New Year’s Eve – the weird and wonderful


In this country we like New Year’s Eve to follow a simple formula. Good friends, a lively party and plenty of food and drink to indulge in. On the stroke of midnight we like to mark the advent of a new year with a bit of hugging and kissing, a burst of Auld Lang Syne, a glass of champers and a magical fireworks display. Other countries are not so straight forward… in fact some are downright bonkers!

Here is our pick of the best New Year’s traditions.

Bring out your dead!

Well not literally, but in Chile it is common for families to set up camp around the graves of their relatives for a big family celebration to welcome in the New Year.

Show us your pants

Mexicans like to wear brightly coloured underwear as a symbol of their hopes for the New Year. Red is love, yellow is money.

Take the leap

Danes like to jump of a chair at midnight to ban all bad spirits in the New Year. They also like to smash dishes on each other’s front doors – if you wake up with a pile of broken crockery on your doorstop then you should be pleased, it means you are popular. Mental note, don’t invite a Dane over to your NYE party!

Grape escape

Spaniards like to eat 12 grapes once the midnight bell tolls. The challenge is to finish them off before the bell has finished chiming. Do you think a glass of wine would count as the grape quota?

Seeing spots

No, you are just in the Philippines. They like to go polka for New Year, wearing spotty clothes as well as eating round food. The circular shapes symbolise money and they hope this means they will be prosperous.

Go out with a bang

In Times Sq., USA the custom is to watch a 12 feet diameter, six-ton crystal ball travel 141 feet down a flagpole in 60 seconds. With 2688 Waterford Crystal triangles making up the famous Times Square ball drop, it would mark the New Year with an almighty smash if it went wrong. Of course it’s America though, the health and safety capital. The New Year will just be sparkly and full of oooohhhs and aaaahhhhhs.

Full to the brim

Estonians like to munch on seven to twelve full meals to ensure abundance of food during the coming year. Of course now they have an obesity problem! Hungry anyone?

Up in flames

Effigies burning… is it Lewes bonfire night? Well it could be, but if your calendar reads Dec 31st the chances are you are in Ecuador, where tradition dictates a newspaper stuffed scarecrow (which quite regularly has the face of a politician!) is supposed to burn away any bad things from the previous year.

A peck on the cheek

Belarus ladies place their fate in the hands (or scaly feet) of the mighty rooster. Each one places a pile of corn in front of them and whichever is eaten first is a sign that they will be the first to marry. So romantic!

Sea in the New Year

Brazilians like to throw white flowers into the ocean to honour the Goddess of the Sea, Yemanja. The hope is she will then grant your wishes for the New Year. Over the years other offerings have been included – lipstick, jewellery, perfume… I wouldn’t necessarily factor in a New Year’s Day swim unless you don’t mind a skirting around the contents of someone’s make up bag!

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