Viewing the New Year Unconventionally
With the New Year right around the corner, it is time to pull out the sparkly dress, party hats and champagne as friends and families gather to say goodbye to 2013 and welcome 2014.
Americans celebrate a number of different ways, whether it be at an intimate dinner party or an overcrowded bar, but there are common threads that link everyone together. For instance, many Americans carry on the tradition of kissing at midnight, watching the ball drop in Times Square and toasting with champagne.
While this may be what many of us are accustomed to, I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look and see how other countries ring in the New Year.
In Scotland, and other parts of the UK, the first dark haired male to arrive at a house after midnight is supposed to bring good luck. This is known as 'first footing' and the man usually brings gifts like money, bread or coal to make sure the family has a plentiful New Year.
In Germany, people drop molten lead into cold water and observe the shape it takes as a way to predict their future.
The people of Hungary burn effigies, using a scapegoat to represent the evils and misfortunes of the past year, which rids them of bad luck.
Those in Denmark believe that throwing dishes on someone's doorstep guarantees that they will have many friends in the New Year (Ikea must love this).
The Portuguese and Spaniards pick and eat twelve grapes as the clock approaches midnight, representing twelve happy months in the coming year. The list of additional New Year's customs can be found here.
These New Year's traditions taught me that there is no right way to ring in the New Year, and that almost nothing in this world is limited to one correct path. This can especially be said for public relations, which is the main reason why I love this field. Our industry is always changing and evolving, and our clients rely on us to "Ëœthink outside the box' and generate creative ideas. As public relations professionals, it is our responsibility to escape our comfort zones, and in turn, make our clients do the same by providing them with "Ëœbig ideas' and unique campaigns. We should always be open to new methods of conducting business (and celebrating) because that is when some of the best ideas are generated.
So when you reach for your champagne glass as the countdown to 2014 begins, go ahead and pick twelve grapes while you're at it; you may be inspired by trying something new.