From eating grapes to dropping ice-cream on floor, from whispering to animals to dancing in bear costumes, here are some unique New Year’s Eve traditions celebrated across the globe
- In Denmark people save all of their unused dishes and plates until the 31st of December when they affectionately shatter them against the doors of all their friends and family. It is more like popularity contest where bigger pile of broken china indicates more friends and more good luck in the new year. Another custom in Denmarkis the jumping off chairs at midnight, symbolising the leap into the New Year when the clock strikes 12.– pic: broken china
- In Ecuador, people celebrate the New Year by burning paper filled scarecrows at midnight, along with photographs from the year gone by in the name of good fortune. This tradition possibly originated in Guayaquilin 1895 when a yellow fever epidemic hit the town, and coffins packed with clothes of the deceased were burnt for purification. In Panama, the New Year’s tradition for good luck is burning effigies of everyone and anyone famous.– pic: scarecrow
- In some South American countries wearing coloured underwear will determine your fate for the new year. Red underwear means you’ll find love. Gold means wealth, and white signifies peace. In Turkey, red panties are also handed out as gifts for good luck and the promise of a fruitful new year.
- Every year at the end of December people in a small Peruvian village fist fight to settle their differences. Called the Takanakuy Festival, people then start the year off on a clean slate.Takanakuy literally means ‘when the blood is boiling’, but apparently all of the fights are friendly, and represent a fresh start for the year.
- In Spain, the New Year’s tradition revolves around eating grapes, which supposedly brings prosperity. The tradition is to eat 12 grapes (one for every month), at each bell strike at midnight.The favoured way is to take a bite, then swallow the grape halves whole. The tradition dates back to 1909 when vine growers in Alicantecame up with this idea in order to sell more grapes after an exceptional harvest.– pic: grapes
- In the Philippines, the start of the new year is all about the money. There is a belief among the locals that by surrounding themselves with round things (which represent coins) will bring fortune. Wearing polka dots clothes, eating round food, constantly jingling coins in pocket to keep money flowing is common practice. In Bolivia coins are baked into sweets and whoever finds the coins has good luck for the next year.– pic: coins
- At midnight, Buddhist temples all over Japanring their bells 108 times to dispel the 108 evil passions all human beings have, according to Buddhism. Japanese believe that joyanokane, the ringing of the bells, will cleanse them from their sins of the previous year. Another practice is eating buckwheat noodles called toshikoshi soba on New Year’s Eve, which symbolisesthe wish for a long life.– pic: coins
- For the ones who have been dreaming about travelling abroad, in Colombia, people carry suitcases around with them all day in hopes of travelling more in the new year.
- Called as quaaltaghor qualtagh, in Scotland, is the first person to cross the threshold of a home in the new year should carry a gift for good luck.
- On New Year’s Eve in Piazza San Marco, Venice, thousands gather around not just for the spectacular fireworks, and light show, which sees ‘hearts’ raining down, but also for a kiss in Venice and welcoming the new year with happiness and love.
- Apart from whispering to their animals, Romanians celebrate the new year by wearing bear costumes and furs, and dancing from house to house in an attempt to keep dispel evil.
- In Talca, Chile, locals like to bring in the new year in the company of their dead relatives. The town mayor opens the graveyard after the mass, where people spend the night beside the grave of their loved one lighting candles, while classical music plays in the background.
- In Switzerland, people drop a dollop of ice-cream on the floor at midnight December 31. And Bolivians hang straw dolls outside their homes. – pic: ice-cream
Compiled by Manasi Y Mastakar