Thursday, January 8, 2015

I Bet You Didn't Know! Strange and Wonderful New Year's Customs
If you’re like me, you spent New Year’s Eve watching the big ball drop in Times Square on TV and counting down the last seconds of 2014. You may have shared a champagne toast or you might have spent the moment in quiet reflection.  But have you ever wondered how other cultures celebrate a year’s beginning?
I have and it inspired a little research. Here are thirteen other ways people recognize the next year’s birth.

  1. In China people make noise to frighten off evil. Often they ignite fireworks.
  2. In Denmark, celebrators throw dishes at friends’ doors. Apparently the person with the most friends had the most broken china outside their entrance.
  3. In England, some believe the first guest to enter their home in the New Year will determine that year’s fortune. That puts a little pressure on that visitor. He’s supposed to bring a gift along with his well-wishes.
  4. In Belgium, New Year’s Eve is called Saint Sylvester Eve. People throw family parties, kiss family and friends and toast in the year’s birth.
  5. In Brazil, some people serve lentils, which they consider to be lucky. Others wear blue and white, while still others go to the beach of Rio de Janeiro and launch boats filled with candles and flowers into the ocean.
  6. In Austria hosts serve piglets and peppermint ice cream for good fortune.
  7. In Germany some celebrants pour molten lead into cold water to predict the future. If the lead forms a heart, romance and possibly marriage may happen in the next year.
  8. In Japan, many people visit temples, where the bells ring 108 times to ward off evil.
  9. In Puerto Rico, people clean their homes and throw buckets of water out their windows to clean the old year and its troubles away.
  10.  In Spain, exactly at midnight, celebrants eat twelve grapes to secure luck in every month of the coming year.
  11.  In many Jewish homes, New Year’s Day is called Rosh Hashanah and it’s a day reserved for prayer and introspection.
  12. In the Netherlands, New Year’s birth is proclaimed by lighting a bonfire, which might have the old Christmas tree at its heart. In this way people burn away the old and welcome in the start of something new.
  13. In the Philippines, people look for round objects, which are considered auspicious. Eating grapes, throwing coins and wearing polka dots are popular.

There are many ways people mark a new year’s arrival and all of them are intriguing. Did you do something special? Or do you know of an interesting New Year’s custom?    Please share.



  1. I like the bonfire idea. I wonder how many countries kiss like we do.

    1. Colleen,
      I don't know. That's a good question.

  2. I like the grapes idea. That one sounds easy. Around here, if a man enters your house first on New Year's, you have good luck, but if it's a woman, you have bad luck. And you're supposed to eat black-eyed peas. My husband and I don't celebrate the new year, we just go to bed.

    1. CountryDew,
      Grin. If I believed in that custom, I'd be tempted to invite a man across my threshold over every New Year's morning. :) Thanks for sharing.

  3. Boat launching sounds fun. I'll skip the broken dishes.

    1. Alice Audrey,
      I agree. I'd like to break dishes, but I don't know about the clean up. I'll go with the boat launch, too.

  4. As many people as possible visit temples and shrines on New Year's Day in Japan. Those places are PACKED.

    1. Eillis,
      I didn't know that. Thanks for sharing.

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