Across the globe, the New Year brings people together under a common cloak of expectancy, renewal and joy. Absent are the religious, cultural, and/or geographic differences that often segregate our celebrations. Though the customs may differ, we are united in the excitement and hope of a fresh start. Old things pass away and a clean slate is presented for all…no matter how the New Year is ushered in, and the celebrations across the globe are as varied as the people that inhabit it. Still there are common themes. Fireworks are at the center of celebrations in nearly every country from Dubai to Ghana, Australia and Hong Kong. Some other unique traditions:
- Many Spaniards believe the ritual of eating twelve grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve will lead to twelve months of happiness in the New Year.
- At midnight, gongs at Buddhist temples in Japan were sounded 108 times upon the belief that the 108 types of human weakness will be removed.
- Seoul welcomed 2013 with a ritual ringing of the city’s 15th century bronze bell 33 times as part of an ancient new year’s tradition.
- In Scotland traditional customs such as First-Footing, which are visits to friends bearing gifts of whisky and/or a lump of coal are carried out.
With these ancient traditions we’re seeing new trends as we all use the social web to mark turning points in our lives and communities. We’re seeing communities invite the world to their celebrations via social networks – our favorite is The Inaugural Venice Beach Ball Drop of 2012. Celebrants watched a large beach ball drop (Times Square style) while everyone everywhere was invited to share their 2013 New Year’s resolutions via tweet and Instagram. What’s your new year’s resolution? What role did social media play in your celebrations this year?