Categories Menu

Posted in HH LIFESTYLE, Seasonal Experiences

New Year’s Eve Traditions From Around The World

Many of us in the neighborhood were not born and bred in the United States. So we found it interesting to see what some of the New Year’s Eve traditions are in other parts of the planet. We thought you might enjoy some of these!

In Mexico & Spain, 12 grapes are eaten at midnight (often quickly with each chime of the clock) and a wish is made with each one. Some traditions say that the grapes represent a farewell to the months passed or good luck to the months coming.

In Greece, a traditional food served is Vassilopitta, or St Basil’s cake, with silver or gold coin is baked inside the cake. Whoever finds the coin in their piece of cake will have luck bestowed on them during the coming year.

“Forget the year” parties are held in Japan to bid farewell to the problems and concerns of the past year and prepare for a new beginning. Misunderstandings and grudges are forgiven and houses are scrubbed clean.

Scotland’s “First-Footing” (being the first person across a friend or neighbor’s threshold) begins immediately after the bells of the new year. The “first-foot” usually brings several gifts, such as a coin, bread, salt, coal, or a whisky, which respectively represent financial prosperity, food, flavor, warmth, and good cheer.

Russian celebrations including writing down a wish on a piece of paper, burning it, throwing it into a champagne glass, and drinking it before 12:01am.

Many homes in the Philippines put 12 different round fruits on the dinner table for prosperity throughout the new year.

In Estonia, it is believed that people should eat 7, 9, or 12 on New Year’s Eve and with each meal, the person gains strength for the following year. Food should never be completely finished, always leaving some for ancestors and spirits who visit the house on NYE.

At midnight in Ecuador, thousands of life-size effigies made from paper scraps or old clothes, called “Año Viejo”, are placed outside the home and lit alongside fireworks. The effigy represents things you disliked from the previous year and are made to look like famous celebrities, politicians, cartoons, etc. They are burnt right at midnight to shed the old year and represent a new beginning. Some of the braver Ecuadorians jump through these burning effigies 12 times to represent a wish for every month.

If you spend New Year’s Eve at the beach in Brazil, you’ll see many people dressed in white to bring good luck into their new year!

The ancient Welsh custom that still survives in modern-day Wales, called Calennig, involves giving gifts and money on New Year’s Day, though nowadays it is now customary to simply give bread and cheese.

Among many other traditions, in Russia, during the last twelve seconds of the year people keep silence and make their secret wishes for the next year.


Check out the Pinterest page for more ideas!