Travel Picks: Top 10 New Year favorites
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In keeping with the country's Catholic traditions, Mexican sweet bread (Rosca de Reyes) is baked with a coin or charm hidden in the dough. When the bread is served, whoever gets the slice with the coin or charm is said to be blessed with good luck for the New Year.
Calennig, the Welsh name for New Year, means New Year celebration or gift and since ancient times the tradition in Wales has been to give gifts and money to friends, family and neighbors. Today, it is customary to give bread and cheese on New Year's morning, with children receiving skewered apples covered with raisins and fruit. In some parts of Wales, people must visit all their relatives by midday to collect their Calennig. That's a lot of bread and cheese!
The Japanese New Year (Oshogatsu) is marked with a range of cultural and religious traditions from eating special family meals and making temple visits to sending postcards. Since 1873 Oshogatsu has been celebrated on January 1, but traditionally it followed the Chinese lunar calendar. Ōmisoka (New Year's Eve) welcomes Toshigami, the New Year's god, and across the country people celebrate with concerts, countdowns and fireworks as well as more traditional activities.
It is customary to send handwritten New Year's Day postcards (nengajo) to friends and family and the post office guarantees any cards sent in time will arrive on January 1.
Food plays a big part in New Year's celebrations. People eat a special selection of dishes called osechi-ryori, including of boiled seaweed (konbu), fish cakes (kamaboko), mashed sweet potato with chestnut (kurikinton), simmered burdock root (kinpira gobō),and sweetened black soybeans (kuromame).
Around 11 pm, people gather at home for one last time in the old year and eat a bowl of noodlesólong noodles are associated with crossing over from one year to the next.