Celebrating New Year’s Eve Around the World : First 6 Countries

Celebrating New Year’s Eve Around the World : Take a virtual trip and explore how different cultures welcome the new year.

1. United States: Watching the ball drop

Millions of Americans gather around their television sets (or on the streets of Times Square, despite freezing temps) to watch the ball drop at the stroke of midnight each year. Kicking off in 1907 to ring in January 1908, New York Times owner Adolph Ochs created the event to draw attention to the Times’s new headquarters, and it’s been an annual spectacle and one of the most popular New Year’s Eve celebrations ever since.

2. Brazil: Heading to the beach

“In Brazil, people usually go to the beach since it’s the summer there,” says Hudson Bohr, a Brazilian photographer based in NYC. “Immediately after midnight, you’re supposed to jump seven waves while making seven wishes.” The tradition is rooted in paying homage to Yemanja, the goddess of water. “Before you get in the water, you’re supposed to wear all white, as it symbolizes purity,” he explains.

3. Spain: Eating 12 grapes

The Spanish start off their new year by eating 12 grapes, which symbolize each strike of the clock. The tradition of las doce uvas de la suerte started in the late 19th century and is believed to ward off evil while boosting your chances of a prosperous and lucky new year. However, this will work only if you manage to eat all of the grapes in a matter of seconds since they need to be gone by the time the clock finishes striking midnight.

4. India: Building a sculpture of an old man and burning it down

“Back in Bombay we’d make an effigy of an ‘old man’ that symbolized the old year and burn it at midnight,” says Stephanie Fernandes, an associate creative director at BBDO San Francisco. The burning symbolizes the passing of grievances from the old year and makes space for a new year to be born. “Everyone would gather around singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and then it would turn into a little party. Bombay is very cosmopolitan and was home to people of various faiths; therefore, we’d have a ton of different festivals, but this was one that united across ages and faiths.”

5. Japan: Eating soba noodles

Here’s a New Year’s Eve appetizer idea: People in Japan kick off the New Year by eating a warm bowl of soba noodles. The tradition dates back to the Kamakura period and is tied to a Buddhist temple giving out the noodles to the poor. Because the long thin noodles are firm yet easy to bite, it is believed eating them symbolizes a literal break away from the old year.

6. France: Feasting with Champagne

While the notion of drinking wine in France is about as groundbreaking as florals for spring, the French up the ante and go all out on Champagne to celebrate the New Year. There is usually plenty of dancing and party hopping, but the food choices, however, remain the same: sparkling wines are paired with oysters, turkey, goose, or a Cornish hen.

Prompt from 31 Festive Blog Prompts to Spark Your December Writing at Goodvibesonthego.com

Scariest Places In The World : Skinwalker Ranch, Utah (Part 1)

Skinwalker Ranch has been the epicentre of extra-terrestrial and paranormal activity for decades. More recently, the Sky HISTORY show Curse of Skinwalker Ranch has brought the 512-acre plot of land in northeastern Utah to the masses, spreading its remarkable tales of UFO encounters, crop circles, cattle mutilations, and shapeshifting creatures.

1. 300 years of UFO sightings

Skinwalker Ranch is located in the Uinta Basin. The entire Basin in northeast Utah is a renowned UFO hotspot with sightings in the area dating back to the 1700s. Early Spanish explorers following the trade route through the Uinta Basin told stories of strange crafts flying above their campfires at night. UFO sightings ramped up a notch during the 1950s when hundreds of reports of bizarre lights in the sky began to flood in. Sightings became so commonplace that by the 1970s local police forces had stopped filling out incident reports.

2. The ranch borders a Ute Indian reservation

Running adjacent to the Skinwalker Ranch is the Ute Indian reservation. Created during the mid-19th century by the executive order of President Abraham Lincoln, the reservation covers an area of 4.5 million acres.

3. The land is said to be cursed

The sworn enemy of the Ute was the Navajo tribe. During the American Civil War (1861-1865), some Ute bands joined with U.S. military forces against the Navajo. The Navajo were defeated and banished from their lands, forced to march to a reservation in New Mexico. The event is known as the Long Walk, which took two months and resulted in the deaths of at least 200 Navajo. Local legend attests that the Navajo put a curse on the Ute tribe, unleashing malevolent spirits to roam the land in which the Ute lived. In Navajo culture, those spirits are known as skinwalkers, evil witches that can shapeshift into a multitude of different creatures. With the entire Uintah Basin said to be plagued by skinwalkers, it’s no wonder the ranch is named after them.

4. Things changed in the 90s

Although reports of UFOs and skinwalkers existed in the area for decades, Skinwalker Ranch didn’t acquire its reputation as a hotbed of paranormal activity until the early 90s. Before that, it was the home of the Myers family who established various homesteads on the property. Living there until 1987, their tenure was a relatively quiet one with little to no strange activities being reported by them. However, things got weird in 1994, when Terry and Gwen Sherman purchased the ranch after it had laid empty for the past seven years. During the next two years, the Shermans were plagued by paranormal activity which quite literally drove them from the property.