Tag Archives: new year’s around the world

Make a Prediction

In 2011, consider adopting the German practice of predicting the future on New Year’s Eve.

Germans used to try to predict the future by dropping molten lead into cold water and “reading” the results.

Instead, why not anticipate the good things you hope will happen in 2011 by writing a news story or a letter to a loved one dated one year from now.

Ask everyone in the family what they think will happen – for themselves and other family members – and write up the results.

In the future, you can save these letters and re-read them on New Year’s Eve as a reminder of all you hoped would be.

Happy New Year!

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Make a Little Noise

In many European countries, such as Austria, people make a LOT of noise on New Year’s Eve in order to frighten away the evil spirits who are believed to try to take advantage of the last night of the year to make mischief.

At midnight, car horns blow, church bells ring, and all other manner of noise is made to ensure a safe end to one year and the launching of a new one.

Far be it from me to encourage your children to go crazy and get loud (especially if you life in an apartment building or a townhouse) but if it works for you and your family – and if you’ve got whistles, rattles, horns, bells, pots and pans, or anything else to clang) – consider letting loose for a few minutes when the clock strikes twelve.

If there’s any chance making a mini noise disturbance will bring you a better, happier, and luckier 2011, isn’t it worth the ear pain and potential complaints? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

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The New Year’s Bon Appetit

Bon Appetit – or good appetite – is the traditional way the French encourage each other to enjoy their meal.

On New Year’s, this expression has an added significance as families in France gather at the table to share a celebratory meal to welcome the new year.

You can mimic this idea not with a fancy French menu for your children (unless they like that sort of thing) but by soliciting their input in putting together a menu for a feast for the family.

They may also enjoy making suggestions for the guest list. There’s no reason not to include the people who mean the most to you on the final night of the year.

In my house, my son’s guest list would be extensive but his menu would be straight off the plate of a college kid: spicy chicken wings, pizza, popcorn, and maybe some carrots if I beg him to include a vegetable.

If your child is like mine, don’t worry about incorporating ALL their suggestions – just serve one or two special dishes that make them feel part of the planning.

Besides, the best part of celebrating the new year is being with the people you love most in the world. So it doesn’t matter if you make your toast at midnight with champagne or 9 o’clock with cranberry juice, either way you’re sure to have a memorable New Year’s celebration.

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New Year’s the Write Way

One of my favorite ideas for celebrating New Year’s is from Belgium where children are encouraged to decorate cards and write notes to their parents and godparents.

In Belgium, as in many other parts of the world, the new year also has religious significance.

It’s a wonderful time to reflect on the past and consider the future (while improving kids’ spelling, handwriting, and other skills!).

And if it’s good enough for the kids, it should be good enough for the parents.

If you’re still fortunate enough to have your parents and godparents living, parents should also consider joining in the fun.

It’s a relaxing, creative activity that may just put you in the right frame of mind for the new year while reminding some very important people of the wonderful role they may have played in your life.

No parents or godparents? Consider writing to a teacher or other mentor who had a positive impact on you.

 

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Countdown to a New Year

Just as one holiday ends, another begins. Before the wrapping paper has been recycled (but long after the first toy has been broken), families around the world are gearing up to celebrate one of the most popular holidays – welcoming the New Year.

For the next week, KidCulture will look at how the new year is ushered in around the world and how you can adopt – or adapt – new practices for your family.

Although different cultures and religions celebrate the New Year on different days, the idea of celebrating the new year is universal.

In many cultures, the old year (2010 for us) is considered evil and has to be banished in order to properly set the stage for a happy and successful new year (2011).

One practice that most moms and dads would probably love to adopt is the idea of cleaning the house before the end of the year to present a clean, organized, and ready-for-anything mentality.

Scotland is one of the many cultures that encourage cleaning house in preparation for the new year.

In addition, fragrant branches are burned inside the house to erase old odors and leave a sweet smell.

If you can convince your children to celebrate the new year the Scottish way, hand them a dustpan and broom and a bottle of Febreze and see if they get into the spirit of things! Extra points if you teach them the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne” and you sing while cleaning.

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

 

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