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~ New Year in Belgium ~

In Flanders, where I live in Belgium, New Year's Eve is called Oudejaarsavond.
At midnight everyone kisses and exchanges good luck greetings. The cities, bars, and restaurants are crowded with people who bid farewell to the Old Year. Many people, celebrating at home, fire off fireworks in their garden at midnight.
New Year is called Nieuwjaar. The children have written a New Year's Letter. (Nieuwjaarsbrief) I think Belgium is unique with that. On New Year's day, they read it to their parents, grandparents and god parents, and are rewarded with money for their saving piggie. A Flemish wish for New Year is Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!

January 6th another tradition continues. It's called Driekoningen. (Three Kings) Families bake a cake in which is hidden a dry bean. Whoever gets the piece containing the bean is King of the day. Many children dress like the Three Wise Men. They move from house to house singing carols, and get small gifts of sweets. It marks the end of the Christmas holiday.

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