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10 Bizarre Ways of Celebrating the New Year Around the World

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10 Bizarre Ways of Celebrating the New Year Around the World

One country’s traditions are another country’s peculiarities. What might seem perfectly normal to you as a means to celebrate the New Year could be an oddity just one pond over. Carrying around an empty suitcase, an entire nation wearing red underwear, earning broken plates at your front door for being a good friend, these are just a few different ways to celebrate.

Let’s take a look at ten bizarre and distinct ways of celebrating the new year across the globe.

1. Greece: Pomegranates and Good Luck

As the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve in Greece, tradition holds that the first person to walk through someone’s house should be one who bears good luck. They are referred to as the “Pothariko”, meaning “the first foot”. This esteemed individual should have a positive spirit and be lucky. They are a blessing to the house for the New Year. Often, children are chosen to play this role because of their innocence. It is imperative that the right foot be the first to cross through the threshold. Finally, a pomegranate is smashed to the floor while the “Pothariko” wishes for joy and good health for the residents.

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    2. Spain: The Grape Divide

    In an effort to court prosperity and ward off evil for the New Year, Spaniards have an interesting tradition of eating twelve grapes of luck within the first minute of the New Year. A bell tolls every five seconds for this celebratory first minute. Each of the twelve grapes is to be chewed up and swallowed individually before the next ring.

    3. Mexico: An Empty Suitcase Equals New Adventures

    Should you happen to be in Tijuana for New Year’s Eve, don’t be alarmed if you see Mexicans walking the streets with suitcases that don’t seem to weigh their shoulders down. They are empty. It is a New Year tradition to bring travel and adventure in the coming year. Find yourself an empty suitcase and let fate guide you.

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      4. Germany: “Dinner for One”

      This is a curious one. The eleven-minute-long English comedy sketch “Dinner for One” , produced in 1963, is touted as one of the most globally viewed television programs ever, even though it has little to no cult following in America or the United Kingdom. It is Germany’s tradition to air this sketch every New Year’s Eve, wherever a television can be found. The sketch depicts a ninety-year-old Miss Sophie throwing a birthday party for herself, setting her table for dead friends, as her butler, James, plays the part of all of them. The plot briefly thickens and all of Germany laughs their way into the New Year.

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      5. Italy: Red Underwear

      For Italians, the color red is believed to bring good fortune, summoning the protection of Archangel Michael. Come New Year’s Eve, Italians men and women will all be wearing red underwear for prosperity. I suppose what is fun about this tradition is the fact that someone wearing red underwear more than likely wants someone else to know they are wearing red underwear…

      6. Panama: Effigies of Public Figures Burn

      For Panama, New Year’s Eve is a time to take inventory of the performance of elected officials, celebrities, and other public figures. Based on these personal assessments, front lawns across the country have effigies to burn in the hopes that the New Year will bring less news of whomever it is they choose to construct a full-scale representation of to set ablaze.

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        7. Estonia: Eat Twelve Meals in One Day

        Estonians believe every meal they eat on New Year’s Eve is the equivalent of one man’s strength for the upcoming year. While seven meals is the common minimum, many men aim for twelve meals in hopes of gaining the strength of twelve men for the following twelve months.

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        8. Serbia: Christmas on New Year’s Eve

        Serbia celebrates New Year’s Eve with Spruce trees and gifts, much like Christmas. Actually, what is New Year’s Eve to many is their Christmas Eve. Their version of Santa Claus, Deda Mraz,visits that night and leaves gifts for all. Following the Julian calendar, they celebrate the New Year on January 13.

        9. Finland: Molten Tin Predictions

        At midnight of New Year’s Eve, the people of Finland find a random piece of tin and melt it in a horseshoe-shaped ladle. The liquid tin is then dropped in cold water left to form a shape in order to interpret the future of each person’s New Year. For example, a ring shape signifies a wedding, a form similar to a ship indicates travel, and animal shapes each possess various fortune telling attributes.

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          10. Denmark: Broken Dishes

          The people of Denmark have a tradition of throwing plates at other people’s front doors on New Year’s Eve. A broken plate represents good fortune for the coming year. Breaking the plate is a gesture from one friend to the other to indicate they have a loyal friendship. The more broken plates to clean up on January 1st, the better fortune for the New Year.

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          Featured photo credit: New Year’s Fireworks via emmastrend.com

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          Last Updated on November 22, 2021

          Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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          Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

          Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

          During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

          But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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          Simplify

          I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

          Absolutely.

          And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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          If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

          • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
          • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
          • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

          Be Mindful

          You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

          Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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          Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

          Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

          Reflect

          As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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          Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

          But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

          So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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          Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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