In Russia, amongst the most popular New Year symbols is a New Year’s Tree called Novogodnaya Yolka that is topped with a bright star and decorated with various sweets. New Year presents are kept under the New Year Tree. The most important part of the New Year activities is the sumptuous dinner with light music and champagne. The most important meals consist of meat, green peas, pickles, mayonnaise, onion, carrots and potatoes.
Traditions and customs make a splendid part of New Year celebrations in Europe. ‘First footing’ is a very old tradition, practiced very seriously in Europe till date. When the clock strikes at midnight, a male stranger must be the first person to enter the house. It is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity for the family. The visitor must bring with him lump of coal, bread and some salt. In Europe, people follow a custom of making noise to welcome the New Year. This is done to scare off all the bad spirits.
In the United States, New Year’s Day begins with wishing the near and dear ones ‘Happy New Year’. People visit their loved ones and sometimes go out for a picnic with them. Watching the famous Tournament of Roses Parade further accelerates New Year celebrations. Theme of the parade varies every year. There is also a New Year custom to play the most famous games of football such as the Orange Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl.
In Japan, New Year Eves see people eat Toshikoshi-soba at night. They offer prayers at midnight. It is considered highly auspicious to listen to the chimes of a temple bell. According to the Japanese religion, sound of the 108 chimes drives away all the sins and gives birth to new life.
The people of Germany welcome New Year in a merry way.
It is considered very auspicious by the people to have carp (a type of fish) or herring and toast made with champagne or sekt. Cabbage and carrots are also eaten to bring in financial stability. Lentil soup with wieners is very popular.