For New Year’s Eve, we American’s usually just douse ourselves in glitter, get tipsy and pucker up at the stroke of midnight. Although I have no problem with that tradition (and don’t save for it for only one day a year…) we seem pretty boring compared to other countries and their own celebrations. I mean, banging bread against walls and smashing plates on your neighbor’s doors? That practically spells P-A-R-T-Y more than a room temperature bottle of Andre’s ever could! How do other cultures celebrate the new year?
Leaping off of furniture at midnight to literally “jump into the new year.” Some Danes prefer to smash plates against their neighbor’s and friend’s doors to symbolize good luck. It’s said that the more broken china on your door, the more friends you have!
2. Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia
Yellow underwear! The tradition’s origin isn’t clear, but to wear yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve brings great luck into the new year. Some even wear it inside out and then change it back to normal after midnight! In Mexico, if you want seek a love life in the new year, you wear red underwear.
3. Mexico, Colombia
If you need more luck beyond yellow underwear, grab a suitcase and walk around the block. People believe this will bring you grand adventures and many travels in the new year. Don’t worry, no need to pack it! Just an empty suitcase will do.
This tradition is very similar to the King Cake tradition for Mardi Gras. A Vasilopita cake is baked with a coin inside, and on New Year’s Eve, the family distributes slices to all members with the oldest eating first. The member who gets the coin will have luck throughout the year.
Waltz into the 2013! At midnight, all radio and television stations run by Austrain Broadcasting play the bells of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and then immediately follow with “The Blue Danube”. Everyone in Vienna, no matter if they’re at home or in the streets, waltzes together that night!
6. Austria, Germany
These Europeans pour molten lead into a cool bowl of water. Whatever shape or form the lead makes, the meaning behind it will predict the new year. Find all the symbols here. Here’s one: an apple shape will mean your trust will be broken.
If a young, unmarried woman puts mistletoe under her pillow on NYE, she will have a successful love life and marriage in the new year. It is also said that mistletoe in general will help rid you of bad luck.
Traditions throughout many countries suggest that loud noises at the stroke of midnight are meant to ward off evil spirits. With banging bread against walls, the Irish scare the evil away and also bring good fortune and food to the house throughout the year.
What do you think of these traditions? How will you be celebrating?