New Year’s Celebrations Around the Globe

New Year’s Eve celebrations are among the oldest and most universally observed. They generally include ceremonies which are expressive of death, invigoration and celebration over the renewal of life. In some countries, parties are thrown on New Year’s Eve which last until the early hours of New Year’s Day.

In the United States it is traditional to watch the ball drop at midnight in New York City’s Times Square, toast it with Champaign and then celebrate in the company of friends and family. Many people make New Year’s resolutions…a list of decisions about how they will live during the coming year. Are you making any New Year’s resolutions?

How does the rest of the world celebrate? Here are some New Year’s Traditions from around the globe:

Spain – At midnight in Spain, Spaniards consume 12 grapes and try to consume all of them by the time the clock stops chiming.

Germany and Austria – Germans and Austrians pour lead as a tradition, which includes reading molten lead like tea leaves. The lead pieces are poured into a bowl filled with water, causing the lead to form shapes which predict what is going to happen in the New Year. If the lead forms a ball it means good luck, if it looks like an anchor it means you will need help in the New Year and if it’s a cross it means death.

South America – Residents all wear brightly colored underpants. Those who wear red are hoping for love in the New Year. Those who chose to wear yellow are wishing for money.

Denmark – Many Danish leap off chairs at midnight, hoping to ban all bad spirits in New Year. They also have a very loud and destructive way of celebrating the new year- they break dishes. People throw their old dishes on their friends’ doors on New Years and the one with the most dishes outside their door has the most friends.

Philippines – It is a tradition in the Philippines that Filipinos focus on all round things. They consume round fruits such as grapes and wear clothing with round shapes such as polka dots. The round shape reminds and celebrates the roundness of coins, as they hope for prosperity in the New Year.

Belarus – In Belarus (Western Europe), unmarried women compete at games of skill to determine who will get married first in the New Year. One game involves setting piles of corn and a rooster before each of the single ladies. Whichever pile the bird approaches first, is believed to be the one who is to be married first.

Ecuador – Usually when you burn someone’s picture it means bad break up. However in Ecuador, the fiesta includes all the locals gathering together with pictures that represent something you do not want in the New Year from the last year and burning it.

Puerto Rico – When it’s New Year’s Eve in Puerto Rico, they throw buckets of water out the window to “clean” the old year out. They also clean their homes and decorate them, as it is supposed to symbolize the “cleaning” of the spirit.

Kiribati- (UTC+14) is the first location in the world to welcome the New Year.

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