Celebrate by breaking plates or tossing furniture out the window. These are just a few New Year’s Eve traditions celebrated around the world. New Year’s traditions are a great way to reflect on the previous year and make hopeful plans for the future. Learn more about how New Year’s is celebrated in different parts of the world.
New Year’s Eve Traditions
One popular tradition among Brazilians is to spend New Year’s Eve at the beach. On the beach, people often build small boats filled with gifts for the goddess of the ocean, Yemanja. If the boat doesn’t come back to shore, it’s believed she will honor their request for the new year. People wear white in belief that the new year will bring peace and positive vibes. They also wear brand new underwear (bought for the occasion) of a specific color, depending on what they hope from the new year: yellow symbolizing gold, will bring money, red or pink will bring love, green will bring hope and blue will bring health.
While it might be famous for the Greeks to smash plates during celebratory occasions, it’s popular over in Denmark, too. In fact, on New Year’s Eve the Danes throw unused plates that have been saved up throughout the year at the front doors of family and friends for good luck. The more plates you find outside your house, the more luck you’ll have in the New Year, apparently.
In Germany, depending on the region, there are two unique activities people take part in to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The first is watching an 18 minute black and white British comedy sketch called “Dinner for One,” where Miss Sophie celebrates her 90th birthday with her butler. A second tradition is pouring lead also known as Bleigießen. Using the flames from a candle, each person melts a small piece of lead or tin and pours it into a container of cold water. The shape that the lead or tin forms is said to reveal a person’s fate for the upcoming year.
It is a New Year’s tradition to wear red underwear in Italy. Many locals also throw old furniture (soft items, you’ll be pleased to know) out of the window to symbolise a fresh start for the upcoming year. From cushions to blankets, anything that no longer brings them joy will be chucked outside.
Head to Japan on New Year’s Eve and you’ll hear the sound of 108 bells echoing through the streets. This Buddhist tradition is believed to banish human sins, bringing good luck to all. As well as this, residents also believe it’s good luck to enter the New Year smiling or laughing, too.
In the Philippines, one way to celebrate the coming year is with a fruit bowl. There is preparation or display of 12 different round fruits at the dining table on New Year’s Eve to wish everyone prosperity for the new year ahead! The round fruits symbolize wealth, just like the shape of coins and the 12 fruits correspond to each month of the year. The 12 fruits are then eaten in the following few days.
In Spain, the new year starts off with eating 12 grapes. The grapes symbolize each strike of the clock before the new year begins. This tradition, also practiced in other countries like Mexico, started in the 19th century and was believed to ward off evil. Eating the 12 grapes is said to bring you prosperity and good luck in the new year.