Family Friendly Fun

17 Unique New Year Traditions from Around the World

By December 27, 2016 No Comments

If you thought kissing and watching the ball drop at midnight was the norm on New Year’s, wait until you read these unique traditions from around the world. Maybe even try one yourself to ring in 2017.

  1. Philippines: In the Philippines round signifies prosperity, so during the New Year celebration everything is round. People dress in polka dots, display round fruit, and toss coins in pans to bring prosperity.
  2. Denmark: Throughout the year, Danes collect dishes to throw at the front door on the New Year. The more broken plates, the more friends one shall have in the New Year. They also stand on chairs and jump off as the clock strikes midnight to banish bad spirits and bring good luck.
  3. Spain: To bring good luck, it is customary to quickly eat 12 grapes at midnight, one at each strike of the clock.
  4. Chile: Chileans spend the night at the cemetery in order to celebrate and keep their loved ones company on the New Year. newyears-clock
  5. Ecuador: In the name of the good fortune, Ecuadorians burn paper filed scarecrows and photographs from the previous year at midnight. 
  6. South America: In Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela, people wear colored underwear to determine their fate for the New Year. Red means you will find love, gold means wealth, and white signifies peace.
  7. Puerto Rico: In Puerto Rico, throwing pales of water out the window on New Year’s will drive away evil spirits.
  8. Columbia: Residents tote empty suit cases around the block, hoping for a travel-filled year.
  9. South Africa: In downtown Johannesburg, locals throw old appliances out the window, representing the adage ‘out with the old and in with the new.’
  10. Finland: To predict future events in the New Year, Finns cast molten tin into a container of water and then interpret the shape it takes after hardening. A heart or ring shape means a wedding, a ship forecasts travel, and a pig signifies plenty of food.
  11. Scotland: In the town of Stonehaven, bonfires are held where townsmen parade while swinging giant fire balls on poles overhead. The fire balls symbolize the sun to purify the coming year.
  12. Ireland: Banging Christmas bread on the walls and doors on New Year’s chases away the bad luck and brings in the good luck.
  13. Greece: Coins are baked into cakes and whoever has the coin in their slice will have a lucky year.
  14. Belarus: Unmarried women play games to predict who will be wed in the New Year. In one game, a pole of corn is placed in front of each woman. A rooster is then let go and whichever pile the rooster approaches first determines who will be first to marry.
  15. Estonia: Estonians try to eat 7, 9, or 12 times on New Year’s day as they are all lucky numbers. The more they eat, the more plentiful food will be in the coming year.
  16. Switzerland: On New Year’s day in Switzerland, dollops of cream are dropped on the floor to bring luck and a rich year.
  17. Peru: In one Peruvian village, people see out the year with a good old fashioned fist fight to settle their differences. They then wipe the slate clean for the New Year.
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