Ringing in the new year and bidding farewell to the old one is a tradition that spans the globe. But it’s not just countdowns and fireworks everywhere- here are 8 unique New Years Eve traditions around the world:
1. Spain: 12 Grapes Down the Hatch
When the clock strikes 12 at midnight on New Year’s Eve, it’s customary to eat 12 grapes- one at each stroke of the clock. If you can manage to stuff 12 grapes in your mouth at midnight you’ve achieved good luck for the next year.
2. Philippines: Round for Good Luck
In the Philippines, anything round is thought to bring good fortune. Round food, round clothes, as long as it’s round. Round shapes(representing coins) are thought to symbolize prosperity for the coming year in the Philippines; many Filipino families display heaps of round fruits on the dining table for New Year’s Eve.
3. Denmark: Smashing Plates
If you’re ever in Denmark and see smashed plates outside peoples’ doors, don’t be alarmed—leaving smashed plates at the doors of your friends and family is part of New Year’s tradition. In a strange vandalistic display of affection, the more smashed plates on your doorstep, the more friends you have.
4. Scotland: Hogmanay!
Hogmanay, which means the last day of the year for Scots, is a three-day event that starts on Dec. 30 . They hold bonfire ceremonies, most notably in the small fishing village of Stonehaven, where townsmen parade while swinging giant fireballs on poles overhead(supposedly symbols of the sun, to purify the coming year).
5. Belarus: The Rooster and the Corn
During the traditional celebration of Kaliady, still-unmarried women play games to predict who will be wed in the New Year. In one game, a pile of corn is placed before each woman, and a rooster is let go; whichever pile the rooster approaches first reveals who will be the first to marry.
6. Romania: Bear Dancers
In Romania, there is a old rural tradition that’s gaining in popularity, in which people dressed in elaborate bear costumes dance through snowy streets to the sound of pan pipes as a way to chase away evil spirits on New Yer’s Eve.
7. Colombia: Empty Suitcases
In hopes to usher in a new year filled with travel, Columbians walk around the neighbourhood block carrying empty suitcases.
8. Brazil: Jumping 7 Waves
In Brazil, partiers wear white on New Year’s to scare away bad spirits. Brazilians also jump over seven waves— one for each day of the week— while making seven New Year’s wishes. Those who aren’t near the beach jump three times on their right foot.
Let’s make 2018 travel-filled year of memories and new experiences!