New Year’s Eve is a really crazy moment. We all celebrate the end of the old year hoping that the new one will be better. And when you look at the year behind us, it is somewhat obvious…
Today we are going to take you to a trip around the world to show you some unusual facts about this special night!
#1 The New Year’s Eve legend
Very few of us know that this night is connected with the pope called Sylvester (that’s why in some countries the night is called Sylvester’s night. And, believe it or not, the legend stars a… dragon!
According to the legend, some pagan priests arrived at the court of Constantine the Great to inform him that a dragon had been dwelling near Constantinople since the day the emperor was baptized. Every day the dragon would kill 300 people with its poisonous breath and it did not want to stop.
The emperor went to see Sylvester, the pope, who decided to pray to the God to help him tackle the problem. And this is when Saint Peter appeared and gave him a clue how the beast could be stopped. The head of the church went into the dragon’s cave together with two priests and said a prayer they had been taught by Saint Peter.
Then they tied the dragon’s mouth and sealed it with a ring. When the pagan citizens of Constantinople heard about what the pope had done, they immediately converted to Christianity. And if you think it’s the end of the story, then you are wrong!
Sylvester II found out in 999 that the beast allegedly tied by his predecessor (Leviathan) was about to set free as soon as the year 1000 started.
The beast was believed to be hidden under the Vatican and, while breaking free, it was to destroy the entire Rome. However, when the clock struck midnight, nothing happened. Enthusiastic crowd, including the pope, began to celebrate it. And this is where the New Year’s Eve night celebration possibly comes from.
#2 Fireworks were invented by the Chinese
You might already know that anything that flies up in the air and booms up there was brought from the Far East, namely China. Black gunpowder was first mentioned in records dating back to 9th century. Originally it was only used for entertainment and religious purposes. Only later people unfortunately discovered that it could be used for military purposes.
The most important piece of the firework were bamboo sticks to which the charge was attached.
#3 New Year’s Eve? Let’s go to the graveyard!
The citizens of Talca, Chile, have got a very peculiar approach to this festival. They spend it on… graveyards. As the New Year is a very important moment there, they cannot imagine spending it without their families, which applies both to the living and the dead ones. Although for some it might seem dark and depressing, the locals believe that spending that night with their dead relatives brings them a lot of peace and good luck throughout the whole New Year.
Moreover, after midnight they eat 12 grapes (standing for 12 months) and wear yellow underwear, which is supposed to bring them good luck and love.
People who would like to spend a lot of time travelling in the upcoming year, should take out their travel suitcase, bearing in mind it has to be empty!
#4 Starting the New Year with bells
Since 1873 the Japanese have been celebrating the New Year’s Day on 1 January, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. Before they had been following the Chinese moon calendar. However, there are still places where the old guidelines are still observed. This event is called san-ga-nichi, which means ‘three days of January’ as this is how long it takes to celebrate the beginning of a new year there.
On 1 January the bells go ringing all over the country and they strike exactly 108 times. According to Buddhist believes, this is to purify the people of Japan – the number refers to human evil desires and worries. The night is not an opportunity to have a loud party, but a chance to spend some time together with your family. So instead of going to a crowded party they stay at home enjoying the company of their relatives and playing board games or taking photos.
#5 Furniture out of the window!
We all know the Italians can be hot-headed. Still, the things they do at New Year’s Eve are simply speaking insane. In some parts of Italy it is still quite common to see people throw out some useless items out of their windows. So, walking down a picturesque Italian street, don’t be surprised to see some old thing falling instead of cracking fireworks!
Moreover, on December 31 Italians wear red underwear as this is believed to ensure good luck and lots of love. And just like in Chile, people also eat 12 grapes symbolizing 12 months of the new year.
So next time you celebrate New Year’s Eve in Italy just look out and look up! You never knows what might fall…