Everyone has their own traditions they use for celebrations, holidays, and events, and the New Year is no exception! People around the world have different ways of ringing in the new year – some for celebration, others for good luck, and even some to ward off the bad. Here in the United States, many people are familiar with the ball drop in Times Square on the stroke of midnight, and many tune in to ‘New Years Rockin’ Eve’ with Ryan Seacrest and various other celebrities. And many other countries have unique traditions as well.
For example, in Spain it’s tradition there to eat twelve grapes in the last 12 seconds before the new years arrives in order to bring about good luck and ward off evil spirits. But the grapes have to be successfully eaten in those 12 seconds or it’s void! It’s also tradition in Spain, as well as Italy, to wear red underwear into the new year as a symbol of good luck and fertility. Japan eats a specific food on the new year too – soba noodles. These noodles break easily, and breaking them when eating them is representative of ‘breaking away from the old year.’
Colombia has quite a unique tradition as well that supposedly tells how the new year will go. Each family member places three potatoes under their bed – one peeled, one not, and one partially peeled. At midnight, right in the new year, each person grabs one with their eyes closed. The peeled potato symbolizes good fortune, the unpeeled signals good luck, and the partially peeled a mix of both during the new year. Another fun tradition comes from Denmark – where throwing old plates brings you good luck in the new year! Some even throw plates of the doorsteps of other people who they wish good luck on.
Similarly to Spain, Russia’s tradition involves the final 12 seconds before midnight. Russians take those final 12 seconds as a moment of silence to make wishes and give thanks for the past year. Next, we have Greece – where they hang an onion outside their door. Onions symbolize fertility and growth because of their ability to sprout and grow on their own. And finally, we have Ireland, where people bang bread against their walls to ward off evil spirits! All these cultures have unique traditions rooted in their beliefs or wants for the new year to come. Many families have their own traditions to ring in the new year for good luck and well wishes. Next new year, think about your traditions and what they mean to you!
By: Kaelyn Douglas