New Years Eve Traditions around the World


Who remembers their mum throwing salt around and telling the neighbours to come round the back with bread? We don’t even know if that’s what it was, but we do recall our mums being very odd that night. There was something about ginger haired people not being allowed over the threshold too… That might have been one of Crazy Nan’s superstitions, we’re not sure, but whatever your family’s beliefs at New Year, there’s always something happening as the clock strikes midnight that people believe brings them good luck.

Around the world in every country, traditions at New Year are carried out just as they are in the UK, and some of them are pretty out there! Here are just a few of the ones we uncovered in our search… The South African one sounds slightly dangerous but also therapeutic!

In Italy, South America and Spain, it’s believed that if you wear red underwear on NYE you will have good luck and find love in the coming year. Not too sure about that one…

Another Spanish NYE custom is to eat twelve grapes, one for each toll of the bell at midnight. If you finish all twelve in time with the bell, the next 365 days will be filled with prosperity. Not sure about that one either, but it sure is healthy if nothing else.

This one we like! In Colombia, when the clock strikes midnight, tradition states that you should grab the nearest empty suitcase and run around the block with it. The faster you run, the more travel opportunities you are likely to have.

In Scotland, the tradition of Hogmanay states that the first person to step over the threshold of your home in the New Year should bring a gift for the homeowner to ensure they have good luck.

In Ireland, the tradition there is to bang bread against a wall quite enthusiastically! This is to ward off bad spirits and any bad luck that may be lingering.

If you’re not one for braving the cold, in Russia and Siberia you will struggle because their tradition is to plunge headfirst into a frozen lake holding the branch of a tree! We don’t advise this one at all, not only for safety but just for the sheer… ‘NO’-ness of it!

Now this is a weird one. In Romania, they believe that at midnight on NYE all animals can speak. If you hear an animal talk to you, you will have very bad luck all year round. If you don’t, you will have a much fulfilled year ahead. What’s the betting not many people in Romania hear their cats or dogs say hello at New Year…

The Danish have a very unusual tradition too, which involves throwing plates and crockery at your neighbour’s doors. It sounds like something you’d be arrested for here in the UK but for the Danes the more broken crockery you wake up to outside your house, the more loved you are.

In Johannesburg, South Africa, they believe throwing old furniture onto the street from the windows of your house will cast out any old unwanted feelings and thoughts from the previous year, making room for all manner of new exciting things in the year to come.

Regardless of what country you live in, or what your beliefs are, New Year’s Eve is traditionally a time when you can try to put the past behind you and start afresh. It feels good to let things go and if you want to do something new then NYE is the perfect time to set your plans in motion!

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