Every country and culture has its own traditions to celebrate the new year. Many rituals around the turn of the year are centuries old, others are 'only' a year or 50. Here you will find the most important Old Dutch traditions around old and new in a row!
Deep fried doughnut balls
One of the reasons why oliebollen are so deeply anchored in our old-and-new ritual is because it is really winter food. The ingredients all stay well in the winter - even before the time of deep-freeze and conservation - and oliebollen lay a hefty soil in the stomach. That way you feel less hungry and cold. During the time when poor people went to sing a song between Christmas and New Year's Eve, a solid donut was a valuable gift. We still eat donuts and apple fritters as if we had not eaten for days, but it is just one of the many treats on New Year's Eve.
With fireworks we scare away evil spirits, so we start the new year 'clean'. At least, that's traditionally the thought. Nowadays, the fireworks tradition is more of a bouncing into the new year! Watching each other and enjoying the beautiful fire arrows above the house ... Yet all that (bright) fireworks are coming up against more and more people, and this (non-dangerous) tradition seems to be coming to an end.
If you want to do the champaign tradition well, you'll have to make the cork pop big: you'll shoot away the old year. In fact, that is what happens with old and new in many households: the champagne pops, we toast, drink two gulps and go outside to light fireworks. A good bottle of champagne was spent on few people on this evening!
We start at 12 o'clock, and continue until at least a week after New Year: other people want it best. We also like to receive these wishes, and a lot of people have a deep feeling that 'expressing the best wishes' about another person actually influences their well-being ... In the past, even money was given if you wanted someone the best: here comes the tradition that newspaper deliverers with a ticket and the best wishes come alongside the door, hoping for a tip!
New Year's dive
Since the nineties the New Year's dive has become a true tradition in the Netherlands, which is being followed all over the world. The official dive in Scheveningen even appears on television in Asia! In many places in the Netherlands people dive into the cold sea or a cold lake on New Year's Day, and thus start a fresh start to the new year.
Good intentions are also a true tradition in the Netherlands. We can not just leave it! Even though we know that most good intentions do not last long; the new year feels like a clean slate on which we can write new habits and healthy behaviors. And well, every bit helps.
New Year's Eve conference
A wonderful way to start New Year's Eve: watching the New Year's Eve conference with family. Already in the sixties Wim Kan was on the radio with a New Year's Eve performance, after which it slowly but surely grew to a traditional television broadcast. On New Year's Day it will be announced which comedian or cabaret performers will hold the New Year's Eve conference.
This tradition is mainly found in the North and East of the Netherlands and usually happens during the day. The substance carbide is placed in a milk can and a little wet, after which the can is closed with a lid or ball. The blast of the carbid results in a deafening bang and shoots the lid or ball a few meters ahead. Carbid shooting is now placed as the 50th tradition on the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
With which traditions do you announce the new year?