New year traditions from around the world that will bring you luck and prosperity!
Posted on 31/12/2020


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There are many communities around the world who believe that a new year means a new beginning. So, in order to start the new year on the right note, there are plenty of traditions that people follow. Some of these rituals are certainly interesting and they can be fun to replicate at home. Given how unpleasant the last year was for many of us, it may be worthwhile to try out some of these traditions so that the next year will be filled with good luck and good fortune!

Clean the house

Clean the house
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In South Africa, many families begin the year by cleaning their homes thoroughly. They discard anything that is old, broken and unusable. This is actually quite a common ritual all over the world, but there is something that distinguishes the South African custom from the rest. In Hillbrow, Johannesburg, people throw out their unwanted possessions out the window! These possessions include anything and everything from clothes, to dishes and even furniture. In recent years, this tradition is slowly disappearing because it is considered a serious health hazard, but there are still a handful of families that practice this cleansing ritual.

Eat a dozen grapes

Eat a dozen grapes
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This tradition you can definitely do at home, and according to the Spanish it will bring you lots of good luck in the coming year. In Spain, when the clock strikes twelve on New Year's Eve, everyone has to eat twelve grapes. Each grape represents the twelve upcoming months and all the grapes must be eaten within the first minute of the new year. You'd think that this is an easy challenge, but it can be hard for some people, especially those who stuffed themselves full with delicious food during New Year's Eve dinner. If you're in Spain for the new year then always remember to keep a little room in your stomach for the twelve good luck grapes!

Predict your future

Everyone is curious to see what the next year holds, and before the start of a new year many people look at their horoscopes to see what may lie ahead. Some people take it really seriously, while others do it for fun, but in Finland it is a popular tradition to see what the next year will look like. Instead of going online, or to a fortune teller, they do it themselves by melting tin horseshoes and pouring the liquid metal into cold water. The liquid then solidifies again and the shape of the structure will apparently determine what your future holds. If the metal structure breaks, then it's a sign of bad luck.

Burn a scarecrow

Burn a scarecrow
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Most New Year's Eve traditions are about getting rid of bad luck and starting the new year on a positive note. Well, in Ecuador, families build a scarecrow together and the scarecrow represents all the negativity of the past year. This tradition is called Los Años Viejos (the old years) and at midnight everyone gathers together to burn their scarecrows. What's peculiar about this custom is that they build the scarecrow to resemble people and characters that they don't like. If you walk around the markets in Ecuador you will see shops selling scarecrows that resemble famous cartoon characters, unpopular political figures and celebrities, and they are set to be burned on New Year's Eve.

Ring the bell 108 times

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Visiting the temple at midnight is an obligatory ritual for many Japanese and during their visit they must partake in a tradition called Joya no Kane. In this custom, you must ring the bell exactly 108 times in order to start your new year with a clean slate. According to Japanese Buddhism, humans have a total of 108 desires and these desires include anger, greed and jealousy, therefore you have to ring the bell one time for each desire. On New Year's Eve, people start ringing the bell from early on in the night and save the last ring for when the clock strikes twelve.

Choose the colour of your underwear wisely

This tradition is surprisingly famous in different countries all over the world and it has to do with the colour of your underwear! A few cultures believe that the underwear you wear on New Year's Eve will determine your future and so it is crucial that you chose the right colour when bringing in the new year. In Turkey, Italy, Spain and Mexico, wearing red underwear is important and will bring you good luck. However, in Brazil every colour has a different significance and you can choose according to how you want the next year to be. For example, wearing red underwear will bring you love, while yellow will bring you good fortune. The days leading up to New Year's Eve, Brazilian marketplaces are filled with brightly coloured underwear so that you can pick your own destiny for the new year.

Eat and wear round things

Eat and wear round things
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In the Philippines, round objects symbolize wealth, prosperity and financial stability, so on New year's Eve and New Year's Day people are encouraged to wear, eat and carry anything that is round. You'll see Filipinos wearing clothes with polka dots, eating sweets and fruits that are round and carrying coins in their pockets. They must also eat twelve round fruits, one fruit for each month of the coming year. It is said that these traditions will help you attain financial stability and prosperity in the new year.

Smash your plates

In Denmark, broken glass signifies luck and so people take old plates to their friends' houses and smash it on the ground to give them all the good luck for the new year. Not only is this a unique ritual, but it has become a yearly competition to see who is the most popular person in the neighbourhood. The bigger your pile of broken glass, the more friends you have and hence the more well-liked you are. People will leave their broken plates outside for days just to show off their popularity!