New Year Traditions from Around the World
New Year Traditions from Around the World. Need more luck or good fortune this upcoming 2023 year? Take a look at some ways people search for good luck around the world! After the last year we had, we could all use some good luck this 2023.
New Year Traditions from Around the World
In the U.S. we usher out the last day of the year with cocktails, ball drops and fireworks. Elsewhere, other types of symbolism play a big role in this final holiday of the season. Find out how you can get in on these traditions too.
Just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, the Japanese eat soba noodles. The Toshikoshi soba, which translates to a “year-crossing” buckwheat noodle dish, has lots of symbolism. The long noodle denotes the crossing from one year to the next. Since it’s an easily cut noodle, it signifies a letting go of the past year’s regrets—a cutting-off, if you will, before the fresh start the new year brings.
The French usually ring in the New Year with a huge feast, commonly known as le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre. The meal is full of traditional, decadent eats, including foie gras, oysters, lobster, and escargot. And just like in the U.S., champagne is the drink of choice.
Wearing White (Brazil)
In Brazil, the new year is regarded as a time to reflect upon the past and make new resolutions for the coming year. Everyone wears white because the color signifies luck, prosperity, and is meant to ward off bad spirits. As the tradition goes, revelers gather on the beaches donning white garb where they jump seven waves—a lucky number in Brazilian culture—for good fortune and throw flowers into the water as an offering to Lemanjá, the goddess of the sea.
Denmark: Smashing Plates
In Denmark, people take pride in the number of broken dishes outside of their door by the end of New Year’s Eve. It’s a Danish tradition to throw china at your friends’ and neighbors’ front doors on New Year’s Eve—some say it’s a means of leaving any aggression and ill-will behind before the New Year begins—and it is said that the bigger your pile of broken dishes, the more luck you will have in the upcoming year.
In Spain, with 12 seconds remaining until the New Year, people eat 12 green grapes to bring good luck in the coming year. It’s thought to be bad luck if you can’t eat them all by the final midnight chime. But gobble them down in time and 12 months of good fortune will come your way.
Filipino culture celebrates the New Year by serving 12 round fruits. The round shape symbolizes coins, which represent prosperity and wealth for each month of the upcoming year. Apples, melons, oranges and grapes are popular picks, but any round fruit will do.
Festival of Saint Basil (Greece)
The Greek celebration of the New Year is also known as the Festival of Saint Basil, honoring the founder of the Greek Orthodox Church. Each year, there are a number of celebrations that take place as a means to attract luck and bring prosperity. An onion, for example, is traditionally hung on the door of homes as a symbol of rebirth, and on New Year’s Day, parents wake children by tapping them on the head with the onion.
Dropping Ice Cream (Switzerland)
In celebration of the New Year, the Swiss channel good luck, wealth, and abundance by dropping a dollop of ice cream on the floor at midnight. They also line the streets in colorful costumes and perform symbolic ceremonies intended to chase away negative spirits.
Colombia boasts an array of New Year’s traditions intended to bring fortune and prosperity to those who participate. Party goers carry empty suitcases at midnight in hopes of inducing a year rife with travel. They also bear money in hand to attract financial security and stability in the coming year. Lentils are believed to bring luck and affluence, so many bake them into their rice or carry them in their pockets.
Centuries-long traditions have been passed down from generation to generation in the form of festive decor, baking a special New Year’s dish, or performing a superstitious tradition when the clock strikes midnight. Let each culture’s traditions guide good fortune and prosperity in your life this coming year.
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