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4 Strange New Year Traditions in the World

Everybody celebrates the start of a new year. Street parties and fireworks extravaganza are now the famous ways to say hello to the start of another 365 days. It usually is a happy day for everyone, regardless of country or religion. The New Year is an opportunity to say goodbye to the past year and enjoy a fresh beginning, and here are 4 strange traditions all over the world which is done every New Year.

RUSSIA

Russia has been under the communist reign for several years and has been deprived of extravagant celebrations. And that is maybe why they have unique New Year traditions like writing a personal wish on a piece of paper, burn it with a candle and mix the ashes with your champagne and drink it when the clock strikes midnight. This is done so because people’s wishes will be made true faster when you internalize (or shall I say, ingest) these dreams.

JAPAN

Most Japanese are Buddhist and they also celebrate New Year but not with loud party music and fireworks but with ringing of the bell, not just once or twice, but 108th times. This first ring is started late on New Year’s Eve in Buddhist temple, and the 108th ring is done exactly when the clock strikes 12. 108 is the number because according to Buddhist religion, this number signifies the human sins and sufferings, and when the bell is rung 108 times it said that you will be cleansed from your sins of the yesteryear.


DENMARK

Lovers, loved ones, friends and even acquaintances, kiss, hug and greet each other at the stroke of midnight. While this is true to most parts of the world, it is quite different in Denmark. Aside from the regular greetings, friends would like it better to see a big heap of broken china in their front steps because the larger the heap means there are also a lot of people liking you. So people grab their old crockery and smash in them on their beloved friends’ front door hoping to get a smashed plate on their front door, as well.

ECUADOR

In Ecuador, each house’s backyard is alighted not with fireworks but with burning scarecrows. The scarecrow represents all the bad things and memories of the previous year, ready to be burned and forgotten. So by midnight, each family light their scarecrow to ward off the bad luck and start the New Year with just good luck and positivity.

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5 Most Unusual Churches in Europe

Cathedrals, churches and chapels, are always fascinating and has a certain mystery to it. In each village the will be not less than 5 chapels or churches within. Some maybe me simple structures but most of them are beautifully designed and engineered. But there is also a few that are more unique than the others. Read through the most unusual churches in Europe.

Chapelle Saint-Quirin, Luxembourg

This small medieval chapel is perched in a rocky wall of the Petrusse Valley hidden amongst the trees and vines. Built for the Patron Saint of Luxembourg Ville, Saint Quirin of Neuss, but was said to be an early sanctuary for Romans. Up to today there is a natural spring water that flows beneath the chapel and was said to be a cure for eye diseases.

Felsenkirche, Germany

This church nestled on the side of a rocky cliff is a landmark of the city of Idar-Oberstein. A legend once told of 2 princes who loved the same beautiful maiden and eventually one of them killed the other by throwing his brother 165 feet below the castle. As an atonement for his sin, a catholic priest told him to build a church in the spot where the prince died. Fact or fiction, this beautiful church is a 230 steps up and has a panoramic view of the little town below. It houses an extraordinary crucifix made of agate, a historic organ and a Gothic baptism stone.

Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe Chapel, France

Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe, which translates to St. Michael on a needle, is the starting point of the Via Podiensis pilgrimage route attracting thousands of pilgrims annually. To reach the top of this 269 feet extinct volcano you have to go up the 268 steps, which surprisingly is not hard to climb since there are benches for resting along the way. Impressive architecture, stained glass windows and a calming and peaceful atmosphere atop are just enough to make you meditate and reflect.

Santuario di San Besso, Italy

This solemn sanctuary in a not so famous part of Italy is built under the cliff called Monte Fautenio. Every 10th of August, pilgrims swarm this hidden chapel to join the procession wherein they carry the statue of their patron saint, Saint Besso around the monolith that has seen the martyrdom of the saint.

Meteora Monasteries, Greece

Built precipitously aloft giant rock formations, are not just one but six monasteries, two for nuns and four for monks. Meteora translates to “hovering in the air” and as the name of the place suggests, these spiritual place is high up in the air almost among the heavens.