If you celebrate New Year’s Eve like many other Americans, you probably indulge in plenty of good food, pop off a few fireworks, and even sip a glass or two of bubbly champagne. Oh, and you certainly can’t forget about the big countdown at midnight, held just moments before the new year officially starts! In other countries, though, New Year’s Eve and Day look a little different, in terms of how the day is celebrated. Here are a few awe-inspiring New Year traditions you may not have realized existed!
Making Plenty of Noise
In many cultures, ringing in the new year involves a lot of noise and light, from shooting fireworks and guns to ringing church bells and even throwing plates.
• In Ancient Thailand, guns were fired to scare away bad energies.
• In Denmark, they throw plates and glasses against others’ front doors to banish malicious spirits.
• In Ecuador, they like to burn effigies of famous people to destroy negative memories.
• In many countries, people wait for church bells or clock tower chimes to usher in the new year.
Eating Delicious Food
No surprise here – many New Year’s traditions around the world involve food. Here are a few of the coolest traditions across the globe.
• In Spain, people attempt to eat 12 grapes during the 12 strokes of midnight, for good luck.
• Dutch families serve ring-shaped fritters, which symbolize “coming full circle” and bring luck.
• In Ireland, people celebrate by satisfying their sweet tooth with pastries called bannocks.
• In Swiss homes, dollops of whipped cream, symbolizing the richness of the New Year, are dropped on the floor and allowed to remain there.
Giving Lucky Gifts
Though we may not associate New Year’s Day with gift-giving, there was once a time when people exchanged gifts to welcome the year to come.
• In Rome, gilded nuts or coins are given to mark the start of the new year.
• Persians used to ring in the new year by giving eggs, the symbol of fertility, to loved ones.
• In Ancient Egypt, people traded earthenware flasks.
• In Scotland, coal, shortbread, and silverware were exchanged for luck in the new year.
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