This New Year’s Eve, the discussions here in Bucharest, Romania centered around traditions (customs, superstitions) about the New Year.
Such as . . .
1. The noise drives away evil spirits. So bring on the fireworks!!
2. You’re supposed to eat fish. Don’t know exactly why. It’s easier on the body than the pork we eat for Christmas, and some people here on TV speculated that the New Year should be similarly lighter in problems and things hard to digest. Maybe you know the real reason.
3. Keep some money in your pocket. (Our forefathers presumably kept grain.) That’s good advice for all year round, I’d say.
4. Wear red undies. Another piece of good advice. I wondered where that came from. Thought maybe China, where red symbolizes good luck and is also tied to the Chinese New Year. Then I read that red is supposed to bring love and good luck according to Mexican traditions as well.
5. Eat grapes and pomegranates. There’s a tradition of twelve grapes in Spain, one by one, as the clock strikes midnight. Not sure about pomegranates.
6. Leave doors and windows open at midnight so that the old year can go away. I like that one.
7. Old Romanian tradition that’s still well known if not often carried out: Take an onion and remove 12 layers for each month of the year. Sprinkle them with salt. Then on January 1 have someone versed in charms and magic take a look at the amount of water moved out of the onion, to see how much rain or drought each month will get.
8. Don’t mention dead people. That’s strange, because another custom says you should light a candle for them, so obviously when you do that you at least think of them.
9. Don’t enter the New Year owing money, or you’ll be owing money the whole year. Well, hard to put this one in practice.
9. Make a wish at midnight! Easy as pie.