Every country has its New Year’s traditions, but here is a visual blog of the funniest and most unusual traditions we’ve discovered from around the globe.
What’s your New Years tradition? Add it to the list below…
You must eat a grape (or uvas) with each bell strike at midnight for prosperity. Each grape supposedly signifies good luck for one month of the coming year. In Madrid, Barcelona, and other Spanish cities, revelers congregate in the main squares to gobble their grapes together and pass around bottles of cava.
Wear brand-new pink underwear to attract love.
Walk around your block with an empty suitcase for a year full of travel.
Write down a wish on a piece of paper, burn it, throw it into a champagne glass, and drink it before 12:01.
During the New Year’s Eve celebration of Hogmanay, “first-footing” is practiced all over Scotland. The custom dictates that the first person to cross the threshold of a home in the New Year should carry a gift for luck (whiskey is the most common). The Scots also hold bonfire ceremonies, most notably in the small fishing village of Stonehaven, where townsmen parade while swinging giant fireballs on poles overhead (supposedly symbols of the sun, to purify the coming year).
Danes ring in the New Year by hurling old plates and glasses…against the doors of friends’ and relatives’ houses. They also stand on chairs and then jump off them together at midnight. Leaping into January is supposed to banish bad spirits and bring good luck.
7 South Africa
In downtown Jo-burg, locals throw old appliances out the window. Heads up!
Eat a spoonful of lentils at midnight for a year filled with work and money.
Round shapes (representing coins) are thought to symbolize prosperity for the coming year in the Philippines; many Filipino families display heaps of round fruits on the dining table for New Year’s Eve. Other families are more particular; they eat exactly 12 fruits at midnight (grapes, which are also eaten at midnight in Spain, are easiest). Still others wear New Year polka dots for luck.