Learn about New Year's Eve Traditions Around the World
As the year comes to a close, take time to embark on a journey around the world to celebrate New Year's Eve with your preschoolers! New Years Eve offers a wonderful opportunity to introduce early learners to different cultures and traditions. In this blog post, we'll explore how you can make learning about New Year's celebrations globally both educational and fun for your curious preschoolers.
New Year's Celebrations
People around the world have a lot of different ways of ringing in the new year! We're highlighting a plethora of different celebrations that people partake in all around the world. Head to our New Year's Theme Planning page for more ideas and activities.
Countdown to Midnight
Many countries, including the United States, Japan, and Australia, celebrate the new year with elaborate fireworks displays.
Crafting Around the Globe
Create a Time Capsule
Celebrations Around the World
In Scotland, the first person to enter a home after the stroke of midnight is called the "First Footer." It is believed that the first footer brings good fortune for the coming year. Discuss this tradition with preschoolers and encourage them to create a simple "first-footing" craft, perhaps a footprint on a paper, symbolizing stepping into the new year.
Auld Lang Syne Singing (Worldwide):
People around the world join hands and sing "Auld Lang Syne," a Scottish poem-turned-song, to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new one. Teach your preschoolers this song with this Auld Lang Syne YouTube Video.
Bell Ringing (Japan):
In Japan, many temples ring their bells 108 times at midnight to symbolize the 108 human sins in Buddhist belief. Share with the children that this is a way to start the new year fresh and free from past wrongdoings. You can create your own bell craft or use musical instruments to create ringing sounds.
Grape Eating (Scotland):
In Scotland, they celebrate something called "Hogmanay." It's like a big, exciting party to welcome the new year. People visit their friends' houses, bringing gifts and spreading happiness. So, it's like a super fun party with friends and a little bit of magic to make the new year extra special!
Burning of the "Old Man" (Ecuador):
In Ecuador, people create life-sized effigies called "Año Viejo" (Old Man) and burn them at midnight to symbolize the end of the old year. It's like a big, friendly scarecrow made of old clothes and things. People create the Old Man to say goodbye to the old year. When it's time to welcome the new year, they set the Old Man on fire, and it lights up the night sky. It's a way of letting go of the past and getting ready for all the fun and adventures the new year will bring!
Polar Bear Plunge (Various):
In some colder regions, such as the Netherlands and Canada, brave individuals participate in "polar bear plunges" by jumping into icy waters to welcome the new year.
Lantern Festivals (China):
Vasilopita Cake (Greece):
In Greece, they celebrate the new year with a special cake called Vasilopita. It's a delicious cake, and what makes it extra special is that there's a hidden coin inside! They cut the cake, and whoever gets the piece with the coin is said to have good luck for the whole year.
In Denmark, it's a tradition to build and light large bonfires on New Year's Eve to symbolize the removal of evil spirits and welcome the new year.
Nochevieja (Mexico and Latin America):
In many Latin American countries, people celebrate "Nochevieja" by wearing colorful underwear, which is believed to bring good luck for the new year.
Japanese people visit Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples during the first days of the new year, praying for health, happiness, and prosperity in a custom called "hatsumode." They believe it brings good luck and a fresh start. It's like when we make a wish before blowing out birthday candles. Imagine going to a magical place with lots of pretty bells to make special wishes for the new year!
Kissing at Midnight (Various):
Throwing Old Items Out of a Window (Italy):
In some parts of Italy, it's a tradition to throw old items out of windows to symbolize getting rid of the old and making way for the new. Discuss this tradition with preschoolers and engage them in a safe and controlled tossing activity, perhaps with paper streamers or confetti.
As we wrap up our journey exploring New Year's Eve celebrations from around the world, remember that even though people have different ways of celebrating, what makes the day so special is the happiness and love we share with family and friends. Teaching your preschoolers about the different traditions and celebrations around the world allows them to reflect on the most important thing, being together and looking forward to all the fun adventures the new year will bring. So, let's say cheers to a year full of joy, laughter, and lots of love!
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