Happy New Year! Here’s some strange traditions from around the world

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, people around the world come together to celebrate the arrival of a brand-new year. While many share common customs like fireworks, parties, and resolutions, some cultures embrace unique and downright quirky traditions that are as diverse as the people who practice them. In this article, we’ll take a fascinating journey across the globe to explore some of the strangest New Year’s traditions that add a distinctive flair to the global celebration.

  1. Spain’s 12 Grapes of Luck:

In Spain, the transition to the new year involves a rather unique grape-eating ritual. As the clock chimes midnight, Spaniards consume 12 grapes, one for each stroke of the clock. The belief is that each grape symbolizes good luck for each month of the coming year. It’s a fun and challenging tradition that has become a staple in Spanish households, with people frantically trying to eat all 12 grapes in sync with the countdown.

  1. Japan’s Toshikoshi Soba:

In Japan, the New Year is welcomed with a delicious bowl of toshikoshi soba, a type of noodle dish made from buckwheat. Eating these long noodles is believed to symbolize longevity and the letting go of the past year’s hardships. Japanese families come together to enjoy this special meal, creating a warm and comforting start to the new year.

  1. Denmark’s Broken Dishes:

In Denmark, it’s customary for people to save their old dishes throughout the year and then, on New Year’s Eve, throw them at the doors of their friends and family. The more broken dishes on your doorstep, the more popular you are considered to be. This unique tradition fosters a sense of community and friendship, as people wake up to find a pile of broken dishes on their doorstep as a sign of affection.

  1. Scotland’s First-Footing:

In Scotland, the first person to enter a home after the stroke of midnight is known as the “first-footer.” This person is thought to bring good fortune for the coming year. Traditionally, the first-footer carries symbolic gifts like coins, bread, salt, whisky, and a piece of coal, each representing different aspects of prosperity. Dark-haired first-footers are considered especially lucky, while fair-haired ones are thought to bring misfortune.

  1. South Africa’s Furniture Tossing:

In parts of South Africa, the new year begins with an unconventional cleansing ritual. People throw old furniture out of their windows to symbolize letting go of the past and making a fresh start. While this may raise a few eyebrows, it’s a community-driven tradition that clears out the old to make way for the new, quite literally.


New Year’s traditions around the world reflect the diversity and creativity of cultures across the globe. From grape-eating in Spain to furniture tossing in South Africa, these quirky customs add a touch of excitement and uniqueness to the universal celebration of welcoming a fresh start. As we bid farewell to the old year and embrace the new, let’s take a moment to appreciate the rich tapestry of traditions that make New Year’s Eve a truly global phenomenon.

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