New Year’s Eve is the occasion to celebrate a new start, abandoning the old year and looking towards a brighter future. Each culture has its own tradition for this holiday, and while the usual goal is to wish prosperity and good luck, the modalities vary greatly around the world.
Let’s see some of the most curious and bizarre New Year’s traditions from around the world:
Eating 12 Grapes (Spain)
This tradition dates back to 1909 when the King of Spain decided to give the harvest surplus of grapes to the people on New Year’s Eve. Nowadays, the Spanish believe that consuming twelve grapes before midnight will bring luck and prosperity in the new year.
Eating Noodles (Japan)
Food is one of the most popular ways to ask for good luck and prosperity, and Japan has its own culinary tradition for New Year’s Eve dinner: eating soba noodles.
Toshikoshi soba (year-crossing soba) are served around midnight to signal the transition from one year to another.
Enjoying the Fireworks (Australia)
Thanks to its time zone, Australia is one of the first countries to enter the new year! The event is celebrated in major cities with firework displays, and people take part in picnics to enjoy the view from the best spots available.
Burn a Scarecrow (Ecuador)
For Ecuadorians the act of gathering with your family to build and burn an effigy does not represent violence or anger, but it is the best way to let go of negative energies accumulated over the past 12 months, guaranteeing a fresh start for the new year.
Wear Polka Dots (Philippines)
In the Philippines roundness is a sign of wealth and prosperity, this is why many people are seen wearing polka dots on New Year’s Eve. Many go even further and surround themselves with round shapes, stacking on oranges and other round fruits and keeping coins in their pockets.
At Langpros we celebrate cultural diversity every day, enabling international dialogue with our translation and interpreting services.
What are the New Year’s Eve traditions in your country?