New Year Traditions – Here's to a magical 2020!

Saturday, 21 December 2019  |  Kate

Christmas is coming... and 2020 is on the way. What will you be doing to celebrate the new year?

Thanks to all of our wonderful alternative fashion customers

First of all we'd like to send an enormous thank you to all our lovely customers. Thanks to you, the UK has become more colourful and funky than ever through 2019. Thanks to your inspiration more and more people are rejecting high street clothing and buying beautiful alternative fashion from us, whether it's to mix and match with regular fashion or take to a different level altogether. You are a load of brilliant rebels, and we think you're fantastic!

How will you be celebrating on 31st December?

Plenty of us will be singing Auld Lang Syne at midnight on the big night, an old Scottish folk song adapted by the poet Robert Burns back in 1788. How did it become allied so closely with New Year? It's all down to the Canadian band leader Guy Lombardo, whose orchestra played the tune on his American TV and radio show every new year from 1929 to 1977.Are you one of those people who repeats the phrase 'black rabbits, black rabbits, black rabbits', then changes it to 'white rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits' as the clock chimes midnight? It's meant to be good luck in Yorkshire, where it's also good luck to mark the first day of every new month by saying 'white rabbits' when you awake, before saying anything else. In Scotland you might carry on the party until 2nd January, which is a Bank Holiday. Apparently Hogmanay morphed into what it is today in around 1583, when the Church of Scotland decided it was sinful to celebrate Christmas and the clever locals moved the fun to new year instead. Well done, them! Some people clean the house from top to bottom at new year so they start the year fresh and spotless. Others make certain to pay off their debts and enter the new year in a clear financial state. In the North East of England as well as Scotland, first-footing is a big deal. The first person to enter your home in the new year marks the household's fortunes to come, so a lucky first footer is invited in. It's usually a man with dark hair, and traditionally he brings with him a coin, lump of coal, some bread and a drink to symbolise good times to come: prosperity, warmth, food and good cheer. Why the dark hair? Becaue the invading Vikings, who were usually blonde, were the very opposite of good luck. The last thing you needed, back then, was a marauding Viking turning up on your doorstep! In Wales they exchange a calennig, a New Year’s gift, and sometimes the children make a table decoration called a calennig apple, decorated with cloves and evergreen and balanced on three legs made from twigs, an ancient symbol of good luck. New Year’s day sees the kids taking the apple from door to door, singing and giving people good wishes. In return, rather like trick or treat, they get sweets and money.

How about eccentric new year traditions abroad?

In comparison to some countries, the UK's traditional new year celebrations are fairly straightforward. Take the remote frozen wastes of Siberia, where people decorate a New Year Tree, the Yolka, instead of a Christmas tree. It's a common tradition throughout the former USSR, which rejected religion and didn't celebrate Christmas. Over there New Year trees look very much like our Christmas trees, decorated beautifully. You'll find the same tradition in Turkey. In Spain you'll see locals stuffing their mouths with grapes at midnight. If you don't stuff twelve grapes in there, one per second for the first 12 seconds after midnight, it's bad luck. In Brazil people wear white and throw white flowers and candles into the sea, making offerings to the pagan goddess of the sea Iemanja. If the offerings float back to the beach, it's a sign the goddess has rejected them. But that's fine – there's no punishment or bad luck involved. Brazilians also do a Spanish-style grape thing, but with seven raisins rather than twelve grapes. In Denmark, people smash up already-broken or unused china and leave the shards heaped on a friend or relative's doorstep to bring them good luck. The more broken china you're given, the more lucky and popular you are. And Hillbrow in Johannesburg is home to an extreme house-cleaning new year tradition that sees them hurling unwanted furniture and even appliances like TVs and cookers out of windows, sometimes from many storeys up in high rise buildings. It's probably safest to stay indoors! Weirdest of all, perhaps, is the Swiss tradition of throwing whipped cream on the ground then just leaving it there. More understandably, in France new year is a great excuse to eat exotic foods like foi gras, oysters and champagne, all of which hint at riches to come. Finally Japan, where a big house clean is the done thing in preparation for New Year's eve. They clean everything. Absolutely everything, including the things that don't usually get cleaned, like light fittings and appliances. Shops do the same, giving away unwanted stock and goods in lucky bags called fukubukuro. Over there new year's eve is a quiet time, peaceful and silent rather than noisy and full of fireworks. The only acceptable loud noise comes from Joya no Kane, the Buddhist tradition of ringing a temple bell 108 times to welcome in the new year. There are lots of special ornaments placed in symbolic places and also special foods to eat. And they get up early on New Year's Day itself to watch the first sunrise of the year, an event called Hatsuhinode.

Happy shopping, happy Christmas, happy new year!

You still have a few days left to make your pre-Christmas orders. Otherwise we'll see you in the new year. Here's wishing you a fantastic festive season from your favourite Wicked Dragons!

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