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New Year's Traditions Around the World

international new years traditions around the worldIt’s time to celebrate another new year! If you’re tired of the same old traditions and looking to spice up your New Year’s Eve party — or if you simply want to learn about other countries’ celebrations — check out this list of New Year’s traditions from around the world. 

New Year’s Food

  • Spain’s 12 Grapes - In Spain, many people eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight. Each grape consumed gives you good luck for one of the months of the upcoming year.
  • Armenia’s Bread - On New Year’s Eve in Armenia, the matriarch of a family will bake bread for the family to eat, hiding a coin in the dough. Whoever gets the slice of bread with the coin in it will have the best year!
  • Austria’s Pigs - Many Austrian people believe that pigs are good luck and will eat some form of pork to celebrate the upcoming year.
  • The American South’s Black-Eyed Peas - If you live in the southern region of the U.S., you probably know that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Eve is a must to have a great year!
  • Mexico’s Tamales - Many people in Mexico eat tamales to celebrate the beginning of the year. Yum!
  • The Netherland’s Oliebollen - In the Netherlands, people eat oliebollen, a fried ball of dough similar to a donut to ring in the new year.
  • Poland’s Pickled Herring - It may sound a little odd, but pickled herring is a big deal in Poland during New Year’s — as it brings a good year ahead.
  • Italy’s Lentils - In Italy, lentils bring a favor on your next year when you eat them on New Year’s.
  • Russian Salads - On New Year’s Eve in Russia, no meal is complete without a salad. One of the most popular is an Olivier salad.

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Traditions

  • Denmark’s Broken Plates - In Denmark, there’s a tradition of breaking a plate on your neighbor’s front step to bring them good luck.
  • The Philippines’ Circles - Since circles are a shape that bring good luck, on New Year’s you’ll find round things everywhere in the Philippines — from food and coins to everyone wearing polka dots.
  • Greece’s Onions - This might be one of our favorites. On New Year’s Eve, Greek families will hang an onion by the door and wake children up by putting the onion on their heads! The onion symbolizes growth and rebirth.
  • Brazil’s Underwear - You may not see this tradition, but in Brazil, people wear red underwear to ring in the new year, as it brings good luck.
  • Burma’s Water - In Burma, people throw water on each other as a sign of cleansing for the year to come.
  • Turkey’s Salt - In Turkey, at midnight on New Year’s Eve, people sprinkle salt on their doorsteps for good luck.
  • Switzerland’s Cream - The Swiss spend New Year’s Eve dropping a spoonful of cream on the floor of their homes! It’s known to bring a good year.
  • Colombia’s Empty Suitcases - In Colombia, if you want to travel in the next year, you should carry an empty suitcase down the street on New Year’s Eve.
  • Brazil’s White Flowers - In Brazil, people wish on white flowers and throw them into the ocean hoping they’ll come true.
  • China’s Red Envelopes - In China, red envelopes full of money are gifts that bring good luck.

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Decorations

  • Mexico’s Colors - In Mexico, it’s a tradition to decorate your house in a color symbolizing your hope for the new year. If you want success in love, decorate in red. If you want a successful career, try yellow. If you want money, decorate in green.
  • Scotland’s Fire - In Scotland, you’ll see lots of fire on New Year’s Eve as people walk through the streets carrying flaming torches for good luck.
  • China’s Red Doors - To celebrate the new year in China, doors are painted red to symbolize prosperity for the next year.
  • Ireland’s Mistletoe - If you want to get married in the next year, do as the Irish do and put some mistletoe underneath your pillow on New Year’s Eve.
  • Iceland’s Bonfires – As a sign of purging the past year the landscape of Iceland is decorated with bonfires on New Year’s Eve.
However you celebrate, we wish you a Happy New Year! 

Kayla Rutledge is a college student who spends most of her time writing, singing for her church and eating quesadillas.