18 Goofy Global New Year's Celebrations You Should Try

RealClear Staff


Warning: simply toasting champagne and kissing a loved one at the stroke of midnight may seem pretty tame after seeing how the rest of the world rings in the new year. 

From watching obscure British television, to shattering dishes on your buddy's porch, to burning effigies, there are some incredible traditions out there in honor of Baby New Year. 

1. Shattering Plates

In Denmark, celebrants ring in the new year by smashing plates on the doorsteps of loved ones. The tradition goes something like: the person with the most destroyed crockery at their house will be the luckiest. 

Coincidentally, January 1 is also National Get Stitches in Your Foot day. 

2. Red Underwear

Nations like Spain and Italy have traditions of wearing red undies on New Year's to bring good luck in the coming 365 days. 

3. The Greek Way

Are you taking notes? This one's complicated...but fun.

In Greece, the first person to enter a home after the strike of midnight sets the tone for the upcoming year, so people like to have innocent, good-natured people like children go through the door first. Easy enough, except they must also walk in with their right foot first. 

Oh yeah, and then that person must smash a pomegranate on the floor. 

4. Dinner for One

One of the most obscure, yet charming New Year's traditions out there, Germans love watching a brief 20-minute British sketch comedy bit called "Dinner for One." 

Filmed in 1963, it has become the most watched TV program in history, though it has never even been shown in America and barely ever in England. 

The two-person story involves a 90-year-old woman throwing a birthday party for herself as her increasingly intoxicated butler portrays all the guests. The sketch's catchphrase "Same procedure as last year" is a slogan in Germany. 

5. Eating Grapes

In Spain, many eat a grape for every toll of the bell at midnight to ring in good luck for the upcoming year. 

Hopefully, revelers around Spain are also versed in the Heimlich. 

6. Melting Tin

This Finnish tradition is by far one of the artiest. 

Fins melt a horseshoe-shaped piece of tin and quickly throw it in a bucket of cold water. Their fortune for the upcoming year lies in the shape of the new little sculpture. 

7. Empty Suitcase

Countries like Columbia and Mexico have a tradition of carrying an empty suitcase around the block on New Year's. Why? It is said to bring adventure in the new year.

An empty suitcase will also draw a lot of attention from TSA agents at the airport, so be sure to put some clothes in it before the adventure begins. 

8. Throwing Microwaves from a Window

Even the police aren't sure where this South African tradition comes from, but they have their hands full every December 31, trying to stop partiers from throwing microwaves and other appliances from windows to celebrate the new year. 

9. Zodiac Costumes

There is a Japanese tradition of holding costume parties on New Year's that are themed on the upcoming year's zodiac animal. 

Incidentally, 2015 will be the Year of the Goat. 

10. Leaping Off Furniture

Leave it to the fun-loving Danes to make the list twice. While not shattering plates on neighboring houses, Denmark's new year ringers leap off chairs at midnight to leap into a new year. 

11. Bonfires

Scotland has a tradition of starting bonfires for New Year's. Even more festive, some of these revelers will perform an intricate dance involving a flaming wooden pole. 

12. Roundness

Tables across the Philippines are strewn with round fruits on New Year's. In addition, people often wear polka dots. The round imagery is meant to signify coins, which are a symbol of good luck. 

13. Chickens

In Belarus, unmarried women often place a pile of corn at their feet while standing next to other bachelorettes. Then, a rooster is turned loose. Whoever is lucky enough to have the rooster eat from their plate will be the next to marry. 

14. Seven Meals

In Estonia, it's considered good luck to eat upwards of seven meals on New Year's day. It is said to give you the strength of seven men for the upcoming year.

It will also give you the indigestion of seven men.

15. Yellow Underwear

Not to be outdone by those believing in the power of red skivvies, Brazilians believe yellow underwear on New Year's day is the key to prosperity. 

16. Write Cards to Parents

A very sweet Belgian tradition sees children making cards for their parents on December 31. 

17. Double New Year

Macedonians double down on the party by celebrating the global New Year on December 31 and also the Macedonian New Year on January 14. 

18. Burning Effigies

Ecuador rings in the new year with fire by burning paper machier effigies of politicians, stars and other notable personalities as a way to say goodbye to the previous 12 months. 

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