Unconventional New Years Traditions Around The World

Everyone across the globe loves to ring in the new year and everyone does it differently. While midnight kiss, parties, fireworks, and toasts to a happy year are fairly common, there are several cultures which welcome the new year with a different and unique tradition.

Here's a list of unconventional new years traditions around the world you wouldn't have heard of:

1. Hogmanay (Scotland)

New Year is a 3-day celebration for the Scots. On December 30, people come out on the streets as torchbearers and form a river of light. Accompanied by pipers and drummers, this is a spectacular family event. On 31st, a group of trained professionals takes to the streets and swing balls of fire over their head. They then toss the fireballs into the sea. This is a ritual believed to ward off evil spirits. None the less, it creates a beautiful and entertaining sight.

Hogmanay
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2. Smashing Dishes In Denmark

As eerie as it may sound, smashing chipped or broken plates on New Year's Eve in Denmark is a real thing. People in Denmark consider broken glass to bring good luck and save their unused plates till the last day of the year. So there's no need to worry if you find shards of broken glasses and plates on your front door the next morning. The more glass you have on your doorstep, the more popular you are.

Smashing Dishes In Denmark
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3. Eating 12 Grapes in Spain and Colombia

Spaniards and Colombians eat 12 grapes at midnight, one for each stroke, to start their new year with prosperity. This is both a tradition and superstition. Every grape represents a month of the year. You are supposed to eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds otherwise it is considered bad luck. This is followed by a lively party.

Eating 12 Grapes in Spain
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4. Jumping Waves And Offering Flowers In Brazil

In Brazil, especially at Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beach, people jumping off waves on New Year's Eve is a common sight. This is done to bring good luck. The locals wear white shorts (which stands for peace) and offer flowers to the Goddess of Sea, Iemanja. Iemanja is known to bless mothers and children and bring prosperity.

Jumping Waves And Offering Flowers In Brazil
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5. Ringing Bells In Buddhist Temples Exactly 108 Times In Japan

The Japanese New Year is a festival with its own customs. At midnight on December 31, Japan's Buddhist temples ring their bells a total of 108 times, 107 before midnight and 1 after. This is done to symbolize the 108 human sins and get rid of 108 worldly desires according to Buddhist beliefs. People in Japan believe the ringing of bells would end the sins they did in the previous year. This is followed by eating a dish called Toshikoshi Soba.

Ringing Bells In Temples 108 Times In Japan
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6. Painting Doors Red In China

On the day of the Chinese New Year, people paint their front doors with bright red color or place red cutouts in front of their windows to bring in good luck and prosperity. Red is considered the luckiest colour in China and hence, people are also seen wearing red on days of celebrations.

Painting Doors Red In China
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7. Throwing Out Old Furniture In South Africa

It is on New Year's Eve when people of Hillbrow, Johannesburg literally throw their old furniture out on the streets. This is a metaphor for getting rid of your problems and starting fresh. Chaos (and fun) prevails on the street as the clock strikes 12. This is why police patrols on NYE to maintain order and make sure no one gets hurt in this bizarre activity.

Throwing Out Old Furniture In South Africa
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8. Spending The Night In Cemeteries In Chile

Much like how Mexico celebrates the day of the dead, families in Chile spend New Year's Eve in cemeteries, close to their long gone family members. This is done to bring peace for the deceased and ensure that they have a prosperous new year as well. This is a celebration involving food and drinks. People light a small fire near their family members' graveyard and make sure to include them in the festivities.

Spending The Night In Cemetery In Chile
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9. Banging Walls With Bread In Ireland

The Irish love to celebrate with drinks, that's one thing we know. However, they go beyond the drinks on New Year's Eve by banging walls with bread. This is done to chase away evil spirits and bad luck and also as good luck that they get a lot of bread (wealth and prosperity) in the coming year.

Banging Walls With Bread In Ireland
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10. Eating 7,9 or 12 Meals In A Day In Estonia

Estonians believe eating a lucky number of meals on New Year's Eve ? 7, 9, or 12 ? will bring an abundance of food in the coming year. It also implies that the number of meals you eat also makes you that much stronger. So if you are eating 12 meals that day, you will have the strength of 12 men (or women) in the following year.

Eating 7,9 or 12 Meals In A Day In Estonia
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11. Running With An Empty Suitcase In Ecuador

Ecuadorians love to travel and hence, run on the street with an empty suitcase on New Year's Eve to bring good luck in their travels. As an alternative, it is also acceptable to drag your empty suitcase 12 times in and out through the front door. Looking forward to a trip this year? Don't forget your suitcase run.

Running With An Empty Suitcase In Ecuador
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12. Dancing Dressed Up As Bears In Romania

It is Halloween all over again in Romania on New Year's Eve. But there's an exception. People come out on the streets dressed up only as bears and indulge in dances to ward off the evil spirits and bad luck. Bears are sacred animals in Romanian culture. It is interesting to know that the costumes worn by the people weigh up to 50 kgs.

Dancing Dressed Up As Bears In Romania
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13. Throwing Pomegranates In Armenia and Turkey

Pomegranates are considered to be lucky fruits in Armenia and Turkey. So throwing one on the ground on New Year's Eve brings in good luck. The wider your pomegranate seeds spread on the floor, the better your year will be. Pomegranates are metaphors for human hearts because of the size and colour of the fruit. The fruit symbolizes fertility, health, and life.

Throwing Pomegranates In Armenia And Turkey
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Every country has its own unique and exciting tradition in kickstarting the new year. Did your country make the cut?

This post was published by Yash Saboo

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