Christmas is a time for family, but new year is a time for friends and ambitious resolutions that no one ever keeps. In celebration of this awesome time of the year, Beauty and Tips has put together a compilation of the top 20 most fun and interesting new year traditions from all over the world! (And if you thought the way you celebrated new year was crazy, just check out what Ecuador does below!)
New year’s really can be an odd time of the year. Some people are deeply superstitious and genuinely believe that a new year brings with it great changes, while others use it as an excuse to party. Most of us, meanwhile, make at least one new year’s resolution (which we usually break a week later, d’oh!). And if you thought that new year traditions were in danger of dying out, let’s take a look at 20 of the most fun and interesting new year’s traditions around the world .
- Who Dropped The Swiss Cream?
Switzerland probably have the lamest new year tradition ever. The country that’s famous for its cheese has a tradition where they drop whipped cream onto the floor. That’s it. They drop it there and don’t eat it. They DON’T EAT THE CREAM. Lamest new years tradition ever.
- Give Denmark Something To Break!
Denmark has given the world bacon, vikings and, of course, LEGO. But what else do you know about this beautiful country in the north? Unless you’re Danish or have been to Denmark, the answer is probably not much. However, the Danes are just as wacky as the rest of us when it comes to their customs and traditions, but they’re never as wacky as they are than at new year’s. See, the Danes have this thing where they save all their plates and dishes until the end of the year. Then, they take these plates and dishes and smash them against the doors of their family and friends, presumably while emitting a viking battle cry (that would be SO cool!).
- Grandfather Frost Visits The Russians
Yes, you heard that right, Grandfather Frost visits the Russians on new years eve. We’re not sure who Grandfather Frost is, but he’s suitably named for a country where temperatures rarely rise above zero in the middle of winter. Each year, just a few days after Santa Claus has already visited and spoiled the kids, Grandfather Frost comes along and gives the kids even more presents. Russia sounds so cool. Why couldn’t we have grown up there?! We wanna meet Grandfather Frost!
- Ecuador Feels The Burn
Like Denmark, Ecuador is another country you probably don’t know much about it. It’s in South America, has an insanely high altitude, and the natives eat guinea pig (it’s a delicacy, don’t ask). Ecuadorians are a tad superstitious and still believe in carrying out ritualistic, symbolic acts in order to improve their good fortune. For example, on new year’s they make scarecrows that they stuff with paper. Then, they set them alight. It’s supposed to bring them good fortune. Who knows if it works? It if’s not working as well as they’d like, they also burn photos.
- The Spanish Eat Grapes
Who doesn’t like grapes? Grapes are delicious and healthy, and they’re also really affordable. According to some Spaniards, they also bring you amazing luck all year round if you can manage to stuff 12 of them in your mouth on new year’s. If you can’t, well, too bad. If, on the other hand, you can squeeze that magic amount into your mouth, 2018 is going to be your year!
- People In Belarus Ask A Rooster
For some, a new year means the chance to meet someone new and perhaps get married. But who’s going to get married first? In Belarus, the natives have come up with a rather novel way of finding out, and it involves a rooster. On new year’s, single women gather together and place small piles of corn at their feet. Then, a rooster is released. Whoever the rooster eats from first is the woman who’ll get married before her friends. After all, if the rooster chose her first then so would any man, right?
- Italians Strut New Clothes
What with Milan being one of the fashion capitals of the world, it’s no surprise that Italians like to celebrate the new year in new garb. Each year, it’s traditional for the natives to wear something new that represents a fresh start. Though we can just imagine dad ruining it all by wearing the same trousers he’s had for the last 10 years. Italians also like to show their appreciation for their friends and family by sharing gifts on new year’s day.
- Burn All Your Troubles Away In Armenia
If we’ve had a bit of a rubbish year, what’s the best way to move on? Most people just, um, move on. Others get drunk in a bid to forget their troubles, while the rest of us make goals to ensure that next year will be different. It’s a sensible and productive thing to do. Armenians, however, love a bit of symbolism. The natives believe that troubles don’t really go away until we set fire to them. That’s right, in a ritual called the Ritual of Fire, Armenian’s symbolically burn all their previous year’s troubles. Well, that’s one way of getting over your ex.
