From Grapes to Scarecrows: New Year’s Eve Traditions Like You’ve Never Seen
Etiquette3 Minutes Read

From Grapes to Scarecrows: New Year’s Eve Traditions Like You’ve Never Seen

December 30, 2023 Share

Explore the globe’s quirkiest New Year’s Eve customs – from grape challenges to suitcase strolls, it’s a wild ride.

New Year’s Eve – the one night when the world collectively loses its mind and indulges in the weirdest, wackiest traditions. Seriously, some of these global rituals make you wonder what’s in our water. So, buckle up; we’re about to take a whirlwind tour of the planet’s most “out there” New Year’s customs. Warning: Things are about to get bizarre.

Image courtesy of Philip Myrtorp

First stop, the Philippines, where they’re obsessed with the number 12. Forget your basic fruit bowl; families here prep 12 spherical fruits for their midnight feast. Why? Because round like coins equals prosperity. It’s like a fruity lottery where every fruit is a winner for each month of the year​​.

Over in Japan, they’re all about those bells. Come midnight, 108 bells ring out across the land. This isn’t just for the ‘gram; it’s a deep dive into Buddhist vibes, ringing out the 108 earthly desires we’re all apparently hoarding. Think of it as a spiritual detox for the New Year​​.

The Brits and Aussies, in true rebel fashion, head out to make some noise – but old school. We’re talking pots and pans, people. This noisy affair is all about scaring off evil spirits. Who needs high-tech security when you have a good old frying pan?​​.

Now, let’s waltz over to Wales, where they have this retro gift-giving tradition. Kids sing or recite rhymes at doorsteps, hoping for some sweet rewards. Think trick-or-treating, but with more singing and less sugar rush. And they carry around fruit skewered with cloves and dried fruit – their version of a lucky charm​​.

Russia and Armenia take New Year’s resolutions to a fiery level. They write wishes on paper, burn it, and then – wait for it – drink the ashes mixed in a drink. It’s not just about making a wish; it’s consuming it, quite literally​​.

Ever heard of the “vasilopita” cake from Cyprus? They hide a coin inside it. Find the coin, and you’re the lucky champ for the year. A piece of cake with a side of fortune, anyone?​​.

In the Czech Republic, new year’s eve traditions involve playing a game of fruity fortune-telling. Cut an apple in two, and if you see a star, congrats, you’re in for a good year. If it’s a cross, well, better luck next time, buddy​​.

Denmark takes the cake for sheer quirkiness. They jump off chairs at midnight, because why not leap into the New Year – quite literally. And if you thought your neighbors were messy, the Danes throw plates at their doors for good luck. Talk about a smashing start to the year​​​​.

Now, let’s get serious. In Scotland, they celebrate Hogmanay, where the Vikings’ spirit lives on with fire-burning parties. It’s lit, and we mean that in every sense of the word​​.

Spain’s tradition is a real grape challenge. Eat 12 grapes at midnight, one for each bell strike. It’s like playing Fruit Ninja, but in real-time and with higher stakes – your entire year’s fortune​​​​.

Image courtesy of Joshua Rodriguez

Meanwhile, in Brazil, they jump over seven waves for good luck as new year’s eve traditions. It’s a tribute to Yemoja, the sea goddess, which is great when you’re welcoming the new year under the summer sunshine. Us britons could never. Plus, beach party at midnight? Yes, please!​​.

Colombians, with a flair for the dramatic, take an empty suitcase for a walk. It’s all about manifesting that travel energy for the New Year, and perhaps we’ll do the same this year. No risking it, right?

So there you have it, a glimpse into the wonderfully weird ways the world rings in the New Year. Whether you’re wolfing down grapes in Spain, jumping off chairs in Denmark, or banging pots in Australia, remember: it’s all in the spirit of bidding farewell to the old and embracing the new. And who knows, maybe try one of these traditions this year? After all, in a world where TikTok trends rule and avocado toast is a lifestyle, a little New Year eccentricity is just par for the course.

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