New Year Traditions Around the Globe: Health, wealth and good luck are universal

Exciting New Year Traditions Around the Globe

Citizens around the world may disagree about many things all year long but on New Year’s, everyone wants the same three things: health, wealth and good luck. And, don’t forget, a great party with special food, noisemaking and plenty of champagne. Check out the fascinating, fun and unique ways other cultures celebrate the stroke of midnight.


#1 Hit the Streets

The Island nation of Samoa is one of the first to welcome the New Year. People crowd into the capital, Apia, to be photographed at midnight standing in front of the town clock, clapping and cheering.

Worldwide, people congregate outside and no one does it better than New Yorkers. Thousands gather in Times Square to countdown the hours till twelve. There’ll be confetti, kissing, and drunken rounds of “Auld Lang Syne.” It’s such an iconic event that many kids’ first memories of New Year are waiting for the “ball drop” on TV.

#2 Special Food

Austrians sip a punch of cinnamon, sugar and red wine and eat roast pig, which represents good luck. In Brazil, the lentil symbolizes wealth so they’ll serve lentil soup and rice. Thais eat a special pudding of mung beans and rice followed by watermelon, which is considered lucky because the flesh is red, the colour of luck in many cultures.

Portugal and Spain incorporate the number twelve in their traditions. The Spanish eat twelve grapes at midnight and the Portuguese eat raisins to signify good luck for each month of the year.

#3 Good Luck Coins

When Armenians prepare their flat bread, called Darin, they knead the dough with “good wishes” and hide a coin inside. The Mexicans do the same with their sweetbread. In both cultures, the person who finds the coin will be blessed with luck in the coming year. In Romania, they’ll toss spare coins into the river to ensure their good fortune.

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#4 Fire And Water

Fireworks will be exploding all over the globe and the Chinese, famous for their displays, put on a spectacular show in Beijing. In Ecuador you’ll find the citizens burning scarecrows and old photographs to promote good luck. Conversely, Puerto Ricans throw water out the window to scare away the evil spirits.

In India, little oil lamps known as diwa glow in houses, temples and along garden paths. In the cities, strings of electric lights illuminate the buildings. Indians will make resolutions, pay their debts, and honor Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and good fortune.

#5 Clean House

Japanese and Thai will thoroughly clean their houses and the Thais will pay off their debts. The Japanese will drape straw across the door for prosperity whereas in Korea, straw or rakes across the door ward off evil spirits. Japanese smile at the stroke of midnight for good luck and in a Buddhist tradition, they ring bells 108 times.

#6 Everything Round

Filipinos wear bright new clothes with circular patterns in the belief that circles attract money and good luck. They put coins in their pockets and vendors will display food in round shapes: stacks of melons or sliced fresh mango and bananas.

Finally, why not join the Danish and climb onto a chair to literally “jump” into the New Year—perhaps after a few bottles of champagne?

With all these similarities, if the world celebrated every day like New Year’s, we’d probably have more consensus—and more good luck.

Read 10 ways to continue your new year's resolutions here at Reward Me.

Also, check out interesting new year resolutions that you can keep this year here.

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