New year in each country is celebrated in its own way. Some countries greet the very first day of the new year with exclusive traditions. Here are some strange new year customs and traditions around the world that we have collected.
Festivals held in the 2nd month of Lunar Year
In Spain, people like to spend New Year’s Eve with their family and close friends. There is a very interesting tradition followed by the Spanish for new year celebration- eating grapes. When the midnight strikes, they quickly eat twelve grapes, one at each stroke of the clock. These are supposed to bring good luck and prosperity for all 12 months.
The tradition originated in 1909, the year of overproduction of grapes in Spain. The King was very happy that he decided to offer the excess to everybody to eat on New Year’s Eve.
Lemanja (or Yemanja) is a mother goddess of the ocean in the Brazilian myths. On New Year’s Eve, local people dressed in white getting near the sea to watch fireworks and throw white flowers and other gifts toward the sea for the goddess in the hope that she will grant fortune and happiness to them. Some put their gift into small wooden toy boats. The gifts and floating candles are left in the sea for nights.
Denmark celebrates the New Year with a tradition of throwing breakable dishes at the front door. If you wake up in Denmark on New Year’s Day and find a huge tower of broken plates, dishes, cups… at the doorstep, don’t be annoyed. You are the lucky one as it means that you will have lots of friends in this year. However, this tradition is not popular anymore today. People in Denmark also believe that if they stand on a chair and jump from it when the clock strikes twelve to welcome New Year, they will be lucky in the coming time of New Year.
In Scotland, New Year is called Hogmonay. On this day, men parade through the streets holding carrying blazing balls of fire and swinging over the heads. The locals believe that the fire brings sunshine and purification, and this way the old year is burnt up and the new year starts.
In the Philippines, round objects, representing coins, are believed to bring luck and prosperity in the New Year. They decorate a dining table with round fruits. Ideally, there should be twelve different fruits, each symbolizes a month. Some people also wear polka dots on this occasion. Traditionally, the New Year should be started with a full wallet to be well off all year.
Ecuador has a unique tradition of making scarecrows and burning them on New Year’s Eve. They dress up and fill scarecrows with newspapers, pieces of woods. Some are made to look like popular people such as president or political figures. As the midnight strikes, people gather at the front door and burn the scarecrows. The tradition is symbolic of destroying bad luck from the old year.
For single people in Ireland, New Year’s Eve is the night that can bring the love of their life. Women who sleep with mistletoe leaves under the pillow that night are believed to receive luck in love for the new year. Also, people believe that mistletoe helps them get rid of bad luck.
Talca town in Chile may be the only place in the world celebrating New Year with dead relatives at cemetery. The 15-year-old traditions started in 1995 when a family in the town jumped the cemetery fence to spend New Year’s Eve beside their father’s grave. The local believe that their lost loved ones wait for them and they should start the New Year with them. This is the occasion for a family member to gather and think of loved ones.