Happy New Year from Vertetude

Wishing you an inspiring, illuminating, and invigorating 2014.

To launch a new year of fresh beginnings and uncharted adventures, we start by honoring old traditions and rituals to smooth this auspicious transition and ensure good luck and prosperity. We bring you 14 New Year’s traditions from around the globe as we await the arrival of 2014. Hover over the image to zoom in and scroll below for details on each.

With appreciation for all you do,
Pascha Scott, David Prindle, Jonny Bobgan and the Vertetude team.

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1. Japan
Before midnight 108 bells ring, each chime eliminates one of the 108 Buddhist sins, and starts the New Year free from evil. Families and friends stay in touch with New Year’s postcards written by hand with ink-dipped brushes. On the second of January family members scribe favorite poems or proverbs on long strips of paper.

2. Russia
Grandfather Frost arrives on New Year’s Eve dressed in blue, carrying a bag of toys for all of the children. Evildoers beware; Grandfather Frost will freeze those who deserve punishment.

3. Taiwan
Relatives give children red envelopes filled with lucky money. By wearing red and tossing firecrackers to ward off evil spirits everyone ensures a good and prosperous year to come. The celebration culminates with the glowing Lantern Festival on the 15th night after the new moon.

4. Vietnam
Vietnam’s New Year’s festival is called Tet which takes place on the first day of the first month of the Lunar calendar. On the last day of the celebration, families display a bamboo tree in the family garden, decorated with bells, flowers and red streamers designed to guard against evil spirits.

5. Brazil
In homage to Iemanja, the mythological goddess of water, a boat laden with flowers, candles and jewelry is launched into the open ocean from Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro on New Year’s Eve as an offering for good tidings.

6. Austria
New Year’s Eve is glamorous in Austria. At midnight, dancers waltz to the Blue Danube at the Imperial Ball. At dinner parties throughout the country a roast suckling pig is served. Sweets shaped like little pigs decorate the festive party tables for good luck.

7. United States
Fireworks light up the night, a crystal ball drops in Times Square and the iconic Space Needle is bathed in explosions and flame, synchronized to music.

8. Romania
On New Year’s Eve dancers in bear and goat masks arrive to celebrate the animal energy of the New Year.

9. China
A dancing dragon, representing longevity and wealth, weaves its way through the New Year parade crowds, powered by 50 dancers who bring the silk creation to life with twists, turns and blinking eyes. 2014 is the year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac.

10. Thailand
During Songkran, the Thai New Year’s festival, people shower buckets of water over each other, symbolizing refreshment and renewal, and release birds from their cages for good luck in the new year.

11. Scotland
Burning juniper branches cleanse Scottish homes of illness and disease to bring good health in the new year. In 1796 Robert Burns’ poem Auld Lang Syne was first published, but in the U.S. Guy Lombardo popularized it in song in 1929, creating this annual ritual.

12. Ireland
Old Celtic traditions included passing out mistletoe on New Year's Eve to ward off bad luck. And single women put mistletoe under their pillows hoping to dream of the husbands they will find in the New Year.

13. Spain
As the clock reaches midnight, revelers pop one grape for each chime of the clock, followed by a toast with glasses filled with Cava sparkling wine, to bring a prosperous new year.

14. South Africa
In Johannesburg, an old New Year’s custom was to throw furniture out the window at the stroke of midnight. And on New Year’s Day, revelers begin the Carnival dancing in the streets, wearing colorful costumes and beating drums.

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