The World’s Strangest New Year’s Celebrations

When the clock ticks down to midnight and the New Year rolls around, most people you know will probably be singing Auld Lang Syne and drinking champagne – and perhaps kissing their special someone. However, some cultures around the world celebrate the New Year very differently! One of the most interesting things about travel is discovering the different traditions, cultures and customs of other countries. Remember, what’s strange to you might be normal to someone else. So, let’s take a look at the diverse and fascinating New Year’s celebrations around the world.

World’s Strangest New Year’s Celebrations

Stuffing Your Face with Grapes in Spain

New Year's Celebrations

On a Spanish New Year’s eve, the locals will have 12 grapes lined up at the ready – then they will try to eat one grape for each chime of the clock when it strikes 12. If they don’t manage this feat (which is harder than it sounds) they will be faced with bad luck for the rest of the year. Just be careful not to cram too many grapes in your mouth – choking isn’t a great way to start the new year!

Shredding Paper in Argentina

In Argentina, the New Year’s Celebrations tradition is to shred all of your old files and documents, to symbolise leaving the past behind. (Although make sure to hold onto any important documents you might need later!) Around noon on New Year’s Eve, everyone throws the shredded paper scraps from their windows, showering the streets in paper confetti.

Seek Out Something Round in the Philippines

New Year in Philippines.
New Year in Philippines. Flickr: jeyp. / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

People in the Philippines believe that round items are lucky on New Year’s Eve. Why? Because coins are round, so these items will bring lots of wealth and fortune in the New Year. People often wear dresses with circular patterns or polka dots and will eat as many round fruits as possible.

Ask a Rooster if You Will Get Married in Belarus

In Belarus, a Rooster is used to determine who will be married in the New Year. All of the single women stand around, each with a pile of corn in front of them. Then, the rooster is released. Whichever pile of corn he eats from first is the woman whom will be the first to marry.

Walk Around the Block with an Empty Suitcase in Colombia

New Year's Celebrations

If they are stricken by wanderlust, people in Colombia start the year off by walking around the block with an empty suitcase. It is said that if you do this, you will have many opportunities to travel in the coming year.

I think I’m going to circle the block with my empty backpack this year, as I am hoping this year brings plenty more chances to experience different cultures around the world!

About Kelly Dunning


A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word. She and her English boyfriend Lee run, packed full with travel guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel. They have been location independent and travelling the world digital-nomad style for the last three years, with no address, no car and no fixed schedule.

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