New Year traditions from around the world


With 2017 coming to a close, and the world all set to welcome 2018, we decided to compile a list of dramatic, quirky and cathartic traditions that are followed to ring in the new year.

France: The French usher the new year in style with a feast consisting of a stack of pancakes, champagne and foie gras. The feast is believed to bring prosperity and good luck to those attending the dinner.

United States: The most prominent celebration in the country is the “ball drop” held at New York City’s Times Square. The Waterford crystal ball located on the roof of One Times Square is lowered down a pole that is 70ft high, reaching the roof of the building 60 seconds later to signal the start of the New Year.

Denmark: Flinging dishes is not just for warring couples. In Denmark, unused dishes and plates are kept until December 31 when they are affectionately shattered against doors of friends and family. It is considered a good sign to have a heap of broken dishes on your doorstep for New Year’s.

Spain: The Spanish New Year’s tradition is to eat 12 grapes at midnight to signify good luck achieved for the next 12 months of the year.

Japan: The Japanese ring in the New Year, literally. There is a traditional temple bell-ringing ceremony held across the country. Bells are rung 108 times to represent the cleansing of 108 desires and anxieties and a new beginning.

Brazil: Among several South American countries, the colour of the underwear can seal your fate for the next year. And if you must know, red underwear is worn for romance and to find love, green for good health, golden-hued undies for prosperity and white underwear for peace.

Switzerland: The Swiss drop their ice cream on New Year’s Eve as they believe that a dollop of ice cream on the floor will bring prosperity and good luck.

Denmark: In Denmark, people climb on top of chairs and literally jump at midnight to bring good luck and banish evil spirits. Crockery smashing is also a tradition.

Chile: This relatively new tradition in Chile involves families spending the night in the company of deceased loved ones by sleeping at the cemetery. It started when a family jumped over the cemetery fence to spend New Years’ Eve on their father’s grave. It is believed to bring peace to the soul.

Ireland: The Irish believe that you can bang away good luck. Hence, on New Year’s Eve, they hit the walls of their house with bread to get rid of evil spirits and bad luck.

South Africa: The New Year custom in Johannesburg is to throw furniture and appliances out of the windows of tall buildings. It has been voted as one of the strangest customs worldwide.