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Luck Around the World Global Good Luck Traditions

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Category: Holiday

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With New Year's upon us, here's a look at some of the good luck rituals
from around the world. They are believed to bring good fortune and
prosperity in the coming year.

AUSTRIA The suckling pig is the symbol for good luck for the new year. It's
served on a table decorated with tiny edible pigs. Dessert often consists
of green peppermint ice cream in the shape of a four-leaf clover.

ENGLAND The British place their fortunes for the coming year in the hands
of their first guest. They believe the first visitor of each year should
be male and bearing gifts. Traditional gifts are coal for the fire, a loaf
for the table and a drink for the master. For good luck, the guest should
enter through the front door and leave through the back. Guests who are
empty-handed or unwanted are not allowed to enter first.

WALES At the first toll of midnight, the back door is opened and then shut
to release the old year and lock out all of its bad luck. Then at the
twelfth stroke of the clock, the front door is opened and the New Year is
welcomed with all of its luck.

HAITI In Haiti, New Year's Day is a sign of the year to come. Haitians wear
new clothing and exchange gifts in the hope that it will bode well for the
new year.

SICILY An old Sicilian tradition says good luck will come to those who eat
lasagna on New Year's Day, but woe if you dine on macaroni, for any other
noodle will bring bad luck.

SPAIN In Spain, when the clock strikes midnight, the Spanish eat 12 grapes,
one with every toll, to bring good luck for the 12 months ahead.

GREECE A special New Year's bread is baked with a coin buried in the dough.
The first slice is for the Christ child, the second for the father of the
household and the third slice is for the house. If the third slice holds
the coin, spring will come early that year.

JAPAN The Japanese decorate their homes in tribute to lucky gods. One
tradition, kadomatsu, consists of a pine branch symbolizing longevity, a
bamboo stalk symbolizing prosperity, and a plum blossom showing nobility.

PERU The Peruvian New Year's custom is a spin on the Spanish tradition of
eating 12 grapes at the turn of the year. But in Peru, a 13th grape must
be eaten to assure good luck.

CHINA For the Chinese New Year, every front door is adorned with a fresh
coat of red paint, red being a symbol of good luck and happiness. Although
the whole family prepares a feast for the New Year, all knives are put away
for 24 hours to keep anyone from cutting themselves, which is thought to
cut the family's good luck for the next year.

UNITED STATES The kiss shared at the stroke of midnight in the United
States is derived from masked balls that have been common throughout
history. As tradition has it, the masks symbolize evil spirits from the
old year and the kiss is the purification into the new year.

NORWAY Norwegians make rice pudding at New Year's and hide one whole almond
within. Guaranteed wealth goes to the person whose serving holds the lucky

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