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The Strangest New Year’s Traditions Around the World

The Strangest New Year's Traditions Around the World

Have you been thinking that maybe this is the year to change up your New Year’s traditions and try something new? Just because you’ve hosted the same party for the last few years with the same food and the same entertainment doesn’t mean this year has to be exactly the same. Changing it up is a-OK. So what are you thinking of doing? Curious about other traditions from around the world? Perhaps looking across the globe is the way to go. Whether you’re watching the ball drop at home on television, saying cheers with champagne or running around the neighborhood with pots and pans, there’s always something new and fun to learn about other traditions from around the world.

The Strangest New Year's Traditions Around the World

The Strangest New Year’s Traditions Around the World

Here’s a look at some of the strangest New Year’s traditions ever.

Spain & Denmark via Travel & Leisure

Spain: At midnight on New Year’s Eve, it’s customary in Spain to quickly eat 12 grapes (or uvas)—one at each stroke of the clock. 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.

Denmark: 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.

grapes wine midnight toast nye

South America & The Philippines via Real Buzz

South America via Real Buzz: In South American countries such as Mexico, Bolivia and Brazil, your fortunes for the year ahead are all decided by your underpants. Those who want to find love wear red underwear for New Year, whilst gold diggers should opt for yellow, which brings wealth and luck. If you’re just after a bit of peace for the New Year, some white pants should do the trick nicely.

Philippines: In the Philippines New Year is about one thing, and one thing only; cold hard cash. Hoping to bring prosperity and wealth for the year ahead, Filipino people try to use as many round things as possible to represent coins and wealth. Round clothes, round food, you name it; if it’s round, they want in.

colorful underwear

Belarus & Scotland via

Belarus: It seems that all too many single folks spend the first few moments of the New Year pondering their past and future relationships. But at least the single ladies of Belarus know how to make things a little fun, if not outright strange. In one popular game for singles in Belarus, a pile of corn is sat in front of each single woman. Then, a rooster is sat in the middle to pick which pile he’ll peck at first. Whoever is the lucky lady to get her corn eaten by the rooster can expect to be the first to marry. Another game is for a married woman to hide items around her house for her single friends to search for in a “manhunt.” Whoever finds bread will likely marry a rich man; whoever finds a ring will marry a handsome man.

Scotland: Nobody does New Year’s like the Scots, so much so that they even have a special name for their New Years’ Eve called Hogmanay (which loosely translates to “great love day”). As it is, the first song that everyone sings after toasting is the old Scottish classic “For Auld Lang Syne.” But in the midst of bonfires and locals parading around town swinging poles with fireballs to purify the incoming year, there is one Scottish New Year’s tradition that sticks out even more. Every year, Scots religiously follow the tradition of “the first-footing.”  To bring in good luck for the new year, the first visitor to step their foot in your door on New Years should be tall, dark and bearing coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and whisky. This is apparently a throwback to the Viking days, when locals would evade their rude blond-haired visitors.

bon fire at the beach

Colombia & The Czech Republic via Matador Network

Colombia: People wishing for a travel-filled year carry an empty suitcase around the block on New Year’s Day.

Czech Republic: On New Year’s eve, it’s traditional to eat lentils to bring prosperity, and to avoid poultry — or else your luck will fly away.


What do you think, could one of these odd traditions become part of your New Year’s celebration this year?


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