Bored of the same old New Year’s Eve spent watching fireworks and signing Auld Langs Syne? If the British NYE tradition just isn’t cutting it for you anymore, why not venture into a new culture to celebrate? We’ve listed some of the most fascinating December 31st traditions from across the world below…
New Year’s Eve in Greece consists of hanging onions on your door… yes, it does seem a little strange. The hanging of the onion signifies rebirth and regrowth for the coming year. The following day, the tradition gets a little stranger as parents wake their children up by hitting them over the head with the onion. We did say it got stranger...
Another food-related tradition is grape eating in Spain. At the stroke of midnight, people eat 12 grapes, one on each stroke of the clock. Every grape represents one month of good luck for the upcoming year, so make sure you have room for them all!
Following the fire theme is Colombia, where each year the locals make paper scarecrows that resemble people that have passed or people they dislike. In order to leave the past behind and overcome losses and dislikes, they then burn the paper scarecrows as a way to move forward into the new year!
If you like to party then head to Scotland for the three day celebration known as Hogmanay. The 30th December sees a river of fire in the city of Edinburgh as people line the streets holding tourches. On the big day itself, people hit the streets with a few drinks to warm their bellies - plenty of traditional dancing and music can be found too.
If fire isn’t your thing, then maybe food is? Estonia is the place for foodies to celebrate on New Year’s Eve as they indulge in plenty of grub. The tradition is that people eat either seven, nine or twelve dishes throughout the evening in order to give them the strength of as many men as dishes they have eaten for the new year. Naturally, most then spend New Year’s Day in somewhat of a food coma!
Whilst Estonians are clearing their plates, the Danes are smashing them! In Denmark people collect chipped and slightly broken dishes all year round so that they can be thrown at friends' and neighbours' front doors. The smashing of plates is done to banish bad spirits, so the more shards you wake up to on New Year’s Day the better, as it means you’re a popular resident that people want to protect.
In Japan the traditions are a little tamer – there isn't any plate smashing or scarecrow burning here. Instead, the Japanese tend to ring bells to bring in the new year. The bells are rung at Buddhist temples 108 times, which in ancient Buddhist tradition is one toll for each of the world desires.
Do you like to get dressed up for New Year’s Eve? Then maybe Romania is the place for you as the tradition is for dancers to dress up as bears! The old pagan ritual signifies the death of the old year and the birth of the incoming one.
What New Year’s Eve traditions do you have? Let us know by tweeting @icelollyholiday!
Published on 13th May 2015
Published on 5th November 2015
Published on 6th January 2015