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News in Youth Services

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Celebrating New Year's

We all know how America welcomes in the New Year, but have you ever thought how other countries celebrate?  Well, lucky for you, because I am here to enlighten you.

GreetingGelukkig Niewjaar (heh-look-EH-hah- new-Yar) means Happy New Year in Flemish, the language of northern Belgium.

Bonne Annee (bun ah-NAY) means Happy New Year in French.

If you were a child living in southern Belgium, you'd present a New Year's letter to your parents on December 31.  The letter expresses thanks to your parents and contains promises about your plans for the new year.  Drawings, stickers and glitter are used to decorate the letters.  On New Year's Day, you stand on a chair and read the letter to your mom and dad to show how much you appreciate them.

Greeting:  Chronia Polla (KRON-yah pole-AH) means Years Many.


 In Greece, children line up their shoes in front of the fireplace.  They hope that Saint Basil will come down the chimney to fill them with candy and toys.  Greek people celebrate two holidays at once on December 31 and January 1:  New Year's and the Feast of Saint Basil.  Saint Basil is the patron saint of children who died hundreds of years ago on January 1.

Parties are attended and gifts and good luck charms are exchanged.  Children go from house to house carrying tiny ships that represent the one Saint Basil sailed on.  They sing a song called the Kalanda.  At midnight, families eat a special bread called vasilopita.    It has a coin hidden inside.  The person who receives the slice containing it will have good luck for the upcoming year.

Would you like an easy recipe for vasilopita?  

What You'll Need:
a package of refrigerated cinnamon roll dough
a cookie sheet
slivered almonds

Follow the directions on the package to make a sheet cake from the cinnamon roll dough.  Wash a coin in soap and water.  Wrap it in a piece of foil and hide it in the dough.  When the loaf is done, frost it and decorate it with almonds.  Sometimes people arrange the almonds so that they spell out the number of the new year.

GreetingHappy New Year!  Scotland's language is English.

I'm sure you have heard the song "Auld Lang Syne."  Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns, wrote the poem which was turned into the famous New Year's song.  

In Scotland's largest cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow, people buy tickets to huge New Year's Eve street parties.  People light New Year's bonfires and follow parades led by people carrying torches.  At midnight, everyone kisses, but never before midnight because it is considered bad luck.  After the kiss, everyone holds hands, stands in a circle and sings "Auld Lang Syne," and then kiss again.  Here are the lyrics below in case you'd like to sing it.


 No matter where you are from, the most important thing is to try to ring in the new year with family and friends.  Here's wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018!

Reference:  Erlbach, Arlene. (2000)  Happy New Year, Everywhere!  Brookfield, CT:  The Millbrook Press, Inc. 

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