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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

10 New Year’s Traditions From Around the World

{Image Credit: iStock}

Between fireworks, large crowds and kissy sessions, New Year’s festivities may look strikingly similar on TV, but many countries welcome unique and often, offbeat traditions to ushering in the new year!

From furniture tossing to animal whispering and bread banging, some customs might seem comical to the common eye, but no matter how they’re perceived, each shares a common optimism not hard to appreciate. As we head into 2018, it’s essential to consciously embrace diversity and appreciate the richness of differences that exists between us. After all, New Year’s signifies a new beginning, no matter where you’re from.


When the clock strikes 12, Colombians who want to travel in the New Year pump luck into their night by grabbing an empty suitcase and running around the block with it. The faster you run, the higher your chances of traveling for the new year. If by any chance you decide to race with family and friends though, the one who comes in last doesn’t get to travel!


Denmark on New Year’s might be the only time you can act out Rihanna’s track, “Breaking Dishes” and actually get away with it. Each year, Danes save their unused crockery, and then affectionately smash them against the doors of friends and family. As tradition states, the larger the pile of shattered dishes at your entrance, the more popular you are.


In what might be the most fashionable New Year’s tradition ever, men and women in the Philippines wear polka dots on the last day of the year in hopes to ensure good luck and blessings. According to local beliefs, round shapes like polka dots, eating oranges and lining your pockets with the jangle of coins brings prosperity and symbolize riches.


When the clock strikes midnight, the people of Spain eat 12 grapes — one at each stroke of the clock, representing 12 clock chimes. While it’s pretty easy to observe, it’s nothing like the Chubby Bunny challenge. Each grape signifies good luck for the months ahead, blessing the individual for a new year with 365 days of prosperity. If all the grapes are finished in time with the bell, you’ve eaten your way to good luck—if not, well, there’s always next year.


In a place that would welcome Doctor Doolittle warmly, New Year’s traditions in Romania find farmers and owners trying their best to communicate with animals and pets. However, there’s an interesting twist: If you succeed in this ritual, it’s considered a bad omen — but if you fail and don’t hear animals speaking back, you’ve got good luck for the year ahead. Those odds sound good for everyone. Well, maybe everyone but parrot owners.


In this New Year’s tradition, the Finnish believe they can predict the year ahead by casting melted tin into a water vessel. By interpreting the shape the tin takes after hardening, many believe you can foresee the fortunes of the year ahead!


In an event that might make children cry, Switzerland rings in the New Year by dropping a whole scoop of ice cream on the floor — doesn’t matter the flavor! For the concerned dessert aficionado, it’s all good though as this tradition ensures a year filled with luck, peace, and wealth.

Latin America

In what is a popular custom among Latin culture, there is no better way to bring good fortune your way for the New Year than by wearing colored underwear! In South American countries, naturally colored undies determine your fate. Yellow or gold equate to wealth and happiness, white signifies health and peace, and red means of course, love — a common color and symbol in Turkey and Italy as well.


Known as the “Day of Buttered Bread” in Gaelic, New Year’s Day brings out old Irish traditions of banging bread loudly against walls. In what might seem like another sad crime against food, this custom asks residents to wait until their bread from Christmas is hard and stale, and then give it a good bang to drive out bad spirits and luck from the home. This tradition invites good spirits and fortune in.

South Africa

As a custom hailing originally from Johannesburg, this South African tradition is one that will definitely keep pedestrians on their toes! With the idea of starting afresh for the New Year, residents say farewell to the past year by throwing old furniture and appliances out their window. That’s one very productive way to look at spring cleaning, right?

~ Happy New Year to you and your loved ones! ~

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