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In Britain, the day after Christmas is called Boxing day and is also a public holiday. Traditional foods in Britain include Christmas cake-a cake containing a lot of dried fruit and usually having a covering of icing made to be eaten at Christmas, and mince pies. Going to bed children leave their stockings and shoes to receive presents the next morning.
In Japan, people hang a rope of straw in front of their houses signifying happiness and good luck. They believe it keeps the evil spirits away. Japanese people begin to laugh the moment the New Year begins, so they will have good luck the whole year. In British Columbia, Canada there is a traditional polar bear swimming, where people put on their bathing suits and jump into icy cold water.
A New Year party on the New Year's Eve is the most common type of celebration in England. When at midnight the chimes of Big Ben are broadcast, they drink a toast to the New Year. The most famous celebration takes place in Trafalgar Square in London, where big crowds gather to welcome the New Year.
The song, "Auld Lang Syne," is traditionally sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world. The custom of singing this song on New Years Eve goes back to the British Isles from the 18th century when guests ended a party standing in a circle and singing this song.
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