We countdown, pop champagne and kiss someone at the stroke of midnight, some of us even sing Auld Lang Syne. But how are others around the world ringing in the New Year?
Spain – It is customary to eat 12 grapes at the 12 strokes of midnight, one for good luck for each month of the coming year.
Philippines – Round shapes, like coins, signify prosperity, and many Filipino families display heaps of round fruits on the dining table for New Year’s Eve. Similarly the Dutch eat donuts for the same reasons.
Greece - The new year is brought in by eating a cake with a coin baked inside for prosperity.
Denmark - The Danes save old dishes throughout the year to throw them at the homes of their friends, as it is a sign you have many friends. They also jump off chairs simultaneously at the stroke of midnight.
Brazil - The Brazilians make sure to wear red or yellow underwear, signifying love and prosperity.
China - Although their new year is different than ours, the Chinese pass out money to their relatives in red envelopes for happiness and prosperity.
Korea - A special soup called dduk-guk is prepared, with rice cakes to signify that we are all one year older.
Finland - In Finland and Germany, molten metal is poured into a cold bowl of water, and the shape it takes is interpreted as the fortune for the New Year.
Wales - The Welsh open and shut the back door at midnight to release the old year and lock out all its bad luck.
Scotland - The Scottish New Year is Hogmanay where they practice “first-footing” which dictates that the first person to cross the threshold of a home in the New Year should carry a gift for luck (whiskey is the most common).
What are your New Year’s traditions? Tweet us at @plangoplango and let us know!
Awards season is fast-approaching for Hollywood, and we’ve singled out the most talked-about and critically praised foreign films of 2011!
The Artist – (France) This year’s surprise favorite – a French silent film set in 1920′s Hollywood. Audiences can’t help themselves from cheering at the end.
In a Better World – (Denmark) The 2011 Oscar Winner for Best Foreign Film is set in Denmark and a refugee camp in Sudan, about the lives of two families intersect after their young sons bully each other.
The Skin I Live In – (Spain) Pedro Almodovar’s latest project features a scientist who invents indestructible skin and his relationship with the woman who acts as his guinea pig.
In The Land of Milk and Honey – (US/Bosnia) Angelina Jolie’s controversial directorial debut is about a female Bosnian POW who falls in love with her captor.
A Separation – (Iran) Debuting to critical praise, A Separation focuses on an Iranian middle-class couple who separate, and the intrigues which follow when the husband hires a lower-class caretaker for his elderly father.
The Flowers of War – (US/China) Amidst much controversy, Christian Bale stars in this historical movie set during Japan’s rape of Nanking in 1937, about a Westerner who finds refuge with a group of women in a church and poses as a priest to lead the women to safety.