It’s not just us humans who enjoy a new year’s celebration, you know – there are plenty of our fellow creatures who like to join in the party too.
If we head off to Romania, we’ll find folks donning furs and masks to dress up as bears, goats or even horses – they then begin animal themed dances and the most popular one is the bear dance, which is thought to bring health, wealth and happiness to all. Indeed these ‘bears’ are much sought after for being welcomed as the first guest of the new year, bringing good luck to the entire household.
Way down south in the US, possums were traditionally the focal point of the party. The possum was popped into a box and lowered down from a rooftop on the stroke of midnight. Thankfully, concern for the possum’s welfare has intervened and it’s a stuffed possum that now makes the precarious plummet – and if you want to record the occasion for posterity, then why not grab yourself a selfie with the little cuddly character?
All is quiet on New Year’s Day in Belgium – but if you listen carefully, you just might hear some whispering going on – it’s OK, it’s not your New Year’s hangover playing havoc with your hearing – it’s the farmers uttering sweet nothings to their cows, chickens and pigs – hopefully they can conjure up words that their livestock like, so that the whole farm will be prosperous in the year ahead.
If you’re a crustacean then the safest place to spend the new year is Croatia, where it’s believed that to dine on anything that can walk sideways is a definite no no – why? Because it stops you being able to stride forward with purpose into the new year of course.
But over in Japan lobsters are the symbol of celebration, as they’re used to decorate the home on new year to bring long life – hopefully they’re not hanging around too long though, otherwise things might get a little too aromatic.
It’s more of a porcine flavour across in Germany, where it’s a tradition to dine on pork at new years, as pigs have been long been regarded as symbols of wealth, good luck and happiness – so hamming it up is a definite must!
The piggy appreciation extends to the US also, but this time it’s peppermint pigs that are the tasty treat – these little pigs are broken with a candy hammer and shared out to bring everyone the very sweetest start to the new year.
So happy new year to you, whether you’ve got two legs, four, or even more!