(I wrote this a year ago but it’s worth reading again.)
New Year’s is celebrated in many different ways around the world. In the US we wear silly hats, silly glasses, blow noise makers and shoot off fireworks. And we drink. To excess.
In Denmark people save their old plates to throw at the doors of the friends and family. What fun!
In Spain if you want good luck for the year you must stuff 12 grapes in your mouth at midnight. I think I’ll stick with eating black eyed peas on New Year’s day for luck. Maybe some collard greens for a wealthy New Year.
In some parts of South America, it’s all about the color of your underwear in determining your luck in the New Year. Red means you will find love, white means peace and gold means wealth. I wonder what the percentages are for each color?
In Japan they ring all of their bells 108 times under the Buddhist belief that it means cleanliness. I think it is more likely to mean you will become slightly deaf. It’s also good luck in Japan to be smiling as you ring in the New Year.
One of the more bizarre New Year’s customs comes from a small village in Peru. At the Takanakuy Festival residents fist fight each other to bury old grudges and start the New Year off with a clean slate:
Another bizarre way to celebrate the New Year happens in Switzerland where they drop ice cream on the floor for good luck. I hope they buy the cheap stuff to hurl onto the floor.
On New Year’s Day in some parts of Puerto Rico they throw buckets of water out the window to drive out evil spirits. Probably drives away friends and neighbors too. Perhaps that’s a feature not a bug.
In Columbia folks carry around their suitcases all day hoping that will ensure a year of travel. Money might be more helpful if they want to travel.
On New Year’s Day in Denmark people jump off chairs to jump into good luck for the year. I suppose that’s better than jumping off bridges.
Buckets of water are thrown at friends and family in Thailand and they smear each other with grey talc. Sure. Why not?
In Chili they sleep overnight in the cemetery to be near deceased loved ones. Creepiest sleepover party ever.
To get rid of evil spirits in Ireland they hit the walls with bread. Sure, that’ll work.
South Africa has another way to celebrate the New Year. They throw furniture out the window. Easier than a trip to the dump I suppose.
The French celebrate with a stack of pancakes. One would think the gastronomic capital of the world could come up with something better than that. At least make it a stack of crepes with a bit of foie gras on the side.
In Scotland the first person to cross the threshold of your home in the new year should bring a gift for good luck. I could get behind that.
I could also get behind the custom in Estonia of eating 7 meals on new year’s day to ensure an abundant New Year.
More interesting, weird, strange, customs from around the world here.