9 Weird New Year Traditions Around The World
When you can hear the bells tinkling and notice that the city is all decked up like a bride, that is when you know that it is time to take the most suitable Christmas and New Year trip and travel to someplace nice where you can enjoy the most festive time of the year with your loved ones. But did you know that there are various unusual New Year traditions around the world that some countries and regions follow, and what may come as a shock to you is normal for them?
For some people, it is hard to believe that such unusual, weird traditions exist, but believe it or not, they do, and people celebrate it with great enthusiasm that is their way of welcoming the New Year, so let’s see what these are and why are they called some of the most Unusual New Year Traditions Around The World.
1. 12 Grapes Till Midnight, Spain
Eating Grapes is not so surprising, right? If someone is eating grapes, it’s no big deal, but in Spain, during the time of New Year, people buy special kinds of grapes to eat as a part of New Year’s Traditions in Spain.
You can buy these grapes in a pack of 12, where you are supposed to eat all the grapes on every strike of the clock until the clock hits 12, and if you are able to eat all of them in time, then you will have good luck for the coming year, if not then it will bring bad luck.
This tradition started in the year 1909 by Alicante and very cleverly turned into superstition in order to sell their surplus grapes of a particular variety, and ever since, the tradition has been followed in Spain.
However, there is a possibility that the tradition has been as old as 1808 and has been morphed from the French tradition that involved eating grapes and consuming Champagne on New Year’s Eve.
This is one of the weirdest New Year traditions around the world, and although it is the tradition of Spain, the tradition has gotten global attention and countries such as South America and Latin America are following the trend.
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2. Tossing Stuff Out Of The Window, Italy
The holiday season is about being thankful for everything you have and celebrating it with your loved ones. However, people in Italy take celebrating the New Year very seriously and believe in welcoming the New Year, letting everything from the past year out of your heart as well as your windows.
As weird as that sounds, it’s true. When the clock strikes 12, people in Italy start throwing pots, pans, and even furniture out of the window in order to let go of the dead past and make space for the New Year in their hearts as well as their homes. This act symbolizes that people are letting go of the sorrows of the past year and letting new blessings into their lives.
For the Italians, throwing stuff as a New Year’s tradition is quite common. However, some people do take it up a notch and even throw electrical appliances out of the window, which, by the way, is not at all common but still practiced by some folks, making it one of the weirdest New Year traditions around the world.
Some people believe that this is one of the most insane traditions around the world because it involves destruction, however, this destruction symbolizes that people are destroying things from the past, letting them go, and making room for better things. It’s their tradition, who are we to judge, anyway?
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3. Smashing Plates For Luck, Denmark
Imagine waking up on New Year’s Day, and you open your door, and you find a pile of broken plates left by your neighbor. How pissed would you be? You will be ravaged with anger because you cleaned the entire house from inside and outside, and you wouldn’t want your guests to step on broken plates while they visit you or have any kind of inconvenience.
However, this is not the case with the people of Denmark, for their New Year’s tradition involves smashing plates on their neighbour’s doorstep for luck. It is unclear when this tradition started, but it is believed to be a part of celebrating the people in your life, including family and friends.
So in order to take part in this ritual, the people in Denmark keep aside some of the plates to break them on the eve of New Year, and some even go and buy New plates from the market. On 31st December, people step out of their houses and smash plates on their neighbours’ and relatives’ doorsteps and anyone whom they value and love and show them how much they love and appreciate them for having them in their lives.
It also symbolises letting go of the past and making way for new things in life. Some people even write messages on the plates as a thank you note. It sounds absolutely crazy because if you will do that in your own city then breaking plates, you may get a broken bone because your neighbour is not going to let you get away with it, after all no normal person would do that to anyone.
While it looks and seems messy, it is considered to be a nice gesture by friends and family, and the more the pile of broken plates, the more luck it is said to bring. It is one of the weird but fun New Year traditions around the world. Some parts of the world also have unique Christmas traditions that even involve hiding brooms and beating poop.
4. Scarecrow Burning, Ecuador
Scarecrows are usually used to remove the crows from the farmer’s fields. However, in Ecuador, it is a tradition to make effigies of scarecrows, famous celebrities, and politicians, especially the ones you dislike.
