7 Lucky New Year’s Traditions Around the World
Posted on 01/02/2017
2017 is here, and with the New Year comes new opportunities, new ideas and a renewed excitement for the future. All around the world, communities celebrate and embrace the upcoming months, with a bright vision for what lies ahead.
And just like the communities themselves, the New Year traditions they celebrate are as diverse and unique as they come. The U.S. has specific customs, while other cultures have ideas of their own. Check out these seven lucky New Year’s traditions from around the world.
Spaniards certainly know how to ring in the New Year! Traditionally, they celebrate by quickly eating 12 grapes, or uvas, with every chime of the clock as it strikes midnight. Each grape is supposed to symbolize the coming months of the year. In larger cities like Madrid or Barcelona, large crowds gather in the square to gobble down their uvas together.
Things can get a little messy during Denmark’s New Year’s tradition, as residents keep a pile of broken dishes outside their front door. All during the year, citizens save up their old dishes to throw them at their friends’ doors during the New Year celebration. The custom symbolizes friendship and brotherhood for the Danes; the person with the most broken plates is thought to have the most friends.
Even though the Chinese are on a different calendar than the United States, they still know how to go all out for the New Year. In their celebration, people paint their front doors red, to symbolize happiness and good fortune for the upcoming months. And of course, they hide all the knives during New Year’s Day, because if someone cuts himself, the entire family is fraught with bad luck for the year.
In Colombia, citizens hope for an adventure-packed year full of traveling. They embrace the New Year by toting empty suitcases around the block, in aspiration of the coming months. We’re all for traveling—whatever works!
In Greece, New Year’s Day also celebrates St. Basil’s Day, one of the forefathers of the Greek Orthodox Church. Greeks celebrate by baking their special Vassilopitta bread, or St. Basil’s cake. They bury a silver or gold coin baked inside, and whoever finds the coin in their slice of bread is said to have good luck for the rest of the year.
In Japan, the New Year is the most important holiday, and symbolizes renewal. It begins with cleaning the entire house, decorating for luck and fortune and resolving all interpersonal issues before the New Year comes. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, Buddhist temples strike their gongs 108 times to symbolize the expulsion of the 108 types of human weakness.
Traditionally, Germans try to predict the future of the New Year by dropping molten lead into cold water and watching what shape it forms. Different shapes symbolize various aspects of life—love, prosperity, etc. At midnight, families come together with the bits of leftover lead as a good omen for the coming year’s delightful abundance.
No matter what your New Year’s traditions are, we hope you have a wonderful start to 2017. Celebrate by spending time with family, friends and enjoying your favorite local eatery. From all around the world, have a Happy New Year!