In the U.S., we have our noisemakers, our champagne, and our midnight smooches on New Year’s Eve. Want to add some new traditions to the mix? Try these fun customs from around the world.
Ring Bells – Japan
At Buddhist temples all over Japan, a special bell is rung exactly 108 times. The ringing begins on the evening of the 31st and continues into the new year. 108 is said to represent the number of earthly desires that plague humans: ringing the bell cleanses the soul of these desires. While monks usually do the ringing, some temples allow laymen to participate.
Eat Some Cheese – Germany
Raclette is a type of cow’s cheese that can be used for melting and dipping (similar to fondue). It’s also the cuisine of choice for New Year’s Eve in Germany. Raclette is prepared and served right at the dinner table using a special grill. Traditional foods for dipping include potatoes and pearl onions.
Throw Some Fruit – Greece
In Greece, pomegranates are symbols of luck and prosperity. On New Year’s Eve, it’s custom to smash a pomegranate onto the floor. The more seeds that spill out, the more luck you’ll have (it’s one of the few occasions where mess is a good thing)!
Wear Colorful Undies – South America
In many South American countries, it is thought that wearing a certain color of underwear on New Year’s Eve will influence the coming year. Pink attracts love. Yellow is for wealth and prosperity. Green is for good luck. Red is for passion!
Jump! – Denmark
In Denmark, folks celebrating New Year’s at home stand on a chair or sofa just before midnight. At the stroke of midnight, everyone takes a jump off their chairs. You’re literally jumping into the New Year! The jump symbolizes the ability to overcome any obstacles in the coming year.