Celebrating the New Year in Great Britain
Great Britain celebrates New Year’s from the night of December 31st to the early morning of January 1st. When the clock sounds midnight, people all over the island rejoice and hug one another. Champagne is drunk by many and children are allowed to stay up past their usual bedtimes. In the past few years, fireworks have also become a popular New Year’s Eve tradition – though this was not always the case, as Christmas used to be more widely celebrated by the British people. Though the whole island celebrates this holiday, each of Britain’s countries celebrates New Year’s in their own special way. Celebrating the New Year in Great Britain.
In England, for example, when Big Ben officially announces the midnight hour, everyone opens their back doors in order to let the passing year out once and for all. Simultaneously, English people then ask the first dark-haired stranger they see to come through the door carrying salt, coal, and bread. These particular items reflect good luck and symbolize the three things that household will have enough of in the coming year: food (bread), money (salt), and warmth (coal). But any blonde or red-haired person, or any female, is not welcome to come into the house – as they symbolize future bad luck. Celebrating the New Year in Great Britain.
Scotland, like England, has its own traditional customs set aside for this special day. The New Year’s celebration in Scotland is known as “Hogmanay,” a word that comes from a type of cake that children eat on New Year’s Eve. From the stroke of midnight, Scottish people observe the tradition of ‘first footing’ in which the first person to set foot in a residence on the new year will affect the futures of those who live there. Like England, strangers are preferred, though they may be either dark-haired or fair-haired depending on the region. In addition to this tradition, Scotland holds a giant New Year’s Eve party every year, extending from Prince’s Street to the Edinburgh castle, though lately tickets have been hard to acquire! Celebrating the New Year in Great Britain.
Lastly, in Wales, New Year’s Eve is called “Nos Galan” and New Year’s Day is called “Dydd Calan,” while the whole celebration is known as “Calennig”. The tradition of letting out the old year through the back door and letting a visitor in the front door is followed similarly here, but there are some minor differences. For example, if the first visitor is a woman and a man opens the door, this is bad luck. Most people journey to the Welsh capital of Cardiff to ring in the new year with friends and family, enjoying fireworks and festival rides. Celebrating the New Year in Great Britain.