Four thousand years ago in ancient Babylon, New year was celebrated and documented. A religious festival called Akitu. It was a victory of the Babylonian sky god Marduk over the evil sea goddess Tiamat. A political celebration of a new King or to renew the current leaders rule. During the Akitu, statues of the gods paraded through the city streets. A celebration of victory over the forces of chaos. The rituals symbolically cleansed and recreated the world by the gods in preparation of the new year. Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for over four thousand years. Today we celebrate New Year’s festivities on December thirty first, New Year’s Eve. It is the last day of the Gregorian calendar. The celebrations continue into the early hours of New Year’s Day. New year traditions include attending parties, watching fireworks across the night sky, eating and popping bottles and making resolutions for the new year.
Different countries and people celebrate peculiar custom new years traditions. In Spain, the Spanish eat twelve grapes of luck when the clock bell strike at midnight of December thirty first to welcome the New Year. Other traditions eat legumes that resemble coins and welcome future financial success. In Italy it is lentils, and in the Southern United States, it is black-eyes peas. Pigs represent progress and prosperity in Cuba, Austria, Hungary and Portugal. These countries serve pork on New years eve for good luck. The Netherlands, Mexico and Greece traditionally serve round pastries resembling a full circle and completion of the year. Sweden and Norway serve rice pudding with an almond hidden inside. If you find the almond nut, you can expect twelve months of good fortune.
The habit of resolutions for the new year started among the ancient Babylonians who made promises to earn the favour of the gods and put the right foot forward. The most iconic New Year’s tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in New York City’s Times Square at midnight. This tradition started in 1907.
In South Africa, we celebrate a second New Year. The holiday originates from the seventeenth-century slavery to grant workers a day after New Year’s Day on January the second. It is a tradition of engaging in cheerful singing, dancing, and parading through the streets. Today brass bands are incorporated, and people’s outfits are bold and colourful. This occasion turns Cape Town’s streets into a vibrant display of beats and lively music.
Traditionally Ballito is buzzing on New Year Eve with a street party and many festivities spilling out onto every street corner on the North Coast.
The fireworks display at the Durban harbour is a highlight. The Oyster box dinner full of spice and celebratory vibes. It will be a more isolated celebration with social distancing and smaller intimate parties to enjoy the warm night and the ocean air cooling down the year-end fun.
In South Africa, we celebrate survival, prosperity, health and good fortune. If you are on holiday in the North Coast, it will be a calmer New year. The restrictions are preventing large gatherings and festival parties traditionally hosted. This year we are celebrating being healthy and look forward to a more prosperous 2021. Please keep your animals safe this festive season from fireworks and noise pollution. We wish you a safe and healthy New Years Celebration from the North Star Micro Hotel. We are excited to host you in 2021.