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A glimpse of unique New Year traditions across the world!

Posted by Royal Sundaram on 30 Nov 2010

New Year celebrations are synonymous with parties, get-together with friends, spectacular fireworks, and the countdown to the New Year which is followed by a loud “Happy New Year”. This day is a global celebration as we say “Goodbye” and “Welcome” in one breath!

But have you wondered how people from different parts of the world welcome this day? Here’s a glimpse of the most unique New Year celebrations.

If you visit Denmark, on the New Year’s Day, you’d find pieces of broken dishes outside every home and for the Danes, it is a welcome sight! As per Danish tradition, people throw broken dishes outside the homes of relatives and friends. It signifies good luck and more the broken dishes outside your home, greater is your popularity! People save their broken cutlery and bowls throughout the year for this.

In Austria and parts of Germany, the New Year’s Eve is referred as Sylvesterabend. People observe a tradition called “Bleigiessen” on this day. A small amount of lead is melted in a teaspoon and then poured into a bucket of water. The shape of the formed lead is then interpreted by fortune-tellers. If the poured lead forms into a ball, it signifies that good luck is about to roll your way.

In Ecuador, people burn huge effigies called Años Viejos (meaning Old Year), which represents people and events from the past year. Often, these are effigies of politicians or terrorists. The effigies are made of straw, newspaper, old clothes (sometimes even firecrackers!) and burnt at the stroke of midnight. It symbolizes passing of the Old Year and dawn of the New Year.

In Brazil, along with the parties and fanfare, some traditional rituals are also observed as part of the celebrations. People of the Umbanda religion dress up in white robes and offer gifts, flowers, candles, jewellery, perfume, rice to the Goddess of Water – Iemanja. These offerings are thrown into the water or laden onto small boats which are set adrift into the sea. The sight is breath-taking!

In Mexico and Spain, the locals eat 12 grapes and make a wish; one with every chime which is rang along with New Year countdown.

In Philippines, you would see people dressed in clothes with polka-dotted design as they believe that circular designs attract good fortune. At midnight, the city buzzes with fireworks to drive away evil spirits. Filipinos also open all the doors and windows to welcome the good luck in the New Year. At midnight, children jump as high as they can to grow taller!

Ukraine wears a Christmassy look as the customs followed to welcome the New Year is similar to Christmas. Ukrainians decorate a spruce, pine or fir tree and await the arrival of Ded Moroz (their own Santa Claus), who comes in a troika to spread good wishes.

That was a glimpse of how people greet the New Year in different parts of the world. So, where are you headed?

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