New Year’s traditions from around the world

As we prepare to give 2021 a good riddance and welcome a New Year with 2022, residents of all countries are not celebrating the stroke of midnight with champagne and a New Year’s kiss.

Some countries have unique – and, let’s be honest, really weird – customs that might even inspire you to adopt different traditions for your own New Year’s celebrations.

The Greeley Tribune has researched some of the strangest, as well as endearing, customs from around the world.

Here are eight traditions from different countries, in no particular order:

1. When it comes to eating a certain food for good luck, the Spaniards rely on grapes to bring prosperity in the New Year. And not just a few grapes here or there will be enough. The tradition, which has existed since the late 19th century, requires people to eat 12 grapes, one for each bell ring after midnight.

2. An extremely unique tradition is the planting of trees under a frozen lake in Russia. For the past 25 years, two divers have ventured into frozen Lake Baikal to plant a New Year’s tree more than 100 feet below the surface. The tree is usually a spruce tree that has been decorated with things to bring good luck and encourage the community for the coming year.

3. Italians are known for their romantic nature and their passion for love. So it’s no surprise that their New Years Eve tradition involves the color red and underwear. In Italy, the color red is associated with fertility, so people – both men and women – looking to conceive in the coming year will wear red underwear for good luck.

4. Remembering our deceased loved ones is a common theme during the holiday season. In Chile, New Year’s religious services are held in cemeteries where family and friends can sit with their deceased loved ones and include them in the festivities.

5. For people in the United States, finding a broken plate or glass on your doorstep wouldn’t be pleasant. But the Danes welcome lots of broken plates at their doorstep. The Danes have a tradition of throwing plates and glasses at the door of friends and neighbors to get rid of aggression or malevolence. The bigger the pile of broken plates, the more luck you will have in the coming year.

6. While an apple a day keeps the doctor away, in the Czech Republic apples are used to predict people’s fortunes for the New Year. On New Year’s Eve, the apples are cut in half to see the apple core. It is said that the nucleus determines the fate of all those around it. If the core looks like a star, it means you will have a great year. However, if the core looks like a cross, everyone around the apple can expect to get sick.

seven. Gourmets, this one is for you! In the country of Estonia, eating multiple meals on New Years Eve – up to 12 meals – is considered to bring luck to the eater for the coming year. So have that extra piece of pie or a third serving of that mashed potato.

8. Residents of Greece will hang an onion or two in front of their home’s front door as a symbol of rebirth for the New Year. On New Year’s Day, parents often wake their children up by patting them on the head with the onion.

While setting plates at your neighbor’s door or planting a tree in a frozen lake might not be on your list of fun things to do on New Years Eve, here are a few other traditions you might want. include in your New Years celebration:

  • Write a wish on a small piece of paper, burn it and add the ashes to your champagne or drink.
  • If drinking ashes isn’t your thing, have everyone write down a wish, goal, or note and put it in a jar. Hold on to the jar until the next New Years celebration, then read what people put on to see if they reached their goal or fulfilled their wish.
  • In many countries, wearing a certain color or pattern is said to bring good luck. This year, wear something with polka dots or change into a solid white outfit for good luck.
  • Buy yourself a lucky charm. In Germany and Austria, having small tokens like pigs, mushrooms or clovers is supposed to bring good luck to its holder. Find something that inspires you or makes you happy and keep it where you can see it every day.
  • While it’s supposed to snow on New Years Eve, it’s a common superstition that opening doors and windows lets out the bad juju of the previous year and good news of the New Year. So maybe break that window or that screen door even just for a bit.
  • Prepare a batch of Hoppin ‘John for New Years Day. The dish – consisting of black-eyed peas, pork, and rice – is a traditional New Years meal for our friends in the southern United States. The dish is often accompanied by collard greens and cornbread. For the recipe, go to

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