Unique New Year’s Eve Traditions from Around the World

Champagne is being bought. Party hats are being unpacked. A huge crystal ball is being shined. Yes, the world is getting ready for New Year’s Eve. This is one of those holidays that the vast majority of the earth’s population celebrates together. Everyone knows when it is New Year’s Eve but not everyone celebrates the same way. Here are a few New Year’s Eve traditions from around the world that you might want to start this year.

Twelve White Grapes – Spain

Although the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain, come midnight on New Year’s everyone will be eating grapes. Twelve grapes to be precise. The theory is that each grape represents a month and you need to make a wish for that month with every grape. Also, note that these twelve grapes need to be eaten before the clock finishes striking twelve.

Bang Bread Against the Wall – Ireland

Every single lass in Ireland knows that putting your Christmas mistletoe under your pillow on New Year’s Eve will mean you’ll have luck finding true love in the coming year. That is the “quiet” Irish tradition. The louder one involves banging bread against the walls of your home. This is meant to push out all the bad luck and bad spirits. The louder the banging, the better. Might want to leave that bread out for a couple of days before New Year’s Eve to get it nice and stale.

First Foot – Scotland

On New Year’s Eve in Scotland, it all comes down to that first foot. This would be the person who first steps over the threshold of your front door after the stroke of midnight. They’ll either be bringing good luck or bad luck. This doesn’t mean you have to wait for someone to come over. Instead, neighbors will make the visits carrying coal for the fire and shortbread for the kitchen. That’s all good luck. Meanwhile in Edinburg, the all night Hogmanay celebration will be rocking and rolling until the sun comes up.

108 Gongs – Japan

Before New Year’s Eve in Japan, many folks hold Bonenkai parties. These “forget-the-year” gatherings are meant to forget all the bad stuff that happened in the last 365 days and look towards a bright future. Then at midnight on New Year’s Eve, Buddist temples strike their gongs 108 times. This is meant to expel all 108 varieties of human weakness. That’s a lot to overcome!

Bonfires – The Netherlands

Want to know what to do with your Christmas tree? Set it on fire on New Year’s Eve. That’s what the Dutch will be doing. Fire provides the great purging. Plus, it beats trying to cram that Christmas tree into a garbage can.