Wondering what folks do in other parts of the world to ring in the New Year? In no particular order, here is a quick glimpse from around the globe that we’ve compiled from various resources on the web.
If you don’t already have your own tradition, maybe these will inspire you!
In Korea: Ancestral memorial rites are held, then children wish their elders a happy new year by performing one deep traditional bow. Show your respect for the senior members of your family by asking them to tell you the stories of their lives.
In Spain: As the clock strikes midnight, revelers eat 12 grapes (one with each toll) to bring good luck for each month of the new year. Don’t forget to make a wish on each grape!
In Japan: When the New Year begins, Japanese people like to laugh, as this is believed to make old worries disappear and ensure the coming year is a happy one.
In Burma: During the traditional Thingyan festival marking the Burmese New Year, people splash water on one another in order to start the New Year with a purified soul.
In Brazil: Don your choice of intimate apparel (aka underwear) to impact your fortune for the ocming year. – red if you’re looking for love, yellow if you’re hoping for money – and no, you can’t wear both! Also, a sacrificial boat laden with flowers, candles and jewelry is pushed out to sea from Brazil’s famous Ipenama beach in Rio de Janeiro.
In the Netherlands: Pyrotechnics – Dutch partygoers set their discarded Christmas trees ablaze! Also, it is a good sign to find your door heaped with a pile of broken dishes at New Years. Old dishes are saved year around to throw them at the homes where their friends live on New Years Eve. Many broken dishes were a symbol that you have many friends.
In Panama: More fire – residents light on fire elaborate effigies of pop stars and political figures.
Everywhere: Buddhist temples toll their bells 108 times at midnight. This tradition is called joya no kane, which means ‘bell rings on New Year’s Eve night’. The rings represent (and repent for) the 108 elements of bonō, defilements, that people have in their minds.
In Scotland: Celebrate the New Year with several customs, such as First Footing. This involves friends or family members visiting each other with a gift of whisky, and sometimes a lump of coal.
In Greece: A special New Year’s bread is baked with a coin buried in the dough. The first slice is for the Christ child; the second for the father of the household and the third slice is for the house. If the third slice holds the coin, spring will come early that year.
In the Phillipines: There are several traditions such as wearing clothes with circular patterns like polka dots, in the belief that circles attract money and fortune and throwing coins at the stroke of midnight to increase wealth in the coming year. Traditions also include the serving of circular-shaped fruits, shaking coins inside a metal casserole dish while walking around the house, and jumping up high to cause an increase in physical height!
In Wales: Calennig sounds nice. It’s the tradition of giving gifts and money on New Year’s Day, though nowadays it is customary to give bread and cheese. Sounds like a win-win!
In Germany: ‘Bleigießen’ is a New Year’s Eve custom, which involves telling fortunes from the shapes made by molten lead dropped into cold water.
In China: For the Chinese New Year, every front door is adorned with a fresh coat of red paint, red being a symbol of good luck and happiness. Although the whole family prepares a feast for the New Year, all knives are put away for 24 hours to keep anyone from cutting themselves, which is thought to “cut” the family’s good luck for the coming year.
In England: The British place their fortunes for the coming year in the hands of their first guest. They believe the first visitor of each year should be male and bearing gifts. Traditional gifts are coal for the fire, a loaf for the table and a drink for the master. And by the way, guests who are empty-handed or unwanted are not allowed to enter first!
In Sicily: Tradition says good luck will come to those who eat lasagna on New Year’s Day, but woe if you dine on macaroni, for any other noodle will bring bad luck.
In Mexico: One of the many traditions is to make a list of all the bad or unhappy events from the current year; before midnight, this list is thrown into a fire, symbolizing the removal of negative energy from the New Year.