Greece celebrates New Year’s Day with a public holiday every 1 January, as does most of the rest of the world. However, the celebrations really begin on New Year’s Eve and reach a high point with the turning of the clock from 11:59pm on 31 December to midnight on 1 January.
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New Year’s Day is a time of resolutions and starting fresh for some, while for others it is spent recovering from a big, late night spent with friends and family.
Children in Greece traditionally go carolling on New Year’s Eve and sing to neighbours for small gifts or money. They have special New Year’s songs that are sung each year. This reminds us of Christmas carolling in other countries.
Also, Greeks hang onions outside their homes on New Year’s Eve to bring good luck. They also hang pomegranates. Just before midnight, the family leaves the house. The first person back inside after midnight brings good luck to the home, while another family member smashes the pomegranate. The more seeds scattered, the luckier!
On New Year’s Day, it is an old tradition that a special cake is baked with a coin inside. Whoever gets the piece with the coin gets a year full of good luck.
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