New Year’s Traditions from Around the Globe


From throwing televisions to wearing lucky underpants, there are some pretty interesting ways to celebrate the new year all around the world! To help you celebrate, we’ve compiled a list of ten of our favorite traditions.

Johannesburg, South Africa

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Leslie Duss via flickr

We’re kicking off our countdown with a rather unusual practice from a neighborhood in Johannesburg, South Africa, where residents have taken to dropping old appliances and furniture from their windows at midnight. No one knows how this ritual started, but it’s probably best to stay inside if you’re in town for the night!


David Buedo via flickr

Spanish revelers ring in the new year by eating twelve grapes at midnight; each one brings luck for the coming months.


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At the stroke of twelve, many Danish families and friends jump off of chairs together. It’s a tradition said to leave negative spirits behind while bringing good fortune to the new year.


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In Scotland, it’s what happens right¬†after¬†midnight that counts. The first person to cross the threshold of a home in the new year is known as the “first-footer.” This visitor brings good fortune and, traditionally, whiskey.


Roslyn via flickr

Philippines traditions are all about bringing wealth to the new year. Some citizens celebrate by eating round fruits and sweets and wearing polka dots; it is believed that the circles will attract fortune in the coming months.

South America


South Americans are a little more “undercover” when it comes to new year’s rituals. In Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia, many residents don their finest yellow (for money) or red (for love) underwear for the festivities. It’s important that the underpinnings be new, but that won’t be a problem; they’re available nearly everywhere in the days leading up to December 31st.


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Italy’s traditions are a bit more subdued. Many Italians eat a stew of lentils at midnight (one spoonful for each chime of the bell) to bring wealth to the new year.


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Austria’s rich musical history comes into play even as the clock strikes midnight. It has become a tradition in more recent years for all Austrian Broadcasting radio and television stations to air the sound of the bells at Vienna‘s St. Stephen’s Cathedral followed by a broadcast of “The Blue Danube”…which results in a country-wide waltz party.

New York City, United States

Michael Tapp via flickr

The world famous ball drop, a tradition that began in 1907, has become so popular that cities across the United States have started celebrating with “drops” of their own. The Atlanta peach drop and the Easton, Maryland crab drop are just two eccentric examples.


Frank Swift via flickr

It’s tradition for Colombians to take an empty suitcase for a walk around the block at midnight to usher in a new year filled with travel. We can’t argue with that!

What’s your favorite way to ring in the new year? Tell us in the comments!

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