Staying Home on New Year’s Eve? This Fun Activity Will Feel Like a Trip Around the World
In my opinion, New Year’s Eve is way more of a stay-at-home holiday than a going-out one, even in non-pandemic times. Case in point: Last Dec. 31, I was in the midst of a months-long quarantine at my parents’ house in Maryland. Two of my sisters were there too, so we spent most of the day preparing an all-out New Orleans-style feast: gumbo, maque choux, grilled oysters, banoffee pie, the works. Staying in, cooking, drinking champagne, and eating delicious food that transported us to a vacation mindset? It was heaven.
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Meanwhile, my boyfriend (well, future boyfriend, as we hadn’t yet met at that time. Poor him!) was in New York City, still riding out the worst of the pandemic with a roommate and the roommate’s girlfriend. New York is the epicenter of “New Year’s is a going-out holiday,” but obviously, the three of them weren’t going to go to a public super-spreader event. So they also did something that made them feel like they were on vacation — except theirs was much more international and with many different stops.
Their idea? Research New Year’s Eve traditions in different countries, pick their favorites, and then do them throughout the day and night (and even a little after midnight). Here’s a sampling of their itinerary:
Russia: Write down three goals for the year on a piece of paper, light it on fire to burn it, and then sprinkle some of the ashes in champagne and drink it.
Colombia: Go around the block with an empty suitcase after midnight for a travel-filled new year (in retrospect, this one was maybe a little too optimistic for the start of 2021).
Spain: Eat 12 grapes (aka the 12 grapes of luck) at midnight, one at each bell chime, for a year of prosperity.
Turkey: Sprinkle salt on your doorstep at midnight to welcome peace and prosperity for the new year).
Italy: Wear red underwear (no matter your gender!), as red symbolizes good luck in Italy.
I was so delighted to hear about their day of globetrotting fun, partially because it taught me new things about countries around the world, and also because it’s such a unique way to make a holiday at home feel extra festive and different from any other (even though their memory of the after-midnight activities was slightly fuzzy).
This year, I’m obviously staying in on New Year’s again, although this time I may just call on my boyfriend to reenact some of his favorite moments from last year’s celebration — apparently, the Danish plate-smashing tradition was a hit.
If you also plan to hang out at home and want to do something on-theme while also feeling thousands of miles away from home, I highly recommend making a global tradition literary of your own. Who knows? You may end up happening upon a new favorite tradition you’ll repeat for years or decades to come. Happy New Year! Stay safe out there, y’all.
Do you have any favorite New Year’s Eve traditions from around the world? Share them in the comments!