I hope everyone has enjoyed the holidays and has been able to regroup for the new year. I had really hoped to do some ‘me’ projects like organizing my photos and making some family videos during these two weeks, but we are in the middle of a master bath renovation so it really has not happened yet. I am also joining a Whole 30 program for January, so I really need to slow down to digest all that information before Monday, but not today! Today, we are headed to the zoo!
It is hard to figure out what to do with kids during the holidays when you won’t allow them indoors. I actually don’t love zoos, but the boys love them so I will happily take them. There is one zoo I actually love though, Toranga Zoo in Sydney is fantastic! You can take a ferry to arrive and there are views of the harbour at every turn. Those animals have million dollar views!
Speaking of Sydney, I have compiled some New Years traditions from around the world for you this week. A travel advisor friend of mine did this in her newsletter this week, I loved the idea so much that I had to do something similar.
01. Sydney, Australia
This is actually high on my bucket list. No surprise here, right? I have seen fireworks in Sydney. We went with my grandma when I lived there in 2001. However, the NYE fireworks are meant to be spectacular. Spectators set up with picnics around the harbour hours prior to get a spot.
Spaniards eat twelve green grapes in the twelve seconds after midnight. If someone can not finish their twelve grapes in twelve seconds, it is supposed to be bad luck. This tradition started in the 1800s as a way for vine growers to sell more grapes, but the tradition remains!
The Danes like to throw their old dishes at the front doors of their friends on NYE. Apparently, the bigger pile of broken dishes you have in front of your door, the more luck you’ll have in the new year. However, this seems counterintuitive to me!
I definitely wanted to include Denmark because I am focusing on it in January as my theme for the month is hygge, “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).” I plan to be very hygge as we ring in the new year!
Ecuadorians make or buy monigotes which are large dolls that signify all that went wrong or right with the old year. Sometimes these monigotes are created to look like politicians or pop icons. Throughout the day and night of NYE, the monigotes are burned. People place notes of bad things that happened the prior year to be burned. As the fire settles, people jump through the flames and over the ashes as a spiritual cleansing that dates back to ancient Andean cultural traditions.
In Japan, soba noodles are consumed during new year in a ritual known as toshikoshi soba which means year crossing noodles. It is believed that the noodles thin shape and long length signifies a long and healthy life. Some think that since soba noodles are made from the very resilient buckwheat plant, then eating soba noodles also represents strength in the new year.
Greeks hang onions on their doors to promote growth in the new year. Greeks believe that onions are a symbol of rebirth, so they hang the onions to promote growth throughout the new year.
Several Scottish traditions have been borrowed by the rest of the world including the bells that ring at midnight and singing “Auld Lang Syne”. However, I think Scotland may be the only place that practices ‘First Footing” which involves selecting a tall, dark man to be the first person of the year to cross a home’s threshold. He carries ceremonial gifts when he visits. It is thought that this tradition started when the last thing Scots wanted to see was a blonde Viking crossing their threshold!
Of course I had to pick Sydney today! I always think of Sydney this time of year as they are the first NYE celebration we get to witness. I have such a strong connection to this city. My entire family is going to visit in 2021 or 2022. I think big multi-generation trips are going to be one of the first travel trends we see when travel comes back. People miss spending time with their families and traveling, so it is a natural solution. I hope when I return to Sydney with my family, we are able to go over New Years Eve, even though this is the most expensive time to go. I really want to be there to see the fireworks on NYE, but I also know that my next trip will not be my last trip to one of my very favorite places. It is complicated coordinating nine people to visit a destination half a world away, but luckily, I am a trained professional!