Strange NY Traditions

Happening around The World

Around the world, people come together to celebrate the new year. Many countries have their own styles and traditions which may appear strange.

Ringing in the New Year is one of the few celebrations that is marked in nearly every country in the world. But how do people around the world welcome in the New Year?

It seems that everyone has their own traditional way of doing things. Some people throw bread, others burn scarecrows and others even fight for good luck! Here are 22 unique New Year traditions from around the world.

22. Jump into a frozen lake (Siberia)

Just as you might expect, in Siberia people jump into a frozen lake while holding a tree trunk.

21. Bread Power (Ireland)

Irish people hit their house walls with bread to get rid of evil spirits and negative energies. This will clear away all the old negative clinging inside the house and bring peace and prosperity to their lives.

20. Jump off the chairs (Denmark)

In Denmark, people climb onto chairs on New Year's Eve and literally “jump” into the New Year at midnight. This leaping into January is suppose to banish bad spirits and bring good luck.

19. 108 Rings (Japan)

In Japan, at the stoke of midnight on New Year's Eve, Buddhist temples ring their bells 108 times. This tradition is believed to banish all human sins of the past years and bring cleanness. It is also good luck to be smiling or laughing going into the New Year. In addition, if you eat long Japanese noodles after ringing the bells it will bring you long life. Or so they believe.

18. Metal Casters (Finland)

In Finland, the people predict the coming year by casting molten tin into a bucket of water. The shape and shadow of the resulting cast are examined and interpreted to predict the various future events of the coming year. Different shapes have different meaning,

17. Make a wish (Russia)

A tradition in Russia, is to make a wish on New Year's Eve. Russian make a wish on a piece of paper, which is then burned. The ashes are then placed in a glass of champagne, which needs to be consumed right before the stroke of midnight for the wish to come true.

16. Round Things (Philippines)

In the Philippines it’s all about Cash. The tradition is that everything should be round, so as to represent coins and bring wealth. Filipino adorn their New Year's Eve parties with round shapes, which is a symbolism of wealth. Round food, round clothes, as long as it’s round.

15. Colored Underwear (South America)

In South American countries like Mexico, Bolivia and Brazil, your new year fortunes are decided by your coloured underwear. Red underwear means you’ll find love; Gold means wealth; and white signifies peace. Those who want to find love wear red underwear for New Year, whilst gold diggers should opt for yellow or gold, which brings wealth and luck. If you just want a bit of peace for the New Year, some white pants should do the trick nicely.

14. Eating 12 Grapes (Spain)

In Spain, the New Year’s tradition for good luck revolves around grapes. If you can manage to stuff 12 grapes, (one for every ring of the clock bell) in your mouth at midnight you’ve achieved good luck for the next year. The Spanish are very passionate about eating their 12 grapes leading up to midnight; in fact, it is a serious superstition as it is a fun tradition.

13. Broken Plates (Denmark)

Breaking dishes might be considered bad luck, but on the eve of the New Year in Denmark, it’s anything but. In Denmark, it is a tradition to keep chipped and unwanted items of crockery, which affectionately are smashed against the front doors of friends and families on the last night of the year. Your popularity is measured by finding a heap of broken china on your doorstep at midnight.

12. Bear dancing (Romania)

In Romania, there are a number of famous mask dances, the most famous being the annual bear dance. The bear dance involves men in bear skins dancing to the music of drums and pipes, a ritual said to ward off any evil spirits. It is believed that during the dance, the bear dies and is reborn, symbolic of death and rebirth, as a New Year replaces the old one.

11. Takanakuy Festival (Peru)

At the end of December, people in a small Peruvian village fist fight to settle their differences. They then start the year off on a clean slate. This annual Peruvian festival is all about people beating the living daylights out of each other. Competitors face off in a ring for a round of bare-knuckle brawling, which is overseen by local policemen. Takanakuy literally means ‘when the blood is boiling’ but apparently the fights are friendly, and represent a fresh start for the year.

10. Suitcases (Colombia)

In Columbia, people love travelling, so they carry suitcases with them on the very first day of the New Year in the hope of having a travel-filled year. By doing this, they believe, they will be blessed by travelling abroad and with a chance of working in a developed countries.

9. Pancakes (France)

Every New Year, the French consume a stack of pancakes which they believed is to ensure that the crop would be plentiful for the coming year.

8. Dropping Icecream (Switzerland)

In Switzerland, people celebrate New Year by dropping Ice Cream on the floor to ensure that coming year will be filled with luck, peace and wealth.

7. Talc Smearing (Thailand)

Thailand’s New Year called “Songkran,” is celebrated in mid-April. A symbol of the Thai New Year celebration and traditions is that thousands of people come together for a massive water fight. But besides throwing buckets of water on each other, they also go around Talc smearing each other's faces with gray talc.

6. Eating For Abundance (Estonia)

In Estonia, the Estonian is all about eating the New Year's traditions food. People eat seven times on new years day to ensure there is an abundance of food in the coming new year.

5. Throwing out the old Furniture. (South Africa)

In South Africa, particularly, Johannesburg, it is not uncommon to see old appliances and furniture being thrown out of windows. This signifying that when throwing out the old furniture, all the bad things from the past year is also thrown out and ushering in another new beginning. Depending on who gets hit with flying furniture they may be ushering in a new lawsuit!

4. A graveyard party (Chile)

As the time draws closer to midnight, in Chile the party moves from indoors to outdoors. In fact, it moves to the graveyard, where the locals gather to celebrate and welcome in the New Year with their deceased family and friends. In Chile families spend the night in the company of their deceased loved ones by sleeping at the cemetery. It is important to Chileans that their deceased loved ones are not left out of the celebrations.

3. Effigy Burning (Panama)

In Panama, the New Year’s tradition for good luck is burning effigies of everyone and anyone famous. These life sized effigies are “stuffed people” - stuffed with firecrackers which are lit and beaten when the clock hits midnight. This is done so that the sins and evil spirits of the old year are destroyed, making way for good fortune in the New Year.

2. First-Footing (Scotland)

The 'First Footing' is a tradition celebrated on 'Hogmanay,' the Scottish New Year's celebration. It involves banging on doors and walls of the house with Christmas bread which chase the bad luck out of the house and invite the good spirits in. The first person to cross the threshold of a home in the new year should carry a gift which supposed to bring good luck and prosperity to that household for the new year.

1. Burn a scarecrow (Ecuador)

In Ecuador, the New Year is celebrated by burning scarecrows filled with paper and wood at midnight on New Year’s Eve. They believe this banish any ill fortune or bad things that happened in the past year. As the countdown to midnight begins, families gather outside their homes and burn their scarecrow. All in the name of good fortune. They also burn photographs of things that represent the past year. For extra good luck, they jump across the burning scarecrow twelve times, which will bring luck for each of the coming 12 months.

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