Toast the New Year! Rituals from Around the World

This elegant bar we designed in a whole home remodel for clients who love to entertain will soon be surrounded by friends and family in a festive mood to ring in the New Year. How are you celebrating? Toasting with a glass of excellent champagne is definitely a good place to start but we thought it would be interesting to explore and share what people in other cultures do to celebrate the new year.

The new year in Japan is seen as a symbol of renewal and is considered the most important holiday of the year. At bonenkai or “forget-the-year” celebrations, the Japanese let go of the problems and concerns of the past year and prepare for a new start. Misunderstandings are forgiven and houses are cleaned and organized.

The Spanish eat twelve grapes at midnight on December 31st to secure twelve happy months in the coming year.

New Year’s day is also the Festival of St. Basil in Greece. Traditions include the serving of a Vassilopitta, or St. Basil’s cake, with a silver or gold coin baked inside. Whoever finds the coin in their piece of cake will be especially lucky in the coming year.

Babylonians were the first to make New Year’s resolutions and the tradition spread throughout the world. Early Christians believed the first day of the new year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to make improvements in the new year. While our modern day resolutions usually involve losing weight or exercising more, the early Babylonian’s most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment!

However you choose to spend New Year’s eve, we wish you and your family a joyous, prosperous and healthy New Year! Our unified team of architects, designers and construction professionals is looking forward to exciting projects in 2013.