New Year's Eve Traditions Around the World

During the first week back at school in the new year, Lower Division Learning Specialist Margaret Pennoyer led a chapel about different New Year's Eve traditions around the world.

While watching the fireworks in Central London on television with her 5-year-old niece, Ms. Pennoyer became curious about other customs. She said, “Just as we don’t all go to Times Square on New Year's Eve, people in any given country do not all celebrate in exactly the same way.”  

Eating 12 grapes at midnight in Spain, throwing white flowers into the ocean in Brazil, planting a tree in freezing cold water in Siberia, and ringing temple bells 108 times in Japan were among the interesting and unique examples that were presented. While the students and teachers were fascinated to learn about various cultures and the multitude of ways in which this holiday is honored, they were also asked to reflect on the core similarities. 

“I noticed that almost all of these celebrations involve looking back at the year that has passed and hoping for things to come in the next.” 

After inviting everyone in the chapel to take some time and do the same, students shared some of their own recent accomplishments such as “learning to ride a bike,” and “writing a long story.” They also shared personal goals for the new year like, “finishing an entire chapter book,” "following the Golden Rule," and “getting along with my siblings." 

Ms. Pennoyer concluded by telling the group that she was most proud to have been a helpful sister in 2019 and that in 2020 she hopes to master cooking chicken.