Happy New Year everyone! Wishing everyone a year even better than their last! Mine is starting off pretty great, we are here in Lappeenranta with my mom and sister! It is so nice to have family in town for the holidays.
While talking with my mom this morning, I realized that six of my past seven New Years have been celebrated in Europe. Thats since I was a junior in high school! Crazy. That has taught me to expect nothing in particular from each place on New Years Eve, each country has its own traditions. I will go through each place we have been and say the tradition/what happened that surprised me the most.
Spain - We were in a smaller mountain town. Everything (restaurants/bars/shops etc.) completely closed until around one in the morning. We were so starving (traveling with a family with my little sister) and finally our hotel found us a place we could order pizza. So there was nowhere to go out, and nowhere to eat. It was an eat pizza in the lobby with your family and get a good night of sleep kind of night.
Ireland - What a great city, Galway, Ireland. It was crazy, people everywhere, everything open and just packed with people. We were traveling with our family and we hadn't made any reservations for a hotel for the night... we did finally find a place to stay. I guess Galway is one of the best places to celebrate the Irish New Year, it is a youthful town full of college students. I think Ireland got the best of everyone, in a good way! The Irish are so nice.
Sweden - Our first year in Sweden (Oskarshamn) we were informed that most places would be closed for dinner that night so we had reservations made with friends for dinner in town and it was a fun but rather low key New Years Eve. The second year there my whole family was in town so we had a party at our place with some team-mates. We had some Swedish glogg. What happened was that we missed the countdown, but I was the only one that noticed. A few minutes after midnight I just started a countdown and everyone followed my lead. Last year in Stockholm, (you can read last years post here) I was sick so we didn't celebrate. That didn't mean that the rest of Stockholm hesitated to set off fireworks every ten minutes for about 48 hours. That was strange, especially in the daytime, I mean its light out!
Finland - Once again, we were lucky enough to have family here to celebrate! We had a nice dinner here at home in our apartment timed perfectly with the eight o'clock firework show in the harbor (perfect view from our window) and then got ready and went out in in town for a little while before walking back to the harbor to see the midnight firework show. A friend of mine told me about a Finnish tradition of melting horseshoes over the stove until they turn into a liquid, then pouring that into cold water and whatever shape it forms is how your year will be. There is no clear guide (that we could find) about the shapes and what them mean. So mine looked like a lion, and I am deciding that that means it will be a beautiful, strong, year with the ones I love. That is such a fun tradition! We made sure to get some extras to share back home!
My favorite part of the New Year is not the crowded gym, or the fireworks, or the eve's celebrations, but just the general beginning of a new year. I think for many people it lifts them up and brings so much positivity into their lives that the population as a whole is just happier and it radiates through everything that they do!