In England, the first guest for the year is supposed to bring fortune. The English prefer a male bearing traditional gifts entering through the front door. If he doesn’t have a loaf for the kitchen, drink for the head of family and coal to light the fire, he is not allowed entry.
Source: BBC America
In Denmark, it’s tradition to keep a pile of broken dishes in front of the door. Sometimes, people even throw old dishes on their friends’ doors. This is a gesture of friendship and brotherhood — so whoever has the most broken dishes littering their stoop is believed to have the most friends.
Source: Business Insider
Red for good fortune
In China, people paint front doors of houses red to symbolize happiness and good fortune. During the New Year celebration, it’s also considered bad luck to get a cut, because it might cut the entire family of good fortune for the coming year. A precaution that’s taken? Hiding the knives.
Source: “Taoist Feng Shui”
Lentils signify wealth and prosperity in Brazil, so people celebrate the new year by serving dishes that feature the legume.
(AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
In Austria, the suckling pig is considered a good-luck charm. It’s often served for dinner, followed by a dessert of peppermint ice cream.
Lead there be luck
In Germany, lead is considered auspicious. One tradition carried out to celebrate the new year is to pour molten lead into cold water to predict the future. The shape the piece of lead takes symbolizes what is to come: a heart for love, round shapes meaning good luck, anchor shapes denoting a need for help.
Source: National Public Radio
What’s in a name?
In Belgium, New Year’s Eve is called Saint Sylvester Eve. It’s a time to throw a big family party where people exchange kisses, good fortune greetings and toasts to usher in the new year.
Source: 123 New Year
A loaf plus some
In Greece, Jan. 1 is St. Basil’s Day, in celebration of Basil of Caesarea. Greeks bake special bread with a coin buried inside, with the idea that the person who gets the slice with the coin will have extra good luck. Tradition dictates that the slices of bread are passed out in a specific order, with a slice offered to God, to the bread winner of the house, the house and each family member.
Circle for luck
In the Philippines, round objects are considered auspicious. People eat round food items such as grapes, wear polka dots and throw coins as the new year begins to increase wealth and prosperity.
Source: Deccan Chronicle
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Out the back door
As the clock strikes midnight in Wales, people open the back door of the house, then immediately shut it. This symbolizes letting out the old year, and locking out the bad luck of the year past. The door is reopened at the 12th toll of the clock to welcome all the good for the new year.
Source: “Traditions/Superstitions from around the World”
Grape wishes to you
Spaniards traditionally eat 12 grapes at every toll of the clock during the New Year. They believe it will bring good luck and happiness for the coming 12 months.
Source: Food Republic
(Michelle Locke via AP)
In Puerto Rico, people give their homes a thorough cleaning to scrub away any lasting negative energy of the past and to start the year fresh. They also throw buckets of water out their window to drive away evil spirits.
Source: 123 New Year
WASHINGTON — Watching the ball drop in Times Square, counting down the seconds until midnight, giving someone a big smooch at the stroke of midnight are traditions tried and true — or at least familiar — to those in the United States.
But people in other parts of the world ring in the new year in different ways. Here’s a look at some of the quirky New Year’s traditions celebrated around the globe.