New Years Traditions From Around the World

New Years Traditions From Around the World

Many Americans celebrate the New Year by watching the ball drop, having parties, or watching fireworks, but did you know that there are other traditions all around the world? Here are just a few.


In many Latin American countries, people eat twelve grapes at each bell strike at midnight. They make twelve wishes for the new year for each one they eat. Another Latin American tradition is running up the street with empty suitcases hoping to bring safe travels in the new year.


In Denmark it is a tradition to throw dishes onto neighbors, friends and families’ doorsteps. When people walk out of their doors and see giant piles of broken dishes, they know they have many friends. 


Italians have this tradition, as well, but they additionally throw old pieces of furniture out of their windows indicating a fresh start. 


Puerto Ricans have a tradition similar to the Americans tradition of the ball drop. However they have their differences. Instead of a ball dropping the Puerto Ricans have a Star rising.It is also tradition for people to sprinkle sugar outside their doors for good luck into the new year.


In Chile, families head to the graveyard to bring the new year to their loved ones that have passed on. They bring food and celebrate with fireworks, hoping for luck in the new year and peace for the family members who have died.


In Belarus, unmarried women compete in games on New Year’s Day. The winner of the games is said to be the one to be married in the New Year. An example of a game that is played involves each woman standing in front of their own corn pile. A rooster is let loose and the whoevers corn pile he picks is the winner.


At midnight on New Year’s Eve, 108 bell tolls can be heard in Japan. This practice is called Joya-no-Kane and the number of chimes represent what is known in Buddhism as the “earthly desires.”


In Ireland, people go out in the streets at midnight with pots and pans, banging them as they go along. This action is meant to ward off evil and all negativity to have a fresh start for the new year. This tradition also happens anywhere from the UK to Australia, but is believed to have started in Ireland. 


In Armenia, people write wishes on scraps of paper, set them on fire and put them into their drinks. They then drink the ashes of their wishes as the clock strikes midnight.


One of my favorite traditions comes from Cyprus. Families of the Greek Orthodox religion bake  cakes or breads, placing a coin in each one.. Whoever receives the slice with the coin inside receives good luck for the year.