New Year is a time for fresh starts, hopes, dreams and saying goodbye to the old year. At this time of festive camaraderie and reflection, online travel adviser Cheapflights (www.cheapflights.com) offers its Top 10 favorite New Year traditions from across the globe.
1. Germany & Finland
How about a spot of fortune telling to ring in the New Year?
Molybdomancy is an ancient technique of divination that involves interpreting the shapes made by dropping molten lead into cold water.
On New Year's Eve in Germany and Finland, family and friends come together for a spot of lead pouring - Bleigießen in German and uudenvuodentina in Finnish - and make predictions for the coming year.
It isn't an exact science and there are no firm rules on what the shapes actually represent. A bubbly surface can mean money is coming your way; a broken shape misfortune. Ships refer to traveling; a ball means luck; a monkey says beware of false friends; and a hedgehog means someone is jealous of you. But don't get too worried if you receive a bad fortune - the predictions are just for fun.
In Mexico, families celebrate New Year's (Vispera de Año Nuevo) with a mix of religion, tradition, superstition and special festive foods.
Families decorate their homes in colors that represent wishes for the upcoming year: red for love, yellow for work and green for money. For even more wishes, Mexicans eat a grape (preferably seedless) with each of the 12 clock chimes at the stroke of midnight, while making a wish with each grape.
To start the year with a clean slate, another tradition involves writing a list of all the bad and unhappy events that happened over the year, then before midnight the list is thrown into a fire and the negative feelings of the past year are gone.
In keeping with the country's Catholic traditions, Mexican sweet bread (Rosca de Reyes) is baked with a coin or charm hidden in the dough. When the bread is served, whoever gets the slice with the coin or charm is said to be blessed with good luck for the New Year.
Calennig, the Welsh name for New Year, means New Year celebration or gift and since ancient times the tradition in Wales has been to give gifts and money to friends, family and neighbors. Today, it is customary to give bread and cheese on New Year's morning, with children receiving