The start of the New Year is a time to celebrate and reflect, and many European countries have unique and exciting ways to do just that. From red underwear in Spain to pancakes in Belarus, each country has its own traditions that make the holiday special. In France, the iconic Champs-Elysees is often lit up with fireworks and people gather in town squares throughout the country to set off fireworks of their own. In Norway, bonfires are lit and there’s a good chance you’ll hear drums being played in the streets. In Spain, people wear bright red underwear for luck. In Germany, it's common for homes and businesses to light candles in their windows as a way of bringing luck - an activity called Bleigiessen where molten lead is poured into cold water to form shapes which indicate upcoming events. Meanwhile in some Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria or Lithuania, people might greet one another with bread and salt or sip champagne under the clock as they wait for midnight to strike.
When it comes to food on New Year’s Eve, there’s something for everyone! Swedes often eat herring with crackers. In Greece, the traditional dish Vasilopita (or St Basil's cake) is served - a round loaf of bread that’s been decorated with coins so whoever finds one will be lucky all year long! And last but not least Ukrainians go for banosh - a traditional cornmeal dish made with 5 types of cheese and boiled eggs.
No matter where you find yourself on New Year's, there's no doubt you'll experience some unique traditions that only Europeans can offer!