New Year’s Traditions Around the World

Every culture has different traditions to celebrate the season. These traditions are looking to bring luck into the new year, or just spend time with those around you. Here we look at just a few of the traditions that people celebrate throughout the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.


In Denmark, they literally destroy their problems that have been saved up throughout the year. They do this through saving up unwanted glassware in preparation for New Years. They then smash this glass against the doors of friends and loved ones. They do this as a symbol of smashing the troubles of the past year.


Folks in Spain participate in the 12 grape challenge. During each of the bell tolls at midnight, people will put a grape in their mouths resulting in 12 grapes in their mouths. This is because of the superstition that each grape equals one wish for the year.

Brasstown, NC, USA

In this North Carolina town, they engage in a possum-drop. On New Years Eve, they lower a possum in a clear box over a crowd to ring in the upcoming year. Recent years have been forced to use a fake possum due to a lawsuit from an animal rights group.


People in Chile like to begin their year with loved ones, alive or dead. They spend New Year’s Eve graveyard camping at the graves of their lost family members. The graveyards open late and these folks spend the night surrounded by candles and classical music.


Food in Hungary is a large aspect in the traditions of New Years in their culture. Hungarians will avoid eating chicken and fish in favor of pork. This is due to the popular beliefs that the winged fowl are a symbol of luck flying away and fish symbolizing the luck swimming away.

Southern USA

Like Hungary, food has a large impact on the traditions in many of the southern states of the United States. These folks in the south will eat black eyed peas on New Year’s day. They do this to gain luck for the upcoming year. If they want even more luck, collard greens are added  to the meal for the symbol of money.

Many of these cultures New Year’s traditions revolve around the ideas of gaining luck. How these traditions have come to pass is not always known. Regardless of how they came about, these traditions give the folks celebrating around the world a sense of community and fellowship with those around them.

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