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What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

 

It depends upon where you live actually.  Countries around the world all seem to celebrate with family, food, and noise of some sort. That seems to be fairly universal. But there are neat little national twists on the celebration that are often based on a particular countries history and are fun and sometimes V-e-e-ery interesting to say the least. 

It also partly depends upon which calendar you use. For most western countries that is the Gregorian calendar, which means New Year’s Eve is celebrated December 31st. If you use the Lunar calendar, as the Chinese do, new year’s is celebrated a few weeks later in mid-January.

The tradition in Russia is to have a New Year’s tree, which is a small tree decorated with little candies. It is traditional to put small presents from Father Frost and the Snow Girl under this tree for children. Russians also have parties and make a big meal for family and friends. The celebration usually starts one or two hours before midnight and the common tradition is to “say farewell to the old year” by remembering most important events of the last twelve months.

Of all the traditions I read about while doing the research for this post the recalling with family and friends the most important events of the last twelve months was my favorite. That is nice.

In Scotland New Year’s Eve is called Hogmanay. This name may have come from the Vikings. Many years ago Scots would run through the streets hitting each other with sticks and igniting a barrel with resin inside and then rolling the burning barrel through the streets, symbolizing burning of old year and getting rid of bad spirits from the old year.

Today people dance in the streets to music. And you will have very good luck if you go to the house of a friend or a neighbor with a piece of bread and a piece of coal. This will insure they will have food and warmth for the whole year.

In Hungary during the first seconds of New Year people make lots of noise with whistles to scare the evil spirits and call on joy and prosperity too come in the new tear. Another tradition in Hungary is to burn an effigy called Jack Straw which represents all the evil and bad luck in the world.

In Greece people prefer to spend New Year’s Eve in a more peaceful ambient. They usually share quiet time with family and friends and stay together until the morning.  At midnight they switch off the lights. They also celebrate by cutting the “vassilopita.” Also known as Basil’s (for St. Basil) pie. A coin is baked inside the pie.  Who ever gets the coin in his or her piece of pie can expect luck for the whole year.

In London thousands gather along the River Thames to watch fireworks and listen to the Chimes of Big Ben.  Don’t the Brits celebrate marriages the same way? Well, at least for royals. I guess we will be seeing this scene again in a few months as Prince William and Kate get married.

In Spain New Year’s Eve celebrations usually begin with a family dinner, which traditionally includes shrimp and lamb and/or a capon. 

Spanish tradition also says that wearing new, red underwear on New Year’s Eve brings good luck. While the Russian tradition of remembering major events of the past year is the nicest tradition, this one wins the prize as the most interesting and unique of all.

In Germany it is traditional to drop molten lead into cold water to tell the future from the shape it makes. Another tradition is to leave a bit of dinner food  on your plate until after midnight. It is believed that this will ensure a well stocked larder in the coming year.

The French New Year is Jour des Etrennes, or Day of New Year’s Presents. Dinner parties are thrown for the entire family, where presents are exchanged.

Even though the celebration of the Lunar New Year are not until a few weeks into the new year, in some areas of China the Gregorian New Year is also celebrated.  China celebrates with fireworks and rock concerts.

Source: Wikipedia

Like Americans the Danish people go to parties or entertain guests at home usually by having dinner with families. These dinners can be elaborate and include fancy desserts including the ring cake Kransekake next, along with champagne. Now that is some cake!!!

One tradition of the Danish involves broken dishes. Old dishes are saved all the year round to throw them at the friends’ or neighbor’s door on New Year’s Eve. Many broken dishes on your porch are a symbol that you have many friends. OK. I’ll remember that the next time I am in Denmark.

In Wales New Year celebrations are known as Calennig. The tradition of giving gifts and money on New Year’s Day is an ancient custom that survives even in modern-day Wales, though nowadays it is now customary to give bread and cheese.

Certainly this brief trip around the world is in no way shape or form an all inclusive look at New Years round the world. But I found these traditions to be interesting and fun. But just where am I going to find red underwear by Friday???????

Featured Recipes          Finger Foods

Today I have two new party finger foods to share with you. And I link to some of the best of past recipes I have shared with you that would be great for New Year’s Eve parties too.

Greek Olives.

