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10 New Year’s Eve Traditions Around The World

In honour of borders opening and new beginnings, we have collated ten New Year’s Eve traditions found around the world and what they mean. Whether you’re seeking luck, love, prosperity, health or fertility, here are some that may help you in the New Year.  

Which one will you be doing when the clock strikes midnight? 

In Spain – Luck

Within 12 seconds of the clock striking midnight, devour exactly 12 green grapes to bring yourself good luck in the New Year. However, don’t dare to try if you don’t think you can finish all 12 by 12 as it’s considered bad luck.

In Italy – Fertility

Whether you’re looking to grow the family or please the in-laws, red is your colour. Italians’ NYE tradition to attract fertility in the New Year is to wear red underwear. The colour is commonly perceived to be associated with fertility.  

In Brazil – Money

In line with colourful underwear but for those looking to do the opposite of draining their pockets, Brazilians wear yellow underwear to attract money.  

In Russia – Wish seeking

Instead of crossing your fingers or splitting a wish bone – drink your ashes. Yes, ashes. Thankfully, not human ashes… just paper ones. Russians will write their wishes for the New Year down on a piece of paper, burn them and then drink the ashes in a glass of champagne. So, cheers to you! 

In Ireland – Love

Single? Ready to mingle? Looking for the man of your dreams? The single women in Ireland have a tradition of sleeping with mistletoe right under their pillow as it’s believed to help allure the man of their dreams into their life. What have you got to lose? 

In Columbia – Fortune-telling

In line with the previous tradition, this one is perfect when you don’t want to leave the house and celebrate with a night in your own bed. Leaving it up to fate, Columbians will place three potatoes (One unpeeled, one half-peeled, and one peeled) and as the clock strikes midnight, they will pull out a potato – the first one they touch. Unpeeled means abundance; peeled means you’ll experience financial problems; and half-peeled will have you falling somewhere in the middle of the two. Try your luck. 

In Turkey – Prosperity

As the saying goes “those who say money doesn’t buy happiness, clearly doesn’t know where to shop”. For those looking for a little extra cash thrown their way, prosperity may be on the mind. In Turkey, the tradition is to sprinkle a dash of salt on your doorstep as the clock hits twelve to ring in prosperity this New Year. 

In Denmark – Banishing Spirits

For the Danes, banishing bad spirits means destroying old crockery. Head to the streets and start throwing you old plates and cups against friends and family member’s doors to banish away the evil.  

In Finland – Predictions

As a way of predicting the coming year, the Finns will cast molten tin into a container of cold water and interpret the shape it takes once hardened. A pig means plenty of food, a ship means travel and a heart or ring means a wedding. Who’s? That’s for you to figure out.  

Around the World – Kissing at Midnight

And of course, the oldest and most renowned tradition of them all, kissing at the stroke of midnight. Originating in Rome at festival Saturnalia where the Romans would celebrate with booze and affection. As German and English folklore adapted the tradition, the belief that the first person you ‘encountered’ would determine your year’s fortune was formed.