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For much of the world, a new year begins at midnight on December 31—but that doesn’t mean we all celebrate in the same way. Here are nine New Year’s traditions that you might want to try.

  1. Melt metal to predict the future

In Germany and many other German-speaking countries, there’s the custom of melting a small bit of tin and then dropping it in cold water to see what shape emerges. Lead was used before it was deemed too dangerous, but now you can buy kits with tin figures to melt to see what’s in store for you based on the shape. For example, a ball means luck will roll your way, while a sword predicts risk-taking.

  1. Wear red or white

In Italy and Spain, wearing red underwear to welcome the New Year is considered lucky and may bring fertility to those looking to conceive. If you’re in Spain, your underwear should be new as well as red. In Brazil, however, white is the traditional color of good fortune, so many Brazilians choose to wear all white for their celebration.

  1. Eat 12 grapes

In Mexico, Spain, and other Latin American countries, grapes are a must-have food item at a New Year’s party—twelve grapes for each guest, to be exact. According to tradition, to ensure a prosperous year, you must eat one grape for each stroke of the clock at midnight.

  1. Feast like royalty

The French are known for their good food and on New Year’s Eve, they go all out with le reveillion de la Saint-Sylvestre. Traditional dishes served are foie gras, roast goose or turkey, oysters, pancakes, and lots of champagne. The first-class meal is said to bring wealth in the coming year.

  1. Clean house

In Japan, the whole family prepares for the upcoming year by cleaning the house from top to bottom and then decorating it with items from nature such as bamboo, pine branches, and plum blossoms.

  1. Celebrate with all things round

For people in the Philippines, round is the preferred shape for New Year’s. The shape signifies money and is said to bring prosperity in the new year, which is why people will carry coins in their pockets, eat round foods, and even wear clothing items with polka dots.

  1. Carry luggage

If you hope travel is in your future, then be sure to get your empty suitcases out on New Year’s Eve. In some South American countries such as Colombia and Venezuela, carrying a piece of luggage around the house or down the street will ensure a year filled with travel to all your preferred destinations.

  1. Break dishes

Most people might think it’s bad luck to break something, but not in Denmark. For the Danes, piles of broken dishes and glass on their doorstep mean they have piles of friends and will experience good luck during the year. It’s traditional for the Danish to throw plates and glasses at friends’ front doors to leave bad luck behind.

  1. Drink your wish

It’s tradition to drink champagne on New Year’s all over the world, but in Russia they add a special ingredient before toasting: ashes. The custom is to write a wish on a small piece of paper, burn it, and then put the ashes in champagne to drink. Cheers!


By Kelli Drummer-Avendano

Also read: 9 Tips for Teachers during Holiday Break

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5 International Foods to Try This Year | Vista Higher Learning Blog
2 years ago

[…] Also read: 9 New Year’s Eve Traditions from around the World […]

4 Holiday Activities for the Language Classroom | K-12 Education
1 year ago

[…] even within the same culture, that students can explore. Have students spend a day researching New Year’s traditions and then share their findings with the class. If possible, vote on a tradition and celebrate it as […]