Top 10 Most Interesting New Year’s Traditions Around the World

Learn about ten of the most interesting New Year’s traditions around the world in today’s guide.

Interesting New Year's traditions don't just extend to great fireworks!
New Year’s traditions don’t just extend to great fireworks!

The New Year is nearly here (as is Christmas)! Depending on where in the world you are right now, you will have some sort of New Year’s tradition that you practice, whether it is having a New Year’s feast at home or watching the fireworks.

Fun as those traditions are, they aren’t the only New Year’s traditions. There are, in fact, some really fun, quirky, and interesting New Year’s traditions around the world and we bring you today ten of the most interesting ones (especially check out the Greek and the Mexican ones)!

Keep reading to find out more about ten of the most interesting New Year’s traditions around the world.

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Greek New Year’s tradition (Coin in bread)

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Coin in bread is believed to bring fortune!

The traditional New Year’s traditions for Greeks involve eating a sweet bread called vasilopita. The bread is baked with a coin inside, the belief being that whoever gets the coin will have their year filled with good luck.

The bread is then eaten at midnight, starting with the oldest member of the family. But eating the bread is not where the tradition ends: they also set aside two slices of bread, one for St. Basil, and another for poor people.

This Greek New Year’s tradition is one of our favorites. It is by far one of the most fun, generous, social and interesting New Year’s tradition, won’t you say?

Filipino New Year’s tradition (Round food & polka dots) 

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Polka dots are a big part of New Year’s traditions in the Philippines

Round shapes are a big thing for Filipinos when it comes to New Year’s traditions. Why? Because they represent fortune and prosperity. Usually people will try to have a lot of round food (like having a pile of round fruits on their dining table) and even use clothes with Polka dots for the whole round thing.

Based on what we learned from some Filipinos, this tradition has a Chinese root and was originally brought over by Chinese immigrants. That said, if you want some luck (especially on the money front), try adding some round fruits to your dining table this year. Who knows, it might work!

Spanish New Year’s tradition (Twelve grapes)

Interesting new year's traditions around the world # 4
In Spain, New Year is not complete without green grapes

The Spanish have a very interesting New Year’s tradition. They count down the last 12 seconds to midnight, and eat one green grape at each stroke of the clock! The countdown is televised so people usually gather around the TV and then have a go at eating the 12 grapes with each stroke of the clock.

It is said that not being able to eat all 12 grapes by the 12th strike of the clock can bring you bad luck, whereas finishing all 12 will bring you a whole year of good luck.

If you want to try that, here’s a tip for you, a trick we learned from a Spanish friend: getting small grapes is key to winning!

Peruvian New Year’s tradition (Bare-knuckle fighting!)

Interesting new year's traditions around the world # 5
Fight club is on the menu for New Year in Peru!

Known as the Takanakuy Festival, the Peruvian New Year’s tradition involves a competition where people face off each other for a round of bare-knuckle fighting, and literally beat the crap out of each other…

A real-life fight club!

Scary as they might sound, the fights are friendly and are moderated by the local police so they don’t go out of hand. They are believed to represent a fresh new start for the year. But interesting as it is, this is not a tradition we recommend practicing this New Year!

Japanese New Year’s tradition (108 chimes)

Interesting new year's traditions around the world # 6
In Japan, ringing the bell is key to ringing the New Year in

If you watch the New Year’s countdown, you will be familiar with the ten or twelve chimes leading up to the point where the clock strikes midnight and the fireworks go off. But in Japan ten or twelve chimes just does not cut it. Over there, bells are rung a whopping 108 times!

This is based on a Buddhist tradition, and is believed to wipe clean all human sins.

It’s a nice sentiment, to start the new year by clearing off your past sins.

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Mexican New Year’s tradition (Red, yellow and white underwear!)

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Mexican New Year tradition is a colorful one!

The Mexican New Year’s tradition is a colorful one, and involves the clothes you wear under your clothes! Over there, the color of your underwear is believed to determine your fortune: those who want to find love wear red, yellow is worn by those who want wealth and luck, and white is said to attract peace.

This tradition is not just practiced in Mexico by the way, but in some other South American countries too, namely Brazil and Bolivia.

As for this tradition, you might want to check the color of your underwear this year and wear the color based on what you want more of!

Colombian New Year’s tradition (3 potatoes)

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Colombian New Year tradition is all about good, bad or mixed fortune!

In Colombia there’s a very interesting New Year’s tradition involving three potatoes. Over there, people place three potatoes under their beds for luck: one of the potato is peeled, one is half peeled, and the third one is left unpeeled. Then at midnight they feel around under their beds and grab the first one they touch.

Getting the unpeeled one means there will be abundance, whereas getting the peeled one indicates financial problems.

What about the half peeled one you ask? That means somewhere in between, half and half of abundance and money issues!

Irish New Year’s tradition (Bread banging)

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Bread isn’t just for eating in Ireland on New Year’s Eve

Want to chase out bad luck and evil spirits, and bring good luck into your home? Then you might want to do what the Irish do for New Year’s and band a bread against the wall of your house!

The tradition is also said to ensure that you will have an abundance of food, and bread, in the New Year.

It’s a fun tradition, just don’t forget to sweep up the crumbs or otherwise you will invite in more than just good fortune!

Brazilian New Year’s tradition (Seven fruits)

Interesting new year's traditions around the world # 9
Brazil’s New Year tradition does not involve football, but it is still fun!

In Brazil, seven is the lucky number for New Year’s Eve, and Brazilians eat seven fruits to ring in the year: seven pomegranate seeds for wealth, and seven grapes for abundance in all areas of your life.

Seven itself has a lot of significance in Brazil, as many Brazilians also jump over seven waves and make seven new year wishes as they jump, one for each wave. What an interesting way to ring in the new year!

Now, you might not have an ocean around the corner where you can go to jump over waves, but you can still try the seven fruits!

Canadian New Year’s tradition (Ice fishing)

Interesting new year's traditions around the world # 10
New Year’s in Canada can be pretty chilly!

New Year in Canada, at least in some of the rural parts of Canada, involves ice fishing with family and friends.

People will fish on the frozen rivers and ponds, and this can last all night!

If you like fishing and don’t mind the cold, this might be one to put on your bucket list.

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Closing thoughts

How will you celebrate the New Year this year?

Do you or your family have any interesting New Year’s traditions of your own?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The moment the clock strikes midnight and the new year is ushered in is always a moment to celebrate. It marks the beginning of another year, of more promise and potential, and even of more fun and joy in your life.

We hope this year has been great for you so far, and that the new year will be even better.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!


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