9 New Year’s Traditions From Around the World
Feel like mixing up your New Year’s routines a little and making sure you do everything possible to be blessed with fortune, prosperity and happiness in 2016? Countdowns and sparklers aside (you shouldn’t forget the classics), we’ve put together a list of traditions from around the world that will help you do just that.
1. Start off the new year right
On the right foot that is. In Scotland and Greece, “first foot” is an old tradition – the first person who enters your home will either bring good or bad luck. Friends and relatives are good choices to enter first – always on their right foot and never empty-handed.
2. Jump around!
If you want to involve more people and more feet, simply do as the Danes do and “leap” into the year by jumping from a chair at midnight. In Brazil, people take jumping to the next level: On New Year’s Eve they go to the beach and jump over seven waves – while making seven wishes for the new year.
3. A mouthful of grapes
In Spain and many other Spanish-speaking countries, people start the New Year with a full mouth: Eating twelve grapes at midnight is believed to bring twelve months full of happiness and prosperity. You can’t just eat the grapes whenever you want, though: You need to eat them whenever the church bell strikes midnight – for each stroke of the clock, you eat one grape.
4. Za zdorovjie
In Russia, people take their New Year’s wishes very seriously and put in a lot of effort to make sure they come true: Russians make their wish, write it on a piece of paper and burn said paper. Then, they put the ashes into a glass of champagne and drink it. Cheers!
5. A year of travel
Here’s a New Year’s tradition for all travelers: In Colombia, people who want a year full of travel take their (empty) suitcase for a walk around the block at midnight.
6. Mind your colors
There are a lot of traditions that involve clothes: In Brazil, for example, you wear white to ward off evil spirits. In China, you dress in red for good luck (in January though, that’s when they’ll celebrate the New Year in 2023). Underwear seems to be an even more crucial part of New Year’s traditions all around the world, so definitely follow this underwear color guide to get your outfit just right.
7. Watch what you eat
If you eat round foods, you should be good when it comes to prosperity. In Italy, the traditional dish eaten at midnight, cotechino and lenticchie (cotechino sausage and lentils), is said to bring all kinds of good fortune in the new year – after all, the lentils look like money.
8. Make it round
On the Philippines, focusing on round things goes beyond the table – round fruits are eaten and displayed, people give each other coins and wear polka dots.
9. Let lead take the lead
Some people use tea leaves to predict the future. In German-speaking Europe and some of the Nordic countries, things get a little more heated: There, people use lead and a bowl of water to predict what the new year will bring. A small amount of lead is melted in a spoon and poured it into cold water – the shape of the lead nugget is then carefully interpreted to predict what the new year will bring.