Although there were times it seemed like it would never end, the rollercoaster that was 2020 is finally coming to a close. Next year holds promises of brighter, less-quarantined days, but there are miles to go before the global fight against COVID-19 is over. This New Year’s is the final addition to a long list of holidays and traditions affected or altogether canceled in 2020.
While New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrations might look a bit different this year, there’s no reason why you can’t ring in 2021 in a safe, healthy, and fun way. From smashing plates to baking a lucky cake, you’ll want to continue these COVID-friendly celebrations long after the pandemic is a distant, chaotic memory.
This great-tasting tradition from Spain involves eating 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight, one grape per chime. Each grape represents a month of the year ahead, and gobbling down all 12 before the clock’s last chime is believed to bring good luck into the new year. Healthy, delicious, and surprisingly trickier than it sounds.
On the night of New Year’s Eve in Denmark, hurling plates at front doors is a sign of friendship, not an act of vandalism. People throw dishes at the doors of friends and loved ones, and the bigger the pile of shards, the more luck you will have in the upcoming year.
While we don’t recommend trying this tradition out on unsuspecting loved ones, getting a few households in on this international tradition can bring some much needed good fortune (and stress relief) to you and your loved ones.
Countries all over the world eat ring-shaped treats to celebrate the new year. These sweet treats are believed to bring a full circle of good fortune for the following year. And because we can’t think of a reason not to drink champagne and eat donuts, we’re just going to go ahead and start planning our Dunkin' orders now.
Donning a pair of red undies is a cheeky way to welcome good fortune and keep negative energy out of the new year. Dating back to Medieval times in Italy, red garments were draped over men’s groins to protect themselves from witches looking to cast spells at the stroke of midnight. It’s a little less high stakes these days, but the sentiment of bringing good luck to the wearer remains the same.
The Turkish tradition of sprinkling salt on your home’s doorstep is said to promote peace and prosperity for the new year, and since it takes approximately three seconds, we’re willing to risk it for the chance of a brighter 2021. And if your porch happens to be icy, you get to kill two birds with one stone. Score.
It doesn’t take much for us to get behind a holiday tradition involving sweet treats, and the Greek custom of making a tasty vasilopita is no exception. Vasilopita is a moist cake made of flour, sugar, eggs, milk, and orange with a coin hidden inside. Each member of the household gets a slice of vasilopita, and the person who finds the coin in their piece will have good luck for the rest of the year.
Another quirky NYE tradition from Denmark, jumping off a chair right at the stroke of midnight, is believed to banish bad spirits from the previous year by leaving them behind as you “leap” into the new year. After the year that was 2020, we will be grand jeté-ing our way into 2021, thanks.
Quarantining at home for almost an entire year allowed many of us to hone our kitchen skills, and the holidays are the perfect time to show off. Luckily, plenty of great-tasting foods are thought to bring the eater good luck into the new year. From black-eyed peas and collard greens to pork and sauerkraut to pickled herring and a shot of vodka, a fortune-bringing spread is a delicious and festive way to ring in the new year.
Just as important as what to eat is what not to eat, and when it comes to meat, the deciding factor boils down to the behavior of the animal in question. Pigs are considered good luck because they root forward when foraging for food, suggesting those eating pork will have a successful year of growth and prosperity.
Crabs and lobsters’ signature sideways scuttle is considered unlucky, resulting in a stagnant, non-eventful year. Bottom feeders like catfish should also be avoided. Because they scratch backward for food, eating chicken or turkey is thought to bring misfortune and regression in the new year.
2020 has been such an eventful, tumultuous year; it’s hard to think about looking back on this year in retrospect. But time marches forward even as we’re sheltering in place, and it won’t be long before we’re getting ready to ring in 2030. Commemorate the beginning of the decade with a time capsule of 2020-specific items like masks, a roll of TP, and other mementos specific to you and your household. Open the capsule on January 1st, 2030, to look back on the past decade with 20/20 hindsight (pun intended).