New Year’s traditions around the world

woman holding at the door using the old knock door
Knock, knock 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 (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Manuel-F-O)
White plate lies broken on the floor.
Broken dishes 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 (Getty Images/iStockphoto/EVAfotografie) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/EVAfotografie)
Red door on brick wall with vegetation
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” (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Benoitle5)
This July 29, 2013 photo shows lentil tabbouleh in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Lentil luck Lentils signify wealth and prosperity in Brazil, so people celebrate the new year by serving dishes that feature the legume. Source: Epicurious (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) (AP/Matthew Mead)
Roast suckling pig decorated verdure on the festive table
Pigging out 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. Source: Epicurious (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/pzRomashka)
close up of molten lead
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 (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/3quarks)
’Tis the season of sparkling, and nothing is as festive as a glass of pink bubbly to start up any holiday party. (Thinkstock)
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 (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/AlexPro9500)
Loaf of bread on a wooden table in a bakery
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. Source: FatherTime (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/KucherAV)
Cabernet Sauvignon grapes hang in the Dragon's Terrace vineyard before being harvested at the Quintessa winery Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, in Rutherford, Calif. Harvest began at the Napa Valley winery on September 8 and will continue through October. A fantastic vintage for 2016 is expected. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
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) (AP/Eric Risberg)
This is what Greece has on offer!
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” (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/KostyLogotheti)
This Sept. 21, 2016 photo shows a cluster of glera grapes growing in Italy's prosecco country. Glera is the white grape that traditionally goes into the popular bubbly. (Michelle Locke via AP)
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) (AP)
Wringing of floorcloth with gloved hands
Clean start 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 (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/thodonal)
(1/12)
woman holding at the door using the old knock door
White plate lies broken on the floor.
Red door on brick wall with vegetation
This July 29, 2013 photo shows lentil tabbouleh in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Roast suckling pig decorated verdure on the festive table
close up of molten lead
’Tis the season of sparkling, and nothing is as festive as a glass of pink bubbly to start up any holiday party. (Thinkstock)
Loaf of bread on a wooden table in a bakery
Cabernet Sauvignon grapes hang in the Dragon's Terrace vineyard before being harvested at the Quintessa winery Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, in Rutherford, Calif. Harvest began at the Napa Valley winery on September 8 and will continue through October. A fantastic vintage for 2016 is expected. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
This is what Greece has on offer!
This Sept. 21, 2016 photo shows a cluster of glera grapes growing in Italy's prosecco country. Glera is the white grape that traditionally goes into the popular bubbly. (Michelle Locke via AP)
Wringing of floorcloth with gloved hands

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.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

© 2016 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up