507.

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l)At midnight on December, 31 bells ring out around the world to welcome the New Year.

2) Although certain countries calculate time by other calendars, most countries in the world now number their years according to the Gregorian calendar introduced in the 16th century by Pope Gregory XIII.

3) Bell ringing is one way of celebrating the arrival of a new year which is common to many countries nowadays. But it is the differences in their celebrations and customs which are most interesting for us to know.

4) In Europe traditions are considerably different, but most of them involve a meal or some special food. Swiss housewives, for instance, bake special bread, rich in butter, eggs and raisins. They also cook roast goose.

5) In many countries children go from house to house greeting the hosts and their families and receiving invitations to come inside.

6) There is a practical reason for meals featuring so prominently in these New Year festivities. Most people stay up all night, or at least until midnight «to see New Year in», so food is essential.

7) There is also a common belief that if the New Year begins well it will continue like that. So great efforts are made to provide an atmosphere of good will and plenty.

8 ) In Spain there is a custom to eat 12 grapes at midnight and toast the New Year in champagne at family gatherings.

9) Groups of friends visit restaurants in Turkey intending to spend the night in celebrations which include present giving. 10) Some people in Greece play cards hoping that a win this night will bring them good luck for a whole year.

#1. (…)Is there any common sense in plenty of food in the New Year celebrations?

#2. (…)Do all the countries of the world make use of the same time calculation?

#3. (…) Why is it essential to eat, drink and be merry while welcoming this holiday in?

#4. (…) Why do bells ring around the world on the last day of December? #5. (…) What do Spaniards usually do as a kind of ritual at midnight?

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