New Year’s Eve Traditions Around the World

Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? While all across the U.S. we ring in the New Year with champagne, kisses and a resolve to improve ourselves in the months to come, those aren’t the only traditions people have for starting the year off right. Around the globe, New Year’s observances are incredibly diverse – though most New Year’s traditions are done to bring good luck and fortune in the upcoming year.

Round and Round

Many cultures use feasting on round foods to represent an abundance of coins and prosperity in the upcoming year. In Spain, eating grapes is thought to bring money when consumed on the New Year. The tradition of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day in the American South holds to a similar notion that the peas are akin to coins.

In the Philippines, all round things are given priority at the New Year. Consuming round food and fruit of any size is thought to be lucky for your wealth. Even wearing polka dots, spots or round jewelry on the New Year is thought to summon fortune to you.

Under Where?

Quite a few countries have customs regarding what underwear you greet the New Year in. For Italians, red underwear is said to bring a year of good luck and love. In Argentina, people wear pink underwear to celebrate the holiday if they want to find love in the coming year. Bolivians also have an underwear tradition. Wearing yellow underwear there is said to bring prosperity.

A Smashing Time

Some of the strangest New Year’s rituals involve smashing old things. In South Africa, old appliances and furniture are tossed out the window on New Year’s Eve in the spirit of “out with the old and in with the new”.

Denmark has one of the world’s most unusual New Year’s practices. People save old dishes and plates all year and on the arrival of the New Year, smash the plates against the front of their friends and neighbors’ houses. Although it generates a lot of cleanup to start the year off, the more shards on your doorstep, the better your coming year will be.

A Dash of Salt

Although a lot of the food traditions around New Year involve feasting, some food items take on a symbolic, lucky status. For people in Turkey, when the clock strikes midnight, it is lucky to salt the threshold of your front door. In Greece, an onion is hung up in the house on New Year’s Eve to bring in good fortune. If there are children in the home, the onion is used to wake them up on New Year’s Day. People in the Czech Republic have a method of reading the shape of the upcoming year by splitting an apple and looking at the shape of its core.

Bread Winners

Traditional breads often accompany the celebration of the holidays and New Year’s is no exception. In Armenia, a person’s hopes and wishes are kneaded into a loaf of bread that is then baked and eaten on New Year’s Day. People in Scotland take a different tack with their bread ritual. There, a loaf of bread is beat against the walls of the home to drive out bad spirits.

A traditional cake in Norway is used for their New Year’s festivities. A “kransekage” is a very tall cake made from many layers and decorated with elaborate flags and marzipan. This cake also has the added New Year’s cheer of hiding a bottle of wine in its center for revelers to enjoy once enough of the cake is consumed.

Germans consume a traditional filled donut to celebrate the New Year. While a sweet custard or jam filling is good luck, there are also trick donuts with fillings like gravy or mustard that can bring bad luck if a bite is taken.

Fawn Ridge Realty

Want good fortune in your New Year? How about starting 2019 off right with Lake Carroll? In the beautiful countryside of Western Illinois, Lake Carroll is a private lake community with beautiful homes and amenities. Sound appealing? Let Fawn Ridge Realty be your guide. We know Lake Carroll and we know you’re going to love it here!

Want to learn more? Get in touch! And have a safe and happy New Year, from our family to yours.