Unique New Year’s Eve Traditions from Around the World

Everyone has their own way of ushering in the new year – resolutions, soirées, elaborate meals, mini-getaways. While some countries merely raise their glasses as the clock strikes midnight, others indulge in rather elaborate, unique traditions that seem interestingly absurd. A lot of them have to do with burning, throwing, eating things, but a few like donning special underwear are so pleasantly surprising that you’ll be tempted to reconsider where you want to bring in the new year this year! Ready to have your mind blown? Here are a few of the most unique New Year’s Eve traditions from around the world.

Drinking Ashes – Russia

Drinking Ashes Russia New Year Celebration

On New Year’s Eve, Russians write down their wishes for the new year on a piece of paper, then burn it with a candle and add the ashes to their glass of champagne. The Russians surely take “you are what you eat” very seriously.

Salting the Doorstep – Turkey

As a token of good luck, the Turkish sprinkle salt at their doorstep as soon as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. This symbolizes welcoming peace and prosperity into their home in the new year.

Donning Red Underwear – Italy

In Italy, wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve is considered auspicious for those who are trying to conceive as the colour red is associated with fertility. Some people also wear yellow underwear as they believe it brings money in the new year.

White Flowers for Yemoja – Brazil

White Flowers for Yemoja Brazil New Years

In Brazil, you will find the ocean littered with white flowers and candles after New Year’s Eve. Brazilians make this offering of special white flowers to the water deity Yemoja who is believed to control the seas and blesses those who take part.

First Footing – Scotland

The Scottish observe a tradition called First Footing wherein they believe that the first person to cross the threshold of their home after midnight should be a dark-haired male carrying coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and whiskey so as to be surrounded by good luck in the coming year.

Eating 12 Grapes – Spain

In Spain, it is customary to eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve – one grape at each stroke for each month of the year to draw in good luck. In bigger cities like Barcelona and Madrid, people gather with their grapes and cava to celebrate, eat and drink together.

Smashing Plates – Denmark

Smashing Plates Denmark New Year

As a way of leaving anger and ill-wishes in the past year, the Danish smash china at their friends’ and neighbours’ doorsteps. They believe that the bigger the pile of broken china at your doorstep before the New Year begins, the luckier you will be that year.

Cemetery Celebrations – Chile

In Chile, New Year’s Eve masses are held at cemeteries so that people can indulge in festivities with their deceased family members.

Burning Scarecrows – Ecuador

We personally think the celebrations in Ecuador are LIT. Ecuadorians make scarecrows that represent politicians, pop culture icons and other influential figures and burn them at bonfires on New Year’s Eve to cleanse the world of evil and make room for positivity in the year to come.

Ringing Bells 108 Times – Japan

Ringing Bells 108 Times Japan New Year

As a tradition called Joyanokane, the Japanese ring bells 107 times on New Year’s Eve and the last one at the stroke of midnight. This is meant to dispel 108 evil desires and wash away the sins of the previous year.

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