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10 Weird New Year’s Eve Traditions from Around the World

By and | Published December 30, 2016

2016 is drawing to a close and one of the biggest nights out of the year is just on our doorstep. New Year’s Eve is here! Most of us go to house parties, nights out, be them in your local hometown club or a hugely anticipated event you’ve been waiting for. However, across the globe in other countries, people enjoy celebrating the New Year in other ways with weird and wonderful traditions.

  1. NEW ZEALAND – MISTREAT YOUR KITCHEN UTENSILS. New Zealand are the first country around the world that will be welcoming in 2017. In cities they celebrate like us, with an amazing fireworks display, however, in more rural parts, communities take to their porches to bang pots and pans at midnight to fight away evil spirits bringing good fortune for the following year.
  1. SPAIN – 12 GRAPES. A few years ago I had the honour of being invited to Madrid to spend New Year’s Eve the Spanish way with one of my best friend’s Spanish family. Just before the clock struck midnight, I was qunye2ickly passed 12 green grapes. On each chime of the clock I had to eat one grape. By midnight I had quite a mouthful, as you can imagine. It’s a lot easier said than done…
  1. ECUADOR – BURNING SCARECROWS. Ecuador’s New Year’s Eve tradition scares me a bit I must say. It may be that it brings good luck for the following year, but a country full of burning scarecrows sounds more dangerous than lucky to me.
  1. SWITZERLAND – ICE-CREAM. The Swiss stock up on ice-cream for New Year’s Eve as in Switzerland you spend the evening dropping ice-cream not only all over the floor but all over each other!
  1. ROMANIA – COIN TOSSING. We’ve all tossed a coin before, be it somewhere simple like down a wishing well or maybe somewhere more well-known like into the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Well, this all started in Romania. There, it is tradition to take coins down to the closest river and toss them in whilst wishing for good fortune for your loved ones in the coming year.
  1. CHILE – CEMETERY SLEEPOVER. In my opinion, Chile has the most bizarre way to welcome in the New Year. In Chile, New Year’s Eve is all about family. Therefore, men and women head to the cemeteries or gather in the homes of their deceased loved ones to lay down and sleep with them. To me, it sounds like the craziest sleepover of all time!
  1. JAPAN – 108 RINGS. New Year’s Eve in Japan means welcoming in Toshigami, the God of New Year. At midnight, bells don’t ring 12 times like everywhere else in the world but instead 108 times. 108 chimes are believed to cleanse the soul and get rid of bad traits and evil spirits such as anger, jealously and resentment.
  1. DENMARK – BREAKING DISHES. If you’ve got some old crockery you haven’t used in a while, the Danish would happily take it off your hands. As come New Year’s Eve, they smash these plates against the doors of friends and family. It’s a sign of affection and sends hope for the New Year to those you love. Not fun to clean up the next day though…
  1. Young man walking along street with old suitcase, retro tintedCOLOMBIA – SUITCASES. If you’re in Colombia for the New Year, do not be alarmed if you see streets full of people taking their suitcases for a walk. This is merely their New Year’s Eve tradition, meant to bring a year full of travel and adventure into their lives.
  1. SOUTH AFRICA – FURNITURE TOSSING. If you’re walking around South Africa come midnight this New Year’s Eve I suggest you take a helmet with you as it is tradition in the Southern most parts to throw unwanted and old furniture out of windows!

No matter where you are this New Year’s Eve, who you spend it with or what weird yet wonderful tradition you take part in, make sure you enjoy it! It only comes once a year, so let’s end 2016 in style! Wishing you all a Happy New Year and an incredible 2017!