When the clock strikes 12, people light a fire on these effigies, which shows burning or letting go of the past by leaving it behind and welcoming new beginnings on a new slate. In order to make the effigies, people use sawdust, cotton, straws, old clothes and a face mask to give their effigy an identity, and then burn it. You may call it one of the weird New Year traditions around the world, but it also brings with it a lot of fun. Last year, an effigy of Phineas and Ferb, who are popular cartoon characters, was burned.
So you see, you can travel to Ecuador and burn an effigy of popular celebrities you don’t like and ring in the New Year in the most lit way possible.
5. Colourful Underwear, Latin America
Can you believe that in Latin America, you can show what you desire from the New Year by the color of your underwear? Sounds insane, right? Well, it definitely is, and as crazy as it sounds, it is a lot of fun.
If you desire love in your life, then you should wear red, and if you desire a lot of wealth, then you should wear yellow; and if you are looking for peace and harmony, then you should wear white.
This tradition is followed mainly in Brazil, Bolivia, and Mexico and is quite a common New Year’s tradition. People choose all these colours and what they desire for the coming year for themselves.
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6. Mistletoe And Smashing Bread, Ireland
If you are single in Ireland and are looking for love, then New Year’s is the best time to find it, for it is a tradition that single women in Ireland keep Mistletoe under their pillow. Mistletoe is a kind of berry that is used for fertility purposes in European mythology.
The berry is then thrown into the fire at night, and it is believed that whoever does this will find love in the New Year.
Another one of the weirdest New Year Traditions around the world that is seen in Ireland is smashing bread against the wall. It is done in order to chase away evil spirits and bring in good luck for the coming year.
Even if you are not in Ireland and have been single for a while and are desperately waiting for your knight in shining armour, then you can either spend your New Year’s in Ireland or you can do it in your own country; who knows what can bring luck and love to your life, and fill your life with happiness.
7. 108 Bells, Japan
The New Year celebration in Japan is one of a kind, and it is a tradition to place 108 bells in Buddhist temples all over the country, and it is a tradition to ring the bell 107 times before the clock strikes 12, and the 108th bell is rung at the New Year.
It is believed that ringing these 108 bells will dispel the 108 evil passions that all human beings possess. It is also believed that this ringing of bells will wash away the sins of the previous year and bring good luck for the New Year, making it one of the best places to celebrate New Year in the world.
8. Surround Yourself With Round Things, Philippines
Like everyone else, Filipinos hope for money, wealth, and prosperity for the coming year, but they take this thing up a notch and surround themselves with round things. By round things, I mean everything that is round.
They eat grapes, keep coins in their pockets that jangle all the time, and even wear clothes with polka dots to bring in wealth and prosperity and to keep the money flowing throughout the year.
So if you want a lot of money, try keeping coins in your pockets all the time to ensure that there are no financial crises in the times to come. Some people may believe that it is one of the superstitions that don’t work, but for Filipinos, it is one of the New Year’s traditions.
9. Takanakuy, Peru
Takanakuy is one of the New Year’s traditions in Peru, which includes beating the daylight out of the person.
Yes, read that again; it involves people indulging in friendly fights, which is overlooked by the
local police. This friendly fight allows people to fight in a way that is not very brutal but still a lot of fun. Takanakuy means the boiling of blood and represents a fresh start to the New Year.
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Frequently Asked Questions About New Year Traditions Around The World
What are some unique New Year traditions celebrated in different countries?
Some of the unique New Year traditions celebrated in different countries include surrounding yourself with round things for the free flow of money, smashing plates and cutlery outside the neighbor’s house for luck, smashing bread against the wall, wearing colorful underwear, eating 12 grapes, and beating the daylight out of someone.
What are some common themes among New Year traditions worldwide?
Some common themes include masquerade parties, ball parties, and other interesting parties. Besides, the most common theme behind any tradition is to bid goodbye to the old year and welcome the new year with new beginnings and new memories, and ring in the new year with a new spirit.
How can I incorporate international New Year traditions into my own celebrations?
You can either visit the places that have these traditions during the time of New Year so that you can be a part of the celebrations and the traditions that are followed, or you can follow them yourself. For instance, if you wish to smash bread against the wall, then you can do it and involve your family members, too, so they can be a part of the tradition as well.
Are there any New Year traditions that involve travel or specific destinations to visit?
As such, there are no New Year celebrations that involve traveling to another country or to any other corner of the world; however, people do travel during the time of New Year to celebrate it with a bang. They travel to different places and go camping and hiking on New Year’s Eve to watch the fireworks from the mountaintops.