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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Time to throw the tin - Happy New Year


I am re-posting my blog from several years ago as I wish you all Happy new Year:

Since 1753 the Gregorian calendar has been in use in Finland and January 1st has been the first day of the year. Traditionally the night proceeding the first day of the year has been the time for magical tricks with the intention to open the door to the future.

Casting of tin is one of the most popular magical tricks in Finland on New Year's Eve. Everyone gets a small piece of tin (nowadays mostly lead) in the shape of a miniature horseshoe, which is a traditional symbol of good luck. The horseshoe is melted and the liquid metal poured quickly into a bucket of cold water, where it quickly solidifies in fantastic shapes.
The shape and shadow of the resulting cast is examined and interpreted to predict the various future events of the coming year. Different shapes have different meaning, promising good luck or health, wealth, happiness, sorrow, sickness etc. If the cast breaks down to pieces, it is a sign of "bad luck".
This tradition originates in ancient Greece. These Magical Tricks were later spread to Central Europe and today probably only used in Finland. Instead of tin also beeswax and lead were used.
Click here to see how it is done.

2 comments:

Brenda said...

So interesting, Mervi. I hadn't heard of that tradition. I'm a little concerned that people use lead, as we now know it to be so toxic , especially to children.
I love the idea of doing it with beeswax instead.
Happy New Year !

Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski said...

Traditionally in Finland tin (Sn) is used for this purpose