New Year's Eve traditions vary from person to person, whether at home or traveling. There are common traditions throughout the United States, including singing old New Year songs such as "Auld Lang Syne." Even some people eat black-eyed peas for good luck. All cultures worldwide welcome the calendar with unique New Year's traditions. Learn more about different traditions worldwide.
Most Popular New Year’s Eve Tradition in the World
1. Spain – Eating 12 Grapes at Midnight
Spanish people believe that eating one grape in time with each chime of the clock at midnight will be rewarded with luck and happiness in the upcoming year.
The traditions date back to 1909, when the country had a huge grape harvest during the festive season. During that time, the king chose to give the surplus of produce to the people to consume on New Year's Eve.
2. Denmark – Jumping off Chairs and Smashing Plates
Demark people celebrate New Year's Eve by throwing away old plates and glasses against the doors of their friends and family to banish bad spirits. Also, they stand on the chair and jump off them at midnight to 'leap' into January in hopes of good luck.
3. Thailand – Throw Water on Your Friends
If you're visiting Thailand this Thai New Year's Eve, then carry an extra pair of swim suites. This tradition is drenched with goodwill. People believe it is a sign of good wishes and respect for the year ahead and symbolizes vanishing bad luck. If you don't want to throw water, you can play games with your friends instead.
4. South Africa – Throwing furniture out the window
If you're hoping to go to South Africa this new year, watch out for some heavy items falling from the house windows instead of confetti or flowers. Though it is not accepted throughout the country, there are some places where this old tradition is still followed. They believe that throwing unused goods from windows sends a signal to the universe that you need to let go of your past mistakes and hope for a bright future.
5. Italy – Lentils and Legume
We all know Italian people love lentils for their coin-like shape. They also believe that it symbolizes luck and prosperity. In the New Year's Eve dinner, they make delicious legumes to bring some luck to their lives. They even add some dishes and ingredients such as pork to lentil dishes, spicy sausage or zampone, a deboned pig trotter, and Italian-style lentil soup that bring good taste and fortune in the upcoming year.
6. Colombia – Three Potatoes
People in Colombia place three potatoes – one peeled, one half peeled, and one unpeeled under their beds. They pull out the first potato they touch. All potatoes have their own facts. However, the peeled potato means financial problems, unpeeled indicates abundance, and half-peeled falls in between. So, instead of cursing yourself for the year ahead, we recommend you enjoy this tradition.
7. United States – Watching the Ball Drop
Since 1907, people have gathered in New York City's Times Square to watch the ball drop on New Year's Eve. The first ball was just iron and wood. Still, today, you can watch and enjoy a 12-foot geodesic sphere covered in 2,688 Waterford Crystal Triangles and around 32,256 LEDs to make it more decent. You can also see something else fall as a visual countdown.
8. Brazil – Wear White
If you're in Brazil on New Year's Eve, don't forget to buy a brand-new white outfit. People living here wear pure white outfits on New Year's Eve. They believe that it brings peace and good luck. You will get all Brazilians on the beach since it's the summertime. The tradition is also rooted in paying homage to Yemanja, the goddess of water.
9. India – Build and burn a sculpture of an older man.
Bombay is a cosmopolitan place with tons of different festivals. In ancient Bombay, people used to make a sculpture of an older man and burn it down. The burning symbolizes the dying of venom from the old year and allows a new year to be born. Everyone sings songs at the time of burning, and then it would turn into a little party.
Frequently Asked Questions About New Year’s Eve Tradition
The countdown marks the exact moment when one-year ends and a new one begins. It brings excitement and anticipation as people come together to celebrate the transition. It gives you an opportunity for the upcoming year.
Auld Lang Syne is a Scottish song that is frequently sung at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.
Yes, people consume many specific foods for good luck on New Year's Eve, such as eating black-eyed peas and collard greens. Even in Spain, people eat 12 grapes at midnight to bring good luck for each upcoming year.
The origin of New Year's Eve traditions is from ancient times. The transition dates back to ancient civilizations, with various customs and rituals and some modern touches we observe today.