New Year traditions from around the world that are unique and fascinating!

New Year traditions from around the world that are unique and fascinating!

Estonians eat 7, 9 or 12 meals on New year's Eve!

Updated on December 30, 2021 17:24 PM by Anna P

Traditions are passed down from one generation to another within a community or society. New Year traditions have long been passed down to us by our ancestors. It is believed that New year festivities started around 4,000 years ago in Ancient Babylon.  New Year Eve is the time of the year when everyone is filled with great hopes and aspirations for the coming year while they bid goodbye to the current year. Many come up with new year resolutions and ideas on making the upcoming year a fruitful one. Apart from these, people celebrate by playing games, hosting or attending parties, having a feast with their loved ones, etc. Certain traditions have been passed down to us to stay rooted in our culture and family. Some traditions are enjoyable! Are you eager to know them? Then, read on!

California - Pasadena Rose Bowl parade

In California, The Rose Parade is observed on New Year’s Day. It is also called the Tournament of Roses Parade. The event happens annually, and it marks the start of the Rose Bowl Game. This tradition started from the year 1890. It features floats that are covered with millions of flowers and marching bands.

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New York City - Times Square Ball Drop

Every year, at 11:50 pm, a time ball located at the roof of One Times Square descends down a flagpole and reaches the ground at midnight to mark the beginning of the new year. This has been happening every year since 1907. Only in the years 1942 and 1943, the tradition wasn’t observed. This ball is covered with 2,688 crystal triangles of different sizes.

Demark - The Danish "Kransekage"

In Demark, to mark the new year, they end the evening meal with a traditional Danish confection called Kransekage. In English, you might call it a wreath cake. This confection is eaten on special occasions. It is also called Kransekake and Kransekaka.

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Ecuador - Burning of the Año Viejo

The most popular tradition of New Year in Ecuador is the burning of the Año Viejo. The term means “old year,” and it is basically the burning of straw effigies, dummies, or scarecrow-like dolls. That represents the past year’s misfortunes. This way, they leave the past behind and welcome the new year.  

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Italy - Letting go of the old

Italy observes the new year by throwing out old stuff at midnight. They throw out old crockery, clothes, and furniture. This tradition represents letting go of the old and useless and bad luck or evil of the past year to welcome the new year and have a fresh beginning.

Oga City in Akita, Japan - "Namahage"

In Oga City in Akita, Japan, there is something called “Oga no Namahage” or “Oga Namahage Festival”. “Namahage” is the name of a demon or “oni.” On New Year’s Eve, a few young Japanese men dress up as Namahage and travel home to home to see if the children have misbehaved in the past year. They threaten to take off the bad kids if they do not obey their parents and behave.

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Spain - The twelve grapes of luck

Spanish New Year traditions include eating a grape at each strike of the clock bell at midnight. This tradition is called “the twelve grapes of luck” and is done so to bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year.

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Estonia, Northern Europe - Estonians eat 7, 9, or 12 meals.

The Estonians believe in eating a lucky number of meals on New Year’s Eve.  The most auspicious numbers for them are 7, 9, and 12, and so they eat as many as 12 meals that day. This is believed to bring them strength and good luck in the coming year.

Greece - The Greek’s tradition:

The Greeks hang a large onion on their door outside on New Year’s Eve. The onion is believed to be a symbol of rebirth and growth. They also smash a pomegranate, which is a symbol of strength in Greek folklore. They believe that it is a fruit of life and that it brings good fortune.

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