Some New Year’s Eve Traditions from Around the World

A quick look at some different traditions around the world for New Year’s Eve:

  • SCARECROW BURNING (ECUADOR) – Over in Ecuador, many citizens set fire to scarecrows filled with paper at midnight on New Year’s Eve, as well as burning any old photographs that represent bad memories. According to age-old tradition, it’s thought doing so helps to banish any ill-fortune or bad things that have happened over the last 12 months.

  •  BROKEN PLATES (DENMARK) – on New Year’s Eve the Danes throw unused plates that have been saved up throughout the year at the front doors of family and friends for good luck. The more plates you find outside your house, the more luck you’ll have in the New Year, apparently.

  • 108 BELLS RINGING (JAPAN) – This Buddhist tradition is believed to banish human sins, bringing good luck to all.

  • WEARING COLOURED UNDERWEAR (SOUTH AMERICA) – Those who want to find love wear red underpants for New Year, whilst those hoping for wealth should opt for yellow. If you’re just looking for peace, white pants should do the trick.

  • ROUND THINGS (PHILIPPINES) – The Filipinos hope to bring prosperity and wealth to the coming year by surrounding themselves with round things on New Year’s Eve. From coins to grapes, each item represents wealth and success.

  • THROWING FURNITURE OUT OF THE WINDOW (ITALY) – Over in Italy, many locals throw old furniture (soft items, you’ll be pleased to know) out of the window to symbolize a fresh start for the upcoming year. From cushions to blankets, anything that no longer brings them joy will be chucked outside.

  • TOSSING PAPER OUT OF THE WINDOW (ARGENTINA) – After shredding all of their old documents and papers, the Argentines then throw them out of the window to look like clouds of confetti. According to custom, they shred everything before the curtain falls on the year, to symbolize leaving the past behind.

  • TALKING TO ANIMALS (ROMANIA) – farmers spend their New Year’s communicating with their livestock. Apparently, if they succeed, good luck comes their way.

  • TWELVE GRAPES OF LUCK (SPAIN) – In Spain and some Latin American countries, one New Year’s tradition is to eat 12 grapes, one for each month of the coming year, to secure prosperity.
  • POURING LEAD (GERMANY) – people melt small pieces of lead in a spoon over a candle, then pour the liquid into cold water. The bizarre shapes from the Bleigießen (lead pouring) are supposed to reveal what the year ahead will bring. If the lead forms a ball, luck will roll one’s way, while the shape of a crown means wealth; a cross signifies death and a star will bring happiness.
  • FIRST FOOTING (SCOTLAND) – In Scottish folklore, the “first-foot,” also known as quaaltagh or qualtagh, is the first person crossing the threshold after midnight. A tall, dark-haired male with gifts like coins, coal, bread, salt, and a “wee dram” of whiskey, is thought to bring the best luck for the house. The tradition probably dates back to the Viking days when big, blond strangers (commonly armed with axes and swords) at the door meant trouble, and in some places, first footing by a fair-haired male is still regarded as unlucky.
  • MASS KISSING (VENICE) – on New Year’s Eve in Piazza San Marco, tens of thousands of locals and tourists gather for fireworks, a light show (which sees “hearts” raining down), and “a kiss in Venice.”
  • POTATO DROP (BOISE) – the people of downtown Boise will welcome the new year by dropping a giant spud from the sky.
  • MISTLETOE AND BREAD (IRELAND) – Single women in Ireland sometimes place mistletoe (a berry associated with fertility in European mythology) under their pillows. They then burn it in a fire the next day in the hope of luring in love over the year. 
  • CARP SCALES (GERMANY) – People in Germany enjoy a traditional meal of Silvesterkarpfen (or ‘New Year’s Carp’) on New Year’s Eve. It’s also considered lucky to keep a scale from the carp in your wallet throughout the year to bring wealth and luck. However, removing the scale is seen as removing the luck.

These traditions make our tradition of eating Thai food and watching Family Man kind of boring.

But it’s our tradition, and I’m sticking by it…



Country Living



109 thoughts on “Some New Year’s Eve Traditions from Around the World

      1. Yeah, but they’re spontaneous inaugurations. They decide to tar and feather their current leader, then instantly elect a new leader. The one who brings the most tar and feathers tends to be the one who gets elected.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t know what people in California watch at midnight. I’m sleeping at that time.

        I think most of us just watch the ball drop in Times Square. In fact, my wife used to fool her daughter into thinking it was midnight, by turning on the TV to the ball drop, and then changing the hands on the clock when she wasn’t looking.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. you wonder which way the bar would like to turn the clocks – maybe delay the showing of the countdown to sell more beer…

        or they may just want to get people out fo the bar…

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I go with placing money outside before midnight in order to bring wealth into my home in the new year.

    One of my neighbors both sweeps out the old year (and bad luck) and takes suitcases outside (something about traveling in the new year).

    Since I didn’t bother with the cleaning today, I’ll aim for lunar new year!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I would have been here sooner, but I was out communicating with animals. Perhaps communicating is too strong a word. They look at me in curiosity while the neighbors are considering charging admission.

    I like the idea of winging out furniture. I don’t know if they do this back east, but for some reason, people just put out all of their used furniture here and hope somebody takes it. I guess it’s to prevent a trip to the dump, but it’s gotten pretty ridiculous.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What I found interesting about these is that so many involve destroying things, or throwing them out of windows. Definitely not a night to be taking a stroll! I’m guessing that the South American underwear one also has a category for those who just want a piece of action: don’t wear any underwear at all…

    Liked by 4 people

  4. It is the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition to eat a meal of pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day for good luck. Not sure how it works on luck, but it is delicious! Entertaining post, my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I am a huge fan of global and cultural traditions and thanks so much for sharing these, you’ve made my new year start off with a smile. in some asian cultures, you open the front door at midnight to let out the bad things from the past year and to let in the good ones. happy new year to all no matter what color of underwear you are wearing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I enjoyed reading about these traditions as well. I wonder if there’s any chance that Asian tradition could work in reverse? Myabe people should wear multi-colored underwear so that they get all the benefits 🙂


  6. Happy New Year Jim 🎈🎉🎈 First footing still goes on in Scotland. The tradition also says you can’t turn away anyone who appears at your door after midnight. That’s why they have a 2 day holiday!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Fun things to learn! I may eat 12 grapes today.
    Do you remember the old comedy Perfect Strangers? We watched that last nigbt while eating pork and sauerkraut. Gotta eat that on New Year’s for luck. We had it on Christmas too, thought we would double the luck. 🙂
    Happy New Year Jim!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do not remember Perfect Strangers – I’ll have to look it up. Anotehr blogger, Brad, also mentioned the pork and sauerkraut. I hope you do double your luck. I’ll be buying a Powerball ticket today, so that’s what I’m counting on for the New Year!


      1. Its funny! Our kids like it so that tells you something. Usually my son is like, “Why are you watching that?” LOL!
        Brad is right, a Pa Dutch tradition. 😊
        Thanks and good luck to you! Just think a Beach house could be yours this year!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This was fun to read! Most of these traditions are super… except throwing the plates at front doors. Today we’re celebrating the tradition of eating pork and sauerkraut for good luck.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Hubby is from York, PA, with a Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. Heaven forbid we didn’t have pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day! I’m glad three of us mentioned it.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. My husband and I like to watch at least several countries, such as Australia where he was born, London where he lived for two years, Hong Kong where I came from and a few more where we have friends and relatives.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Recognise a few of these, Jim. First footing still goes on here, but not as much. Back in the day people would roam the streets with a kerry oot looking for a party, Heady days.


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