- Bolivia Wears The Pants
Imagine if the colour of your underwear on new years day decided how fortunate you would be for 2018? For example, let’s imagine a world where wearing yellow underwear on new year’s day means you’ll come into lots of money in 2018. Wouldn’t that be amazing?! According to one of Bolivian new year traditions, that’s exactly what will happen. The colour of you underwear on new years day brings you luck in a specific area. Red will bring you luck in love, yellow will bring you luck with money, and brown? Um, we don’t even wanna think about it…
- Brazilian’s Get In The Sea
Brazil has two well-known new year traditions. The first is quite simple and involves a person wearing a white outfit that symbolises peace and renewal. It’s a gentle, well-meaning tradition that even we could get onboard with. The other tradition is a bit more radical and involves people jumping into the sea after midnight on new year’s day. The fun doesn’t end there. To ensure you’re going to have an awesome year, you need to leap over seven waves. At midnight. In the dark. Can’t we just drink champagne?
- Chileans Visit The Dead
What better place to bring in the new year than at the local cemetery? While people all over the world are at parties, getting merry and laughing with their friends, some Chilean natives are visiting graveyards to hang out with the dead. It sounds a bit morbid (and it is), but the locals believe that the best way to welcome in the new year is with family members who have passed on. Aww. It’s kinda cute in its own way. Kinda. But we think we’ll stick to a restaurant for now.
- This Is Who Should Enter Your Door First In England
The British have always had a strong imagination. It’s the country that gave us Frankenstein and the legendary Hammer Horror movies. And when it comes to the new year, it turns out that they’re just as superstitious as the rest of us. According to Brits, if you’re to have a super duper lucky and amazing year, the first person who walks through your house must be a tall, dark haired gentleman. Oh, and he must also be young and he needs to be bearing gifts. If you’re to eat well, he needs to bring bread. If you’re to be wealthy, he needs to bring salt (don’t ask). If you’re to stay warm, he needs to bring coal. The chances of a young, dark-haired gentleman walking through our door first on new year’s seem pretty good. Until dad comes round and spoils it all.
- The Japanese Ring Bells
On new year’s day, the Japanese have a tradition where they ring bells. Lots of bells. 108 bells to be exact. That’s a lot of bells, so if you don’t like the sound of bells clanging away 108 times, it’s probably best that you don’t find yourself in Japan on new year’s day. Because those bells will literally never stop ringing. Apparently it makes people smile and it’s good luck to laugh and smile on new year’s day. Who’s smiling? We’ll be covering our ears!
- Germans Forecast Their Own Future
Portents, witchcraft, tea leaves, crystal balls…there are all kinds of ways that fortune tellers have told the future. In Germany, they keep it real on new year’s day by melting lead in a spoon before throwing cold water over it. Then, they interpret the resulting shape.
- China Paints It Red
China is a highly superstitious country. Hey, they still believe in dragons! Kinda. But China is a super colourful country keenly aware of its history and traditions. And when it comes to welcoming in the new year, there is one tradition the natives don’t wanna give up. The Chinese like to paint their doors red on new year’s, as the colour represents good luck and happiness. We do have to question why they need to keep painting their doors red each year, though. Won’t the paint still be there from last year? Asking for a friend.
- Puerto Ricans Love To Clean
It’s new year’s day, so what do you do? Do you drink, eat, hang with friends, watch sports or movies? If you drank a lot the night before, you probably want to survive a hangover. If you live in Puerto Rico, however, you might want to clean. It’s an unusual thing to spend the day doing (unless you live in Puerto Rico), but according to the natives cleaning everything (and we literally mean everything) on new year’s day gets rid of all the bad karma (or juju) of the previous year. Puerto Ricans are known to scrub their cars, their streets, their gardens, and whatever else they can think of.
- Greek Kids Sing Carols
Nice and simple (for once) here. In Greece, children knock on peoples’ doors and sing carols in return for money. Also, some families switch the lights off as the countdown begins.
- The Dutch Blow Up Milk Cans
Back to the zaniness in the Netherlands, where rebellious natives like to blow up milk cans in honour of new year tradition. This practice isn’t as widespread as it used to be, and is indeed illegal in lots of cities. Some still do it, though, while others go swimming in the frozen North Sea.
- Louisiana, U.S.
Anyone who is proudly from the state of Louisiana will know all about the new year tradition of eating cabbage and black eyed peas on new year’s day. Now, that might not sound like the most edifying dish to eat (and it really isn’t) but both peas and cabbage are nutritiously dense, so why not? This is a tradition that goes back years and is hard to break. Most of the locals probably don’t still believe that eating cabbage and black eyed peas brings them good luck, but when the meal is one of your fondest childhood memoirs, why would you want to give the tradition up?
- Cubans Go Travelling
If Cubans are feeling the pinch of wanderlust coming on but aren’t sure if they’ll be able to get away in the coming year, they grab their suitcase and circle their house with it on new year’s eve. Apparently it will increase the odds of them going away that year. Does it work? We’re maybe should try it!