new year fireworks

Strange And Wonderful New Year's Traditions

As the year comes to a close, we reflect on the months past and welcome in the new year!

The end of the year is celebrated all over the globe. Some countries have some pretty interesting ways to ring in the New Year.

Let’s find out what some of these customs are and who celebrates them.

There are a few countries who celebrate the New Year by breaking things!
Broken Dishes

Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands all enjoy the custom of smashing plates against your friend’s and family’s doors on the eve of the new year.

It’s a sign of popularity to have a pile of broken dishes on your doorstep. The tradition is meant to bring the recipient good luck in the coming year.

Tossing a Chair out a Window


In Johannesburg, South Africa and Italy, they toss things out the window! Old items which aren’t needed. Appliances. Furniture… Yikes! The idea behind this one is getting rid of old to make room for the new. That’s one way to do it.

sneakers shoes

Seollal is the Korean New Year celebration. One of their rituals for this holiday is to hide their shoes!

Why? Koreans believe that ghosts can come to the human realm on the eve of Seollal. If the ghost finds a pair of shoes that fit, it will steal them.

When that happens the person who the shoes belonged to will have bad luck all year! That would be a terrible way to spend a year, huh?

12 Green Grapes

In Spain they have a tradition of eating grapes. A specific number of grapes. Exactly at midnight.

The people pick 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve and wait for the clocks to begin ringing at midnight. The goal is to eat one grape every time the clocks chime.

The grapes represent the 12 months of the year, and they’re eaten for luck! Think it might be an easy thing to do? It may not sound like a lot, but munching on 12 grapes in a row is actually a bit of a challenge.

round fruits, round home decor, purple shirt with white polka dots and a sprig of lavender

In the Philippines, eating 12 round fruits at the stroke of midnight is part of the tradition as well. And grapes are a common choice. They go a bit further with the round bit, though.

In addition to eating round foods, they will decorate their homes with round items, and they will wear clothing with polka dots.

The belief behind this custom is that the round stuff symbolizes prosperity. Surrounding themselves with lots of round things is said to ensure a prosperous year ahead!

A lot of countries celebrate by making noise… lots of noise!

Fireworks Display

In Thailand and China, fireworks deliver huge displays of noise and color. This is done to frighten off demons and push back the darkness.

In Italy, the sound of church bells ring through the air.

The Swiss beat drums to welcome the New Year.

Fireworks and air horns are part of the celebrations for the United States. A long time ago, part of the tradition was to bang on pots and pans!

People do like to celebrate the New Year by making a big ruckus!

Hogmanay Parade of torches

In Scotland their celebration for the New Year is called Hogmanay… and it lasts for 3 days! Hogmanay begins with house cleaning, street festivals, entertainment, and fire festivals. People have parades where they march down the street with torches.

Then, on New Year’s Eve, the first person that steps through your door at midnight or thereafter would foretell what your year would be like. It’s called “first-footing.”

The folklore behind it says that if a tall, handsome fellow with dark hair was the first through your door, you’d have a year filled with luck!

Open door, chair, windows, and dog

One tradition that is in a lot of different cultures is reflecting on the previous year and making New Year’s resolutions. This custom has been practiced since, at least, 2600 BC! While it’s not a weird tradition, it certainly has been around a long time!

There are plenty of ways to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of the new year. In many cultures, it’s all about letting go of the past and welcoming in great things for the year to come!

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