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9 Remarkable New Year’s Traditions From Around the World

Welcome 2023!

Wishing you loads of happiness and joy this year. May you be the fitter and smarter version of yourself 😊 New Year might start the second the clock strikes twelve, shifting not just the dates on the calendar but also bringing change in our perspective. Celebrating the New Year is one of the world’s oldest traditions, a symbol of starting over and giving ourselves an opportunity to embrace change. What is even more interesting or rather intriguing is how we usher in this new year in various parts of the world. From hanging onions to throwing flowers in the ocean, this is how folks around the world celebrate the new year. Keep reading to understand how people are cherish & make memories while ringing-in the beginning of year.

I. What happens in Spain?

This beautiful country is known for its language, also the heart of architecture and romantics. Locals in Spain will eat exactly 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. This is an age-old tradition that implies selling more grapes in the coming year. Today, Spaniards relish eating one grape for each of the first 12 bell strikes after midnight in the hope that it will bring a year of prosperity, growth, and fortune.

II. Scotland, why are you always so intriguingly mysterious?

I know we are already in love with the country after Gerard Butler took our hearts away in “PS I love you”. Known for serene beauty and historic castles, this country is synonymous with magical fairytale icons. Here, there is a special tradition followed on new-year’s eve officially called Hogmanay. As per Scottish beliefs, the very first person who crosses through the threshold of the house after midnight on this day should be a dark-haired male (symbolizing a person who is accomplished and successful) if you wish to have a fortune in the next year. Traditionally, all these men come bearing salt, gifts of coal, whiskey, and shortbread, which further contributes to the idea of having fortune and prosperity.

III. Germany, now I know how you are so precise about the future 😉

Germany is well-known for many things like a strong economy, the birthplace of classical music, and of course an awesome football team. Germany is also the heart of the engineering and automotive industry. One of the famous New Year’s Eve festivities revolves around a very unique activity referred to as lead pouring. Utilizing the heat from the candle, every person melts a small piece of lead or tin that is poured into the container of cold water. The shape that lead/tin forms after melting is believed to reveal the fate of the person in the coming year.

IV. Brazil, spilling the secret about white flowers & oceans

And coming to a land of stunning beaches, diverse cities, and rainforests. Also, home of Pele & Neymar! Well, if you happen to be in Brazil for New Year’s Eve, don’t be surprised to find the ocean littered with white flowers as well as candles. Essentially, in South America, it is a common tradition for the people to take to the shores in order to make offerings to Yemoja. I am not sure if you are aware of a famous story about Yemoja, who is allegedly the water deity known to control the ocean. Hence, people throw white flowers into the water to elicit her blessings for the year to come.

V. Italy, revealing the idea behind red underpants

The home of pizzas, pasta, and cheese, but I wonder if it is also the home of Superman? Italians have a tradition of wearing red underwear to ring in the new year. In Italian culture, this color is associated with fortune and fertility. Hence, people wear red underwear under their clothes in hope that it will help them conceive in the coming year (not like Superman 😉)

VI. Greece, would you like to know why prices of Onions would rise during the new year

Coming to the home of profound philosophers Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and Pythagoras. In Greece, people hang Onions on New Year’s Eve. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with vampires 🤔 Instead, the Greeks strongly believe that onions are a symbol of rebirth. So, they hang the pungent vegetables on their door to encourage growth all across the year. Culturally, has been closely associated with this idea of development, considering all the odorous onions ever seemingly aspiring to plant its root as well as keep growing.

VII. Japan, spilling the beans on Toshikoshi soba

Known for everything from kabuki baths, and onsen hot springs to all-night neon parties & sushi restaurants. In Japanese tradition, it is a mandate to welcome the new year with a bowl of soba noodles. This ritual is popularly known as Toshikoshi soba. Although nobody is pretty sure where Toshikoshi soba came first came from, it is believed that the thin shape of soba with its long length implies healthy life. Furthermore, many people believe that since the buckwheat plant utilized to make the soba noodles is very resilient, people eat the pasta on New Year’s Eve to promote their strength.

VIII Denmark, spilling the beans on the Danish traditions on New Year

Home to Christian Andersen and the famous Little Mermaid statue. A Danish tradition to throw china at your neighbors’ and friends’ front doors on New Year’s Eve. In Denmark, folks take pride in the number of broken dishes outside their door by the end of New Year’s Eve. It symbolizes leaving any aggression as well as ill will behind as the new year begins. It is also said that the larger your pile of broken dishes, the more luck you will have in the new year. No wonder, Denmark is recognized as the Happiest Nation in the world 😉

IX Ecuador and burning scarecrows

Here comes the primary exporter of petroleum and tourist destination, Ecuador. One of the festivities on New’s Year Eve is lighting up bonfires. At the heart of every bonfire are effigies that represent politicians or music icons or other figures from years prior. Burning of these effigies cleanses the world from all the evil in past 12 months. I guess it’s quite a literal implementation of the phrase, out with the old and in with the new.

Hope you enjoyed understanding how people celebrate New Year across the world. Once again, warm wishes to you and your family!


Bibliophile Parul


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Hey there, I'm Parul, working in one of the Big 4s of consulting! 💼

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