As the days that make up 2023 come to an end and the holiday parties ramp up, it seems everyone is looking forward to welcoming a new year. New Year’s Eve offers a time to reflect on the year that has passed, while at the same time hope for a future year that will bring blessings and good tidings. All around the world people will gather to welcome 2024 – and many of those parties will take place around a fireplace.
New Year’s Eve traditions have formed over millennia all across the globe, and your fireplace offers you the ability to start your own traditions with friends and family. Here are some of the world’s oldest and richest New Year’s Eve traditions to jump start your own ideas of how to celebrate at home.
Scotland: Hogmanay’s Fireball Ceremony
In Scotland, New Year’s Eve is known as Hogmanay. This celebration of the last day of the year is one of the largest outdoor celebrations in the world. Torchlight parades, concerts, street dances, and fireworks mark just some of the traditions that have come to be a part of the holiday.
While Hogmanay is meant to celebrate just one day, the celebration in Edinburgh lasts for three days. Of course, many homes open their doors to party goers to take a break from celebrating and warm themselves by the light and heat of their fireplace.
Spain: The Twelve Grapes of Luck
High upon the Puerta del Sol in Madrid Spain is a clock tower, and every December 31st the community looks to it to chime twelve times, thus ringing in the New Year. Family and friends sit around their fireplace with grapes in hand, and with each chime they eat one of the grapes.
Tradition has it that eating these grapes will bring good luck to your household for the coming year. In some regions, it is believed that, in addition to bringing good luck, the grapes ward off witches and evil spirits.
Ecuador: Burning Effigies
The people of Ecuador bid farewell to the old year by making effigies known as “años viejos.” These effigies represent the past year and the things people want to leave behind. The effigies can be in the likeness of anyone, and in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, you can find effigies that look like everyone from Ecuadorian sports heroes to American presidents. In fact, you can even find fictional characters like Spiderman and Spongebob in the mix.
At the stroke of midnight the effigies are thrown into the fireplace and burned completely. This symbolizes the cleansing of the old and the welcoming of a clean slate for the new year. The fireplace in Ecuador becomes a symbol of renewal and redemption.
First Footing: Welcoming Prosperity
People with Scottish and English backgrounds will recognize the tradition of “first footing.” The first person to enter the home after midnight while the family awaits by the fireplace on New Year’s Day is known as the “first footer.” This person often comes with simple gifts like coins, bread, and salt representing prosperity, sustenance, and flavor in the year to come.
Traditions in America
The United States of America is no stranger to the traditions and gatherings that often happen organically around the fireplace. During the long, cold, and dark winter months, homes around the nation keep their fires lit and ring in the New Year around the cozy warmth of a fire. People from around the globe have brought their traditions to American soil and many of them have become unique traditions just for us.
- Bonfires: Of course, not all fireplace gatherings happen inside. Bonfires attract gatherings, as well, and in milder American climates you may spot parties taking place around crackling fires burning away in outdoor fireplaces. At midnight around the nation, fireworks light up the sky and there is no better place to see them than by your own outdoor fireplace.
- Midnight Kiss: As friends and families across America gather to watch the ball drop in Times Square in New York City, it has become tradition to kiss a loved one at the stroke of midnight. A kiss at midnight just might have a bit of luck contained within it.
Ashbusters Is Here for You
So what are your traditions? No matter what they are, Ashbusters Milwaukee wants you to be able to enjoy your fireplace throughout all of 2024. Our expert team at Ashbusters can inspect, clean, and repair your fireplace and chimney. Just give us a call now or schedule online to get started.
So, here’s to a blessed new year for you and your household. May traditions both old and new find a dwelling alongside you and your fireplace this season.