I call them Greek because I use a little bit of oregano. These make a great snack on New year’s Eve. However, If you do not use them all up (and I am betting you do) on New Year’s you can add them to salads for a touch of Greece any time. They will last several months in your fridge.

Here is what you will need:

1 large jar of pitted black olives

1 large jar of green olives, any kind

1/3 cup rice vinegar, or any vinegar

2/3 cup olive oil

1 bay leaf

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon oregano

This is what you do:

Drain the olives and dump into a bowl.

Place the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

Pour over the olives and gently mix so as not to break any of the olives.

Place some plastic wrap over the bowl and place in the refrirator for at lesat 12 hours. Twenty-four is even better. Stir the olive mixture a few times to make sure all of the olives pick up the flavor of the marinade.

Place on a platter to serve. Serve with bread or crackers.

Voilà! Instant deliciousness!!!!  I wonder if the French mind if I use a French word to describe a Greek dish. Hmmmmmmm. I think not. I have always found the French to be very gracious!

Mini-Reuben’s

This recipe is just what its name says. Teeny tiny little versions of the Reuben Sandwich. First time I had these was when I was still teaching school. In fact, it was my first year of teaching. In case you didn’t know, teachers LOVE to party. I am sorry I cannot remember the name of the teacher who threw the party. Isn’t that terrible?? !!

These were delicious and I followed her out to the kitchen to help and watch how she made them. They are so easy I thought, “I can do that!”

This is what you will need for about 15:

NOTE: Except for the corned beef these amounts are approximate as I have never had to measure before. I just assemble them and use what I need to.

¼ pound Corned beef

15 slices of Cocktail Rye Bread

About 6-8 ounces sauerkraut

About 4-6 ounces shredded Swiss cheese*

About ¼ to 1/3 cup 1000 Island Dressing

*NOTE: I had sliced Swiss in my fridge. So I used part of that up. I used a bit less than 3 slices.

ANOTHER NOTE: Served with some soup and a salad or fruit these would also make a quick, easy, and inexpensive dinner.

 Here is what you do:

Turn your oven on to 350 degrees.

If necessary like it was for me, slice your cheese by first cutting into thick strips………….

and then cut the strips into a small dice. If using store bought shredded cheese just put some in a small bowl.

Next just set up for an assembly line. And by the way, this is a great recipe to get your children involved in helping out. There is [usually] no cutting or chopping.

Place the bread on a baking sheet.

Add the corned beef. I just tear it into bite size pieces.

Add about a teaspoon of dressing.

Add some sauerkraut.

Add the cheese.

Place in the oven for about 8-10 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt. I start checking around the 6 minute mark. These took 11 minutes.

Remove from the oven.

Close up straight from the oven.

On a platter ready to serve, eat, and enjoy.

Close up.

I HAVE A CONFESSION TO MAKE: I could have made about 3 or 4 more mini-Reubens. I had more corned beef left. But I ate it while these were heating in the oven. Boy! It sure feels good to get that off my conscious!

Bon Appetit!!!! 
Cost 

Greek Olives

1 large jar of black olives                $1.55

1 large jar of green olives               $2.45

1/3 cup rice vinegar                       $0.68

2/3 cup olive oil                             $1.32

1 bay leaf                                      $0.08

2 cloves garlic                               $0.08

1 teaspoon oregano                       $0.25

Total cost =                                       $6.41

NOTE: A pound of seasoned olives in the deli department at the grocery store starts at around $7.99. So this is a slight bargain.

Cost

Mini-Reuben’s

¼ pound Corned beef                                                            $2.43                         

15 slices of Cocktail Rye Bread                               $1.15

About 6-8 ounces sauerkraut                                 $0.75

About 4-6 ozs shredded Swiss cheese                    $1.68

About ¼ to 1/3 cup 1000 Island Dressing               $0.63

Total cost = $6.64
Cost per Reuben = $0.44
Links to Other New Year Eve Recipes

Mushroom Swiss Crostini

Sunset Punch

Quote of the Day

Dance as if no one were watching, sing as if no one were listening
and live every day as if it were your last.

Anonymous

The information in the blog post on New Year’s traditions came from the following sources:

Wikipedia, Suite 101, NewYearIn, RampantScotland,  FamousWhy, AssociatedContent, and Blurtit.

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