”
HOW DO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY CELEBRATE NEW YEAR’S EVE?
1) What do you eat on New Year’s Eve? Is there any special food?
2) Who do you have dinner with? Do you stay at home? Do you go to a
friend’s / relative’s house? Do you go to a hotel?
3) Do your parents let you go out with your friends? Do you go out with
4) Do you eat the 12 grapes or do you “substitute” them?
5) What time do you go to bed on New Year’s Eve?
6) Do you watch a lot of TV on New Year’s Eve?
7) Do you have any special family tradition that night?
New Year's Day wasn't always on January 1st. People used to celebrate it in
March. January and February were not in the early Roman calendar. December
was the tenth and final month. How do we know this for sure? "Decem" means
ten in Latin. January and February became part of the calendar around 700
BC. This brought the number of months up to twelve.
Julius Caesar named January 1st as the first day of the year around 46 BC. It
took many years before his people accepted this day. By the 1500s, many
European countries called January 1st New Year's Day. Today this is the
official start of the year in many nations. Millions of people celebrate New
Year's Eve on December 31st. Some cultures and nations still celebrate New
Year's on other days.
The Jewish New Year is called Rosh Hashanah. It
is a holy time when Jews recall the things they have
done wrong in the past, and then promise to do
better in the future. Special services are held in
the synagogues, children are given new clothes and
New Year loaves are baked to remind people of
While many people in the United States observe New
Year's Day on January 1st by throwing parties late
into the night on the eve of December 31st, people in
China celebrate this holiday for several days between
January 17th and February 19th, at the time of the
new moon. The Chinese called this time of feasting
and celebrations Yuan Tan. Lanterns illuminate the
streets as the Chinese use thousands of lanterns "to
light the way" for the New Year. The Chinese believe
that evil spirits roam the earth at the New Year, so
they let off firecrackers to scare off the spirits and
seal their windows and doors with paper to keep the
evil demons out.
In Scotland, the New Year is
called Hogmanay. In the
villages of Scotland, barrels
of tar are set afire and then
rolled down the streets. This
ritual symbolizes that the old
year is burned up and the new
one is allowed to enter.
New Year's Day is also
the Festival of Saint Basil
in Greece. Children leave
their shoes by the
fireside on New Year's
Day with the hope that
Saint Basil, who was
famous for his kindness,
will come and fill their
shoes with gifts.
Iran's New Year's Day,
celebrates not only the
beginning of the new year
according to the solar
calendar, but also bahar,
"the beginning of spring."
On New Year's Day in
dressed in their new clothes
and homes are decorated
with pine branches and
bamboo--symbols of long
In European countries such
as Italy, Portugal and the
Netherlands, families start
the New Year by first
attending church services.
friends and relatives. In
Italy, boys and girls receive
gifts of money on New