Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful celebration over the holidays and enjoyed ringing in 2022.
This time of year is steeped in cultural and family traditions. New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world bring together eating and drinking customs alongside rituals that are believed to bring good luck for the months ahead. Here is a round-up of some of the most fascinating practices from all over the globe.
Dating back to the time of the Vikings, the Scottish new year celebration, Hogmanay, is considered one of the most passionate and nowhere it is quite as spectacular as Edinburgh. With origins dating back to the Vikings, Hogmanay is celebrated with a torchlit procession followed by a firework display then ceilidh and live music in Princes Street Gardens. And of course, the Scots claim credit for Auld Lang Syne. Originally written by the national poet, Robert Burns, the song is now sung worldwide.
It is customary to eat lentils (lentilhas) and pomegranates (romãs) on Réveillon, the Brazilian New Year. Lentils bring good luck while pomegranates are associated with attracting wealth. Brazilians will often head to their favorite coastal city to celebrate on the beach and pay their respects to the sea goddess, Lemanjá.
How to say Happy New Year in Portuguese: Feliz Ano Novo!
As the clock strikes midnight, Spanish residents eat 12 grapes in swift succession with the belief being that this will inspire good luck for each of the coming months.
How to say Happy New Year in Spanish: ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy holiday season from my family to yours.
In Ireland, an old tradition of leaving a lit candle in the window after sunset represents Mary and Joseph's welcoming light.
In Croatia, the tradition of the Advent wreath is strong. The candle wreath represents hope, peace, joy, and love.
In Chile, the nativity scene is an important tradition. The traditional Christmas cake is ‘Pan de Pascua', which is similar to Panettone.
In Belgium, children believe that 'Sinterklass' brings presents on December 5th and 6th. The children leave their shoes in front of the fireplace with a biscuit or small gift for Sinterklass. The visit of Sinterklass is separate from Christmas since Christmas is a more religious festival.
In Australia, Christmas is celebrated when it is the summer season in Australia, so many children are on holiday during this time. Australians decorate their houses with 'Christmas Bush', a native tree with small green leaves and flowers. In December, the flowers turn a deep red color, which is perfect for decorating at Christmas time.
The pandemic has transformed how we work, socialize, and travel. As we approach the two-year mark of the outbreak, we are slowly but surely seeing a gradual return to a new normal. While governments continue to offer vaccinations and boosters we can finally look forward to a safe resume to travel. This is my advice on how to approach trip planning and visiting loved ones further afield or abroad.
Flexibility is key
For the foreseeable future, booking a trip – particularly overseas – will remain unpredictable. My number one advice to all clients who plan to take a vacation in 2022 is to allow their travel plans to remain as flexible as possible. When booking a trip, ensure that you are covered in case of unforeseen circumstances or cancellation due to the coronavirus. Only book with reputable airlines, hotels, and tour services and pay close attention to their pandemic policy.
Even if at the time of booking a pre-departure or return COVID-19 test is not required, be prepared for this to change without much notice.
Keep on top of the latest figures and stay alert to the possibility of further coronavirus variants being confirmed. If a new variant is discovered close to your travel dates, while this will likely impact your departure preparation, it does not necessarily mean that you will need to cancel your trip.
Once the festivities of the holidays quieten down, January can feel like a somber time of year with inclement weather and a few months to wait before the first signs of spring begin to show. Escaping to a sunny destination is the perfect answer if you want to avoid the January blues.
While the landscape of travel is still not quite back to normal, there are still opportunities for those seeking a last-minute luxury getaway this winter. Here are 6 destinations to add to your radar for this January.
Dutch Caribbean Islands
Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire are tropical havens with beautiful beaches, incredible food, and boutique resorts. Weather is mild and pleasant in the Caribbean during this part of the year while the risk of hurricanes is low. At present, it is possible to visit the Dutch Caribbean islands subject to pre and post-arrival testing but quarantine is not required.
Perfect for wildlife fans, the South American country is the setting of the Galápagos Islands, home to over 2,000 species of endemic wildlife ranging from iguanas, seals, and birdlife. Back on dry land, the small yet diverse Ecuador is blessed with historic cities and regions bestowed with waterfalls and volcanic scenery. December through April is the best time to visit Ecuador and vaccinated travelers are exempt from testing.
Extraordinary trips for exceptional travelers, where the details make all the difference