With a name like Scandinavian Homes, you can probably guess that we’re really rather fond of our Nordic neighbours!
Around this time of year, we usually do a blog post about the various Christmas traditions in the Frozen North, but we thought we’d mix things up a bit this time and focus on New Year instead.
There are lots of traditions around New Year in the UK, like the ‘first foot’ in Scotland and the North East of England, the singing of Auld Lang Syne which has migrated from Scotland to lots of other areas, and obviously the fireworks, so we wondered what people get up to in the Scandinavian countries.
It turns out that fireworks are a big deal in all the Nordic countries, and are a part of the celebrations every year (although in Sweden their availability to the general public has been restricted due to a high incidence of accidents in recent years). This generally seems to have come from older traditions of making noise or firing guns to scare off evil spirits.
Another curious shared tradition dating back some decades, involves the watching of an English comedy sketch called Dinner for One, which was actually recorded (in English) by German television in 1962, and has been watched ever since on New Year’s Eve in Finland, Denmark and Sweden as well as in Germany.
In Iceland, people watch a home grown satirical broadcast called Áramótaskaup, which takes the mickey out of the events and news headlines of the past year.
Food plays a big part in the evening’s entertainment too, but there seem to be fewer traditions around what should actually be consumed than there are at Christmas, for example.
Partying is a big deal, and is done more with friends than with family, Christmas being the big family occasion as it is in most other places.
The Weird Stuff
There are some really rather odd traditions around, too.
In Finland, it’s common practice to melt miniature tin horseshoes in a pan and then pour the melted metal into a bucket of cold water, where it solidifies. The shapes that result from this are then used to make predictions about each person’s future for the new year.
In Denmark, people throw old plates at each others’ doorsteps to bring good luck. Apparently the more broken crockery outside your house, the more people like you!
The Danes also ‘jump into the New Year’ off their chairs and sofas – it’s a good thing Scandinavians don’t wear shoes indoors!
It just goes to show that it’s not just the Scots who make a huge deal out of partying at New Year!