Unconventional New Year’s Eve traditions from around the globe

Unconventional New Year’s Eve traditions from around the globe

When the clock hits 12 on New Year's Eve, people everywhere come together to cheer as they say goodbye to one year and welcome a new one. Many people join in with common things like fireworks, drinking champagne and counting down. But some places do strange traditions that show how varied their cultures are. As we move into the new year, let's look at strange New Year's Eve traditions from different parts of the world.

Spain’s Grapes of Good Luck

In Spain, when the clock strikes 12 at night there is a unique custom. It's called 'Las doce uvas de la suerte', which means 'The Twelve Grapes of Luck'. When the clock rings 12 times, Spanish people try to eat 12 grapes. They eat one with each bell sound and this symbolizes good luck for every month of next year. The problem is eating all twelve grapes fast, which makes for a fun and sometimes funny way to begin the new year.

Danish Plate Smashing

In Denmark, they do a funny kind of house cleaning to say hello to the New Year. People save their broken and unwanted plates all year. On New Year's Eve, they happily break them against the doors of friends or family. The more pieces that are broken, the better because people believe smashed plates bring luck and show strong connections in future.

South African Furniture Tossing

In Johannesburg, South Africa, it's not rare to see old furniture being thrown out of windows on New Year’s Eve. This act of 'Goodbye Old Things' means getting rid of things you don't want, showing a fresh start for next year. People might be surprised, but this habit helps to create a group feeling of starting fresh and experiencing things together.

Japanese Temple Bells

In Japan, New Year's Eve or 'Omisoka' is time for thinking about the past year and becoming spiritually clean. In Buddhist churches all over the place, a custom known as 'Joya no Kane' involves hitting big temple bells 108 times. Each band is said to represent one of the 108 worldly desires, making them pure and ready for a fresh start in the coming year.

To make sure a year of adventure and travel, it's usual for Colombians to walk around their block with an empty suitcase at midnight. It is thought that this ceremony brings a love to travel and the hope of fun trips in coming months.

Happy New Year!