January is often called the "second Christmas" when it comes to festive holiday traditions in Europe. From unique food challenges to centuries-old traditions, there's something special about this time of year.
In France, people ring in the New Year with a custom called le Reveillon de Noël - a large feast held on January 6th where families and friends come together to celebrate the start of the year. This traditional meal includes dishes like roasted turkey and tourtière (a pastry pie). In Germany, Epiphany celebrations are known as Dreikönigstag which translates to ‘Three Kings Day’ in English. On this day children dress up as kings and go from door to door singing carols while adults bake special cakes and treats for family, friends and neighbors alike.
The Scots have their own version of celebrating in January as well. On Burns Night, people all over Scotland honor their national poet, Robert Burns, by reciting his work at public events or private dinners. They also tuck into a traditional dish called Haggis Neeps & Tatties - a savory pudding made of sheep’s pluck mixed with oatmeal, cayenne pepper and onions wrapped in sheep’s stomach (although other ingredients such as beef or veal can be used).
Meanwhile Eastern Europeans have a fun challenge they take part in on New Year's Day - eating 12 grapes one at time just before midnight! It's believed that each grape will represent good luck for each month of the upcoming year. And lastly many countries around Europe like Spain or Italy exchange gifts on Three Kings Day (January 6th) as part of their Epiphany celebration rather than waiting until Christmas Day for presents.
No matter what your plans are for January, there's sure to be something special awaiting you throughout Europe!