Goodnight 2010, Good morning 2011!
There is a Finnish tradition of melting tin to forecast the future on New Year’s Eve. The tin is melted on a ladle and poured into a bucket of water. The shape that the cooled tin takes is then used to foretell one’s future.
People celebrating the holiday together look at the shapes of the melted tin and discuss what they think it will mean. I could not find any clues how to decipher the tin’s meaning, but one site did mention that many small pieces of tin predict a financial boon ahead.
In Helsinki, there will be fireworks at midnight to celebrate the New Year. Fireworks are actually a modern iteration of an older tradition. For centuries, people have been making loud noises at the stroke of midnight to ward off evil spirits. This is why church bells ring and people sound horns and kazoos. I believe the expression Ringing in the New Year is also derived from this custom.
From “Ring Out, Wild Bells” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850
Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.