Travel Picks: Top 10 New Year favorites
- IPL spot-fixing case: Net widens, police watching 3 more players, other bookies
- IPL 2013: Imperious Brad Hodge powers Rajasthan Royals to qualifier
- Sonia Gandhi, PM Manmohan Singh slam BJP for disrupting Parliament, stalling bills
- IPL spot-fixing: 'Bookie' Vindoo was close to BCCI chief's son-in-law, say cops
- Jessica Lall case: Shayan Munshi to face perjury trial
There are many customs, local and national, linked with Hogmanay. The most widespread is the practice of 'first-footing' which starts immediately after midnight. First-footing involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbor's home and giving symbolic gifts such as salt, coal, shortbread, whisky, and black bun (a rich fruit cake) to bring luck to the householder. This goes on throughout the early hours of the morning and into the next day, and can last well into mid-January.
But it's not just about ancient traditions in Scotland. On New Year's Day a new custom has begun to take hold - the Loony Dook. Since 1987, the brave (and the mad) have taken the plunge into the icy cold River Forth in Queensferry, Edinburgh for a refreshing start to the year. A sure fire way to get rid of a hangover, the event attracts thousands of Loonies, spectators and swimmers alike.
One of Ecuador's quirkiest traditions sees men putting on their finest frocks and dressing up as women to represent the "widow" of the year that has passed.
However, the focus of the country's celebrations comes in a much more fiery form.
At midnight, families and communities come together to light fireworks and burn Monigotes - papier-mâché effigies - of politicians, public figures and popular culture icons.
The puppets range from small, simple, homemade offerings to giant, detailed, professionally made creations.
The puppets are filled with sawdust or newspaper and, in some cases, firecrackers. Burning the Monigotes represents getting rid of the bad feelings, events and spirits of the past year.
While Christmas in Greece is a relatively solemn occasion, New Year's Day is filled with celebrations and gift giving. January 1 is the name day of Aghios Vassilis (St. Basil), the Greek Santa Claus, and many customs are based upon his arrival.
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