FORT POLK, La. — For many — much to the chagrin of area pet owners and those with small children — New Year’s Eve is marked by various beverages, a midnight kiss and many fireworks.However, those aren’t the only New Year traditions. Check out these activities from around the world:• In ancient Thailand, guns were fired to frighten off demons.• In China, firecrackers routed the forces of darkness.• Today, Italians let their church bells peal and the Swiss beat drums.Eat something specialMany New Year traditions concern food.Here are a few:• In the southern United States, black-eyed peas and pork foretell good fortune.• Eating any ring-shaped treat, such as a donut, symbolizes “coming full circle” and leads to good fortune. In Dutch homes, fritters called “olie bollen” are served.• The Irish enjoy pastries called bannocks.• In India and Pakistan, rice promises prosperity.• Apples dipped in honey are a Rosh Hashanah tradition.• In Swiss homes, dollops of whipped cream, symbolizing the richness of the year to come, are dropped on floors and allowed to remain there.Drink a beverageAlthough the pop of a champagne cork signals the arrival of the New Year around the world, some countries have their own traditions:• “Wassail,” the Gaelic term for “good health,” is served in some parts of England.• Spiced “hot pint” is the Scottish version of wassail. Traditionally, the Scots drank to each other’s prosperity and offered this warm drink to neighbors along with a small gift.• In Holland, toasts are made with hot, spiced wine.Give a giftNew Year’s Day was once the time to swap presents. Check out these gifts from around the globe:• Gifts of gilded nuts or coins marked the start of the new year in Rome.• Eggs, the symbol of fertility, were exchanged by the Persians.• Early Egyptians traded earthenware flasks.• In Scotland, coal, shortbread and silverware were traditionally exchanged for good luck.In addition to the above trivia, each month Guardian staff will peruse the Old Farmer’s 2021 Almanac and bring Guardian readers other interesting tidbits of information.Natural remedies for beating a coldWhat’s the best way to beat a cold?Here are a few natural remedies for the body and mind• Rose hip tea is full of vitamin C and can help prevent colds.• Lemons, oranges and apple cider are considered cold remedies.• For chills, take fresh ginger root.• Historically, the layers of the onion were believed to draw contagious diseases from patients; onions were often hung in sick rooms.• Boil a whole onion, and afterward, drink the water. You can add a little butter and salt if the taste is unbearable.• Cut up fresh garlic cloves and add them to chicken soup or other foods, or swallow small chunks of raw garlic like pills.• Horseradish generates lots of heat to help offset colds.• Eat hot and spicy foods like chili to clear the sinuses.• Prunes are rich in fiber, vitamins A and B, iron, calcium and phosphorus.•To treat sore lips, go to bed with honey on them.• For cracked lips, massage them with a dab of earwax — preferably your own.Home remedies for dry skinThe low humidity and harsh conditions in winter can lead to flaky, itchy, dry skin.Here are a few precautions you can take:• As soon as you get out of the shower or tub, while your skin is still damp, slather on the moisturizing lotion.• Choose a lotion that has petroleum jelly or lanolin high on the ingredients list.• Don’t go outside in any season without using SPF of at least 30 on your face and hands.• Add lemon juice or vinegar to bathwater. Soap, which is highly alkaline, may make your skin feel itchy.• To soften dry skin, add one cup of powdered milk to your bath. (It apparently worked for Cleopatra.)• Avoid hot water or lengthy immersions, which will strip your skin of its natural oils.That’s it for January. Check back in February for more trivia from the Old Farmer’s 2021 Almanac.