30 December 2020

At UniCredit Group, every country and culture welcomes the New Year with their own unique traditions. Even as we ring in 2021 from the comforts of our homes, why not try some new traditions to bring prosperity and joy into the New Year

2:00 Min

1. Italy

In ancient times, the Romans often rang in the New Year by gifting each other honey and figs to wish sweet start and a bay branch representing good fortune. Today, Italian customs suggest that eating cotechino e lenticchie before midnight represents a good omen for the year to come (for the vegetarian version, click here). In certain parts of the country, rice represents coins, and eating risotto with lentils is symbolic of a financially blessed New Year.

2. Germany

New Year's Eve traditions are celebrated with a blend of Germanic rituals and Christian beliefs. The festive day is also known as Silvester, in honour of Pope Silvester, the 33rd pope of the Catholic Church and the bishop of Rome from 314 AD. The "Bleigiessen" is a widespread tradition to bring luck, which involves melting a small piece of lead, wax, or tin and pouring it into a cold water glass. The shape it forms in the water reveals your fortune in the coming year. Eating pork and sauerkraut are also among the long-standing German traditions to bring luck and blessings.

3. Hungary

New Year's Eve customs in Hungary includes burning an effigy called Jack Straw. The effigy symbolises the evils and misfortunes of the past year, which is then burned to wish a fresh start for the future. For good luck, have a plate of kocsonya (pork aspic) with lentils to symbolise progress. To double their fortune, Hungarians also eat korhely soup, a hot and sour cabbage broth to cleanse the stomach, also symbolising a new beginning. Avoid serving chicken, Hungarians say, as it will scratch away your luck, while fish will swim away with your fortune.

4. Romania

New Year's Eve is a grand celebration in Romania. Groups of children go from house to house performing the “Plugusorul”, or little plough, a musical performance accompanied by bellringing to bring health and wealth to all the homes they pass by. Mask dances are also magical ceremonies welcoming the New Year with interpretations of death and rebirth. New Year’s Eve dinner is incredibly lavish to foreshadow a prosperous year ahead. Lucky foods include sarmale, or stuffed cabbage rolls, and mititei, traditional grilled sausages.  

5. Serbia

Serbians decorate their Christmas trees and exchange holiday gifts on New Year's Day instead of December 25th. They also celebrate New Year's Eve on January 13, in accordance with the Julian calendar. At midnight on New Year's Eve, Deda Mraz, or Grandpa Frost, visits all the homes and leaves presents under the tree. Lucky foods are abundant, including spit-roasted pig, sarma, tortes, nut rolls, and strudels. Rakija, a fruit brandy blended with whiskey and spices, is often served and typically comes in plum and apricot flavours.