Are you tired of the same old New Year’s Eve party every year? Do you want to mix things up and try something new and exciting? Well, you’re in luck! We’ve scoured the globe to bring you a collection of special traditions that are sure to make your celebration one for the ages. From eating grapes to smashing dishes, these unique rituals will have you and your friends laughing and having a blast as you ring in the new year. So why wait? Grab your party hat and get ready to make some unforgettable memories with these fun and unique New Year’s Eve traditions!
1. Watch the ball drop
Probably one of the most well-known New Year’s Eve traditions, New York City’s ball drop is a must if you’re new to the whole jiggy. Every year thousands of people gather around Times Square for hours in the freezing cold to bid farewell to the year. The traditions began when New York Times owner Adolph Ochs created the event to draw attention to the Times’ new headquarters — and well, it stuck!
Did you know you can create your ball drop at home? Just clip several plastic cups together to create the ball, attach a string to it, secure it to a pole, and voilá. You are ready to bring in the New Year! See how in this video here.
2. Eat 12 grapes for good luck
While some wait for a ball to drop, others turn to grapes —what can we say? Every country does, indeed, have its crazy unique traditions. In Spain, people gather to eat their “12 uvas de la suerte”. The tradition began in the late 18th century after winegrowers tried to sell more grapes by the end of the year. They’ve should’ve just opened a wine bar if you ask us!
To replicate this tradition, you’ll have to eat one grape for every chime of the bell —without choking— during the twelve seconds before midnight. If you managed to survive this “hazardous” tradition —eating 12 grapes in 12 seconds isn’t as easy as it sounds— you will have a year of good fortune and prosperity.
3. Visit a friend or light up a torch, your choice!
If there’s a place where the New Year’s Eve celebration lasts more than one night, it’s Scotland! Every Hogmanay, which takes place from December 30 to January 1, different traditions are celebrated throughout the country. Two of the most common ones are fire processions and first footing.
The first is celebrated by lighting up torches and marching along the streets —although there will be no march this year— while singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’. The second, and most important, is to be the first person to visit your friends and family after midnight. Make sure to gift them shortbread, a splash of whisky, fruit cake or a piece of coal as a symbol of good luck. But, while both of these traditions seem fun, lighting up a torch might not be permitted in your area. So, why not be the first to invite your loved ones to a candlelit concert? We are sure it will give all the good luck and vibes this year!
4. Hang an onion over your door
If you want to say farewell to the year as the Greeks do, hang some onions on your front door as the clock strikes midnight. —And no, it’s not scare away evil vampires— The practice dates back to ancient Greece when onions were considered symbols of prosperity and good luck. Today it’s common for people to follow the tradition to honour their cultural heritage and bring the very best luck to their homes in the new year.
5. Bang some bread on the walls
Why did the Irish person bang bread on their walls on New Year’s Eve? Because they heard it was a crumby way to start the year off right! And if that didn’t work, they figured they could always just make a sandwich out of the smashed-up bread. But seriously, this strange tradition is said to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.
However, not all Irish practice this tradition as it has probably been passed down through oral tradition and may vary from region to region. So, with that said, if you’re feeling a little superstitious this New Year’s Eve, go ahead and give it a whack — just make sure to clean up the crumbs afterwards, or you’ll be stuck with a stale start to 2023.
6. Feast with Champagne
Of all the year-end traditions, this is perhaps the least notorious. But drinking champagne in France takes on new meaning when saying goodbye to the year. Since the 16th Century, French royals drank the beverage as a symbol of luxury and refinement during religious rituals. However, the French Revolution replaced many of these rituals with secular ones. As a result, champagne, known for its exclusivity, became the “christening water” in these events.
As it became more affordable during the late 18th century —still not as affordable as wine— people started drinking it only on special occasions. Today, the French wait until midnight to pop come corks as it symbolizes the joy and privilege of welcoming a new year.
7. Eat some soba noodles
In Japan, a tradition dating back to the Kamakura period involves starting the new year with a bowl of warm soba noodles. Buddhist temples used to give these noodles to the poor as a symbol of hope and renewal. So, make sure to have a handy bowl of soba noodles for when the clock strikes midnight, or make your own!
If you decide on the later, then combine all-purpose flour, warm water, and salt until you have a dough. Then, let it rest till it expands 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough into thin, even strips and boil in a large pot of water with a bit of salt. When tender, drain the noodles in cold water to stop the cooking process. Serve the noodles hot or cold, with your choice of dipping sauce or topping. You can also add a small amount of buckwheat flour to the dough for a stronger, nuttier flavor.
8. Throw old plates
Want to leave all of the this year’s frustration behind? —we’ve all had those days! —Why not smash some plates to smithereens like the Danish do? Legend has it that Danish people started the tradition of throwing old plates and glasses against the doors of family and friends on New Year’s Eve to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck for the new year. It’s like an “if you can’t beat them, break them” kind of mentality. Just make sure to have plenty of spare plates on hand, because trust us, once you let loose you’ll want to keep going.
9. Head to the beach
If you live near the coast, start your new year with a fresh mentality by jumping into the water as Brazilians do. On New Year’s Eve, people usually go to the beach at midnight. Brazilians get in the water, all dressed in white, and jump seven waves while making seven wishes as a way to wash away their troubles and bring good luck. The tradition is rooted in Yemanja, the goddess of water. So, if you’re planning to make a splash out of this new year, make sure to bring a change of clothes with you.
10. Wear red underwear
Spice up your New Year’s Eve by rocking some flashy red undies! In Italy, people wear red undergarments to bid farewell to the year as a way to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year. The belief is that since the color red is associated with passion, love, and good fortune, by wearing undies in this color, you’re essentially inviting all of those positive vibes into your life.