13 New Year's Traditions From Cultures Around The World

Happy (almost!) New Year!

Around the world, cultures welcome the change of the calendar with unique New Year’s traditions of their own. Here are some of our favorite New Year’s traditions around the world.

new year celebration

1. Spain

In Spain, it is customary to eat 12 grapes – one at each stroke of the clock at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Each grape represents good luck for one month of the coming year. In bigger cities like Madrid and Barcelona, people gather in main squares to eat their grapes together and pass around bottles of cava.

2. Colombia

In hopes of a travel-filled new year, residents of Colombia carry empty suitcases around the block. That’s one New Year’s tradition we can get behind! Denmark Residents of Denmark greet the New Year by throwing old plates and glasses against the doors of family and friends to banish bad spirits. They also stand on chairs and jump off of them together at midnight to “leap” into January in hopes of good luck.

3. Finland

In Finland, people predict the coming year by casting molten tin into a container of water, then interpreting the shape the metal takes after hardening. A heart or ring means a wedding, while a ship predicts travel and a pig declares there will be plenty of food.

4. Panama

To drive off evil spirits for a fresh New Year’s start, it is tradition to burn effigies (muñecos) of well-known people such as television characters and political figures in Panama. The effigies are meant to represent the old year.

5. Scotland

During Scotland’s New Year’s Eve celebration of Hogmanay, “first-footing” is practiced across the country. The first person who crosses a threshold of a home in the New Year should carry a gift for luck. Scots also hold bonfire ceremonies where people parade while swinging giant fireballs on poles, supposedly symbols of the sun, to purify the coming year.

6. Philippines

You’ll find round shapes all over the Philippines on New Year’s Eve as representatives of coins to symbolize prosperity in the coming year. Many families display piles of fruit on their dining tables and some eat exactly 12 round fruits (grapes being the most common) at midnight. Many also wear polka dots for luck.

7. Brazil

In Brazil, as well as other Central and South America countries like Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela, it is thought to be lucky to wear special underwear on New Year’s Eve. The most popular colors are red, thought to bring love in the New Year, and yellow, thought to bring money.

8. Greece

An onion is traditionally hung on the front door of homes on New Year’s Even in Greece as a symbol of rebirth in the New Year. On New Year’s Day, parents wake their children by tapping them on the head with the onion.

9. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Copacabana beach is famous for hosting the largest New Year celebrations worldwide! Millions of people from around the world come here to attend the huge party. Traditionally, the local Rio public honors the beach by throwing white flowers into the sea. People also dress up in white as a good luck charm. Fireworks start on New Year’s Eve and continue till the next day.

10. United States

Times Square in New York is a famous place where everyone gathers on New Year’s eve. The tradition is to drop the huge New Year’s eve ball from the Times Square flag pole when it is just 1 minute to midnight. When the ball drops, it releases thousands of confetti, messages on colored paper. These messages have been left by the local public days before the New Year celebrations. People from Southern United States believe in eating black eyed peas and turnip greens on New Year. The peas represent coins and the turnip greens represent dollars. They believe that by doing this, the New Year will bring them good money.

11. Sydney, Australia

The world’s largest firework show on New Year’s is held here. Though the show lasts only for 12 minutes, starting at the stroke of midnight, the beautiful extravaganza attracts people to be a part of this celebration from all over the world.

12. Japan

People in Japan, in the evening of December 31st, eat a bowl of a special type of noodles called ‘toshikoshisoba.’ While eating they listen to the sound of Buddhist temple bells which are rung 108 times at the midnight hour of New year and is supposed to remove all evils and sins.

13. China

To symbolize happiness and good luck in the New Year, Chinese celebrants paint their front doors red. In general, red colors New Years Eve in China, with red packets of money for children, red rackets for married couples, and red lanterns.

How about your country?


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