Moments that Matter

New Year Traditions: Welcome 2021

sparkler in hand

The New Year can be a very exciting time. It allows us to celebrate making it through another 365 days. In a way, it grants us the ability to start over and set new goals for ourselves. I’d like to highlight some New Year traditions that have been celebrated for years.

New Year’s Resolutions:

I thought I’d start off with one of the most common New Year’s Traditions celebrated all over the world: making a resolution. Resolutions are firm decisions to do or not to do something. Some of the most common New Year’s Resolutions include going to the gym, eating healthier, and saving money. While millions of individuals make New Year’s resolutions, research has found that only 8% actually stick to their resolutions each year. Here are some tips to help you follow through with your resolution:

  • Start with micro-goals
  • Document your progress
  • Embrace the buddy system
  • Practice patience
  • Ask others to hold you accountable

Pennsylvania Traditions:

What Drops at Midnight

Watching the ball drop in New York City captures millions of people’s attention. However, numerous Pennsylvania cities and towns drop different objects at midnight. For instance, in Harrisburg, a strawberry is dropped in Strawberry Square at the Hilton Hotel. Hershey drops their signature treat: a Hershey Kiss. And what better way to bring in the New Year in Lebanon, PA than to drop a 16-foot stick of Lebanon Bologna. Other objects that are dropped in Pennsylvania include, but are not limited to: A Pickle (Dillsburg, PA), a red rose (Lancaster, PA), a Liberty Bell replica (Allentown, PA), and a ball representing planet earth (Pittsburgh, PA).

What to Eat

All over the world, different cultures eat different foods on New Year’s to ensure “good luck.” In Pennsylvania, pork and sauerkraut is the tradition. Germans have been eating pork as a sign of good luck for generations. As they immigrated to the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries, they brought these traditions with them. The tradition continued with the Pennsylvania Dutch and has now spread all across Pennsylvania, and even to neighboring states.

Why pork? This is a valid question and up until this year, I found myself asking the same thing. I learned that unlike chickens who scratch backwards when rooting for food, pigs look forward. Pork symbolizes moving forward and leaving what’s in the past behind you.

And sauerkraut? Legend has it that the Germans would wish each other as many riches as there were shreds of cabbage in the sauerkraut they would eat. It’s safe to say pork and sauerkraut is the meal to eat on New Year’s Day. Even if you don’t think it’ll bring you luck, it’s healthy and delicious.

Other Traditions Around the World:

Brazil: In Brazil, everyone wears white on New Year’s Eve. If you’re at the beach, it’s also a tradition to jump seven waves when midnight hits.

Denmark: In order to ensure good luck, people will go around and break dishes on the doorsteps of their friends and family. It’s also common to stand on a chair and “jump” into the New Year.

Spain: A common tradition in Spain is to eat twelve grapes at midnight. Each grape represents each month of the new year. To ensure good luck, one must eat one grape at each of the twelve chimes at midnight.

Romania: To ensure economic prosperity in the new year, it’s important to have money in their wallet or pocket at midnight.

Here’s to 2021:

No matter what your New Year’s traditions are, I hope you have a happy and healthy 2021!