Christmas and New Year, everywhere in the world, trigger a moment of well-being, joy and serenity that takes us back to our roots, our history and our values.
Christmas fir trees decorate cities and villages to show us that the time for invincible festivities has arrived.
We are thinking about all our associates, their families and loved ones and hope they enjoy the holiday season in keeping with their traditions. They are French, German, Austrian, Hungarian, Portuguese, Filipino…
Let’s see how they celebrate the arrival of the New Year.
To bring a touch of the exotic to our festive tour, we wanted to know how Christmas is being celebrated in Southern Africa. Why? Because CroisiEurope has found an anchoring point there for a safari-cruise offered for the last two years around the Chobé national park. These trips always bring us into close contact with local populations.
Indeed, the moment has come to have fun around wonderful meals, and to wish everyone the best for 2017: happiness, health, family joy, professional success!
RITES AND TRADITIONS
There is magic in the crossing over from the old to the new year. Rites, superstitions…
The 31 December, at the moment when midnight chimes, a little everywhere in the world, all hopes are crystallised.
We all call out wishes of luck and good fortune and we bury the year that has just come to an end in good spirits.
In France, we kiss each other and wish each other “Bonne année” (happy new year), preferably under the mistletoe to bring luck and we uncork the champagne.
...And you, how do you proceed where you live?
In Portugal: Bom Ano Novo! Saude! Tchim tchim!
In Portugal, at midnight, you have to eat twelve raisins, as many as the strokes that strike, without saying a word between each one, but making a wish for the twelve months to come.
In Spain: ¡Feliz ano! ¡Salud!
In Spain too, we eat twelve raisins to the twelve strokes of midnight and while making wishes.
Another tradition says that we should wear red undergarments.
In Hungary: Boldog Ujévet! Egészségedre!
The New Year’s meal is placed under the aegis of prosperity with a lentil dish. Then we eat baijglin – a Christmas cake with poppy seeds. In Budapest, the crowd overflows in the streets of the city, the fireworks crackle on the banks of the Danube.
In the Philippines: Mabuhay!
On 31 December, a public holiday for them, Filipinos make a deafening and joyous din to chase away bad luck. Roast suckling pig, the lechon, is the favourite dish at the midnight feast which includes lots of rounds things: fruits, sweets – as circles are supposed to bring luck.
In Germany and in Austria: Gutes neues Jahr! Prost!
The Germans want to know what to expect. They melt, over a candle, a little piece of lead that they drop into cold water.
As it sets, it gives rise to a little sculpture whose shape they interpret. Austria is the country of the famous Viennese waltz. When midnight strikes twelve times, everywhere in the country everyone turns round to the sound of “Blue Danube”.
CHRISTMAS IN SOUTH AFRICA AT 35° IN THE SHADE
In South Africa, three quarters of the population are Christian. The birth of baby Jesus is celebrated all over the country at 35° in the shade, in the middle of summer, around a swimming pool or on the beach. The dream of being together around the emblematic Christmas tree is a little expensive. This imported product is reserved for the wealthy and expatriates who celebrate in the western style. Although Father Christmas climbs up the supermarkets in the cities, you won’t see him in the popular districts where his presence would be odd. However, he is there in the right place, symbolically. The African people not only have a sense of tradition, but also of recuperation. Their ‘Christmas trees’ are designed from local bushes, metal wire and palm and banana leaves. The African family gets together around a well-stocked table outside and feasts for hours. The Christmas meal is copious and gives pride of place to local everyday dishes washed down with sodas, beer and palm wine. The braai, traditional barbecue of the country, is often on the menu, but many tables are graced with specialties from the United States and England. As regards ethnic groups, some of them prepare pap, maize porridge and moroga, made of spinach and onions and goat or beef meat. After the meal, the children receive little gifts made of practical everyday objects (rubbers, notebooks, soaps, etc.) or made locally by the members of the family… with a lot of imagination!
For Christians, Christmas Eve continues in the churches where traditional midnight mass is being held.