Surprisingly epic new year celebrations around the world
Every year, as the clock strikes midnight, people around the world celebrate the new year. Whether it’s with a casual night in with friends and family or a lavish party with celebrities and fireworks, New Year’s Eve is a time to enjoy those close to you and reflect on what has happened over the past year.
The ball has nearly dropped and we can finally find some time to breathe and reflect on the past year before we welcome the new one in. And then we start thinking about where to go for our next vacation! Although we're all aware of our own new year celebrations, here’s a peek into other cultures and traditions and how they celebrate new year festivities. As you plan your next getaway, take a minute to learn about the different ways people around the world celebrate this important holiday. You might be thinking, how is new year celebrated in different countries? New Year's Eve is a time for celebration and reflection. Around the world, different cultures prepare for this momentous occasion in their own way.
Eating grapes - Spain
The twelve grapes of luck also known as las doce uvas de la suerte is an old Spanish new year tradition dating back a hundred years, to around the year 1895 - 1909. This tradition consists of eating twelve grapes at the sound of each clock bell at the stroke of midnight, during the 31st of December. Each grape eaten brings in good luck and prosperity for each month of the year. Bigger cities love doing this tradition as a group, so it’s pretty common to start seeing people eating grapes together. Interestingly, Latin American countries and even the Philippines have adopted this tradition too as they were exposed to the Spanish during the Spanish conquest.
Food, bells & postcards - Japan
Japan adopted the Gregorian calendar (the calendar that is predominantly used around the world today) during the late 1800s. The Japanese eat a range of traditional foods called osechi-ryōri, during this time. Since these dishes were made before the invention of refrigerators, many of the dishes are either sweet, sour or dried so they can be kept for a longer period of time. Mochi are one of the most popular snacks / desserts eaten during new years. It’s a type of rice cake or dumpling filled with things like sweet red beans.
Sending postcards is also an annual tradition, similar to sending out Christmas cards but for new years. In fact Japanese post offices are their busiest during this time.
Bells are rung by buddhist monks in their temples as it’s thought to get rid of worldly desires and to wash away sin of the passing year. The bells are run over 100 times during new years eve and once after midnight.
Jumping, Smashing pates - Denmark
Breaking a plate would probably cause a minor heart attack, but not in Denmark! At least not on new year’s eve. It involves smashing plates against your friends' front doors. It’s actually considered a good omen if you wake up to a pile of rubbish at your doorstep because it means people are thinking of you and you have a lot of friends.
Another tradition involves jumping on your chair when midnight hits because it’s seen as though you're jumping into the new year!
New year effigies, Paying fines - Ecuador
Big and small towns celebrate new year’s quite literally with a bang. They have a tradition of burning effigies, typically of politicians or celebrities. Many people make their own dolls called monigote with straw and old clothes to symbolise the ending of the previous year all while wearing yellow or red underwear, yellow to bring out wealth and prosperity or red representing love or passion.
Many kids block roads or other street passages with a rope, demanding the driver or pedestrians a fee to pass. Once it’s paid they are then free to go. A lot of people pay this fee in exchange for photos too.
Casting tin - Finland
Casting of tin is a tradition dating to the 18th century. It’s an old tradition which was first introduced in central europe. They cast the metal into a horseshoe and let it melt. Once it’s ready it’s cooled in cold water which forms different kinds of shapes. It’s these shapes which are said to tell fortunes for the coming year.