While the New Year is celebrated all over the world, traditions are not the same whether we find ourselves on one side of the globe or the other. Discover New Year's Eve customs in different countries.
The origins and traditions of the New Year
Every year, once the euphoria of Christmas is behind us comes the turn of the New Year and the change of year! Synonymous with celebrations, family meals, and celebrations with friends, the famous New Year's Eve is known to all.
New Year's Day is the first day of the year. On our calendar, it is January 1.
On the evening of December 31, everyone gathers with family or friends to celebrate the new year, which is beginning. When the twelve strokes of midnight sound, on the eve of December 31 to January 1, everyone wishes each other a "Happy New Year and good health!"
Some original customs for the day of the transition to the new year
1. The polar bear dive in Canada
When it comes to customs, we can say that the Canadians are the champions! On New Year's Eve, they have a very special tradition called "the polar bear dive." With this name, we quickly understand the idea: the objective is to jump into freezing waters, close to zero degrees. Every year on January 1, the bravest Canadians gather in the icy waters of the river closest to their homes to celebrate the New Year. With a bit of courage and thinking of the hot chocolate that awaits afterward, the experience is worth it!
2. Burn and drink wishes in Russia
In Russia, and more precisely in Moscow, on the occasion of the New Year, the inhabitants write on a piece of paper their wishes for the coming year and burn it right after. Nothing crazy yet. But the tradition does not end there; the ashes of these papers are then collected to be poured into their glass of champagne. When midnight strikes, it's time for the big challenge; the glass must be drunk in 60 seconds maximum! If the challenge is met, the wish for the coming year is supposed to come true. Nice concept, right?
3. Scotland: "First footing"
As soon as the 12-midnight bells ring in Scotland, the traditional "First footing" can begin. According to traditions, the first person who crosses the house's threshold will determine the luck of the family for the entire year. Also, it is a good idea to bring in friends and family first, but be careful: always with your right foot and never with empty hands.
4. France: champagne, gastronomy, and mistletoe
In France, on New Year's Eve, dinner is gourmet. Foie gras and smoked salmon are generally among the essential dishes. However, each region has its customs and offers other local dishes. On the table, you will find Marennes d'Oléron oysters, duck confit from the South-West, snails from Burgundy, caviar from Aquitaine ... Other festive specifics, we kiss under the mistletoe, and once past midnight, we cut the champagne.
5. Norway: the hidden almond
On New Year's Eve, Norwegians usually eat a rice pudding cake in which they have hidden an almond. The person who finds the precious food is sure to be prosperous in the New Year.
6. Denmark; cod and chairs
After tasting the traditional boiled or baked cod with its mustard sauce and the Kransekage, the famous marzipan