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International New Year's Eve Traditions

Updated on December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Are you ready for the ball to drop in New York or looking forward to a perfect New Year’s kiss? Maybe you are eating pork and sour kraut for good luck? Here in America these traditions are remembered and kept in observance every New Year’s Eve and day. But what about the rest of the world? Here are a few interesting and different traditions from around the globe.

• In Spain while our supermarket s are selling all that pork, theirs are selling grapes! When midnight strikes Spaniards eat 12 white grapes one after another and try to get them all down before the clock chimes stop. Each grape represents one of the 12 months and contests are held to see who can eat them all the quickest.

• If you were in Russia you and your family and friends would be gathering around the New Year’s tree on New Year’s Eve. There are celebrations with music and fireworks and children get gifts from the Russian version of Santa Claus which they open on New Year’s Day. Russians also write a wish on a piece of paper and burn it, allowing the ash to fall into a glass of champagne. They then drink the champagne so the wish will come true.

• People bang bread against the walls and doors in Ireland in the belief it drives bad spirits or bad luck away and invites good luck and spirits in. There is not much of a New Year’s party culture in Ireland. People prefer to spend the day with family and friends and having dinner together.

• Lentils are the good luck food choice in Chili. Eating them at New Year’s is supposed to bring prosperity into your home and life.

• Peruvians tell their financial fortune for the coming year by peeling three potatoes. These are then placed out of sight under a couch or chair. On New Year’s Eve at midnight someone reaches under and takes one out. A half peeled potato means nothing will change as far as money in the coming year. That is money will come in and out of the household as normal. A peeled potato means that there will be no new money coming in during the coming year. An unpeeled potato means a financial bounty is coming to the household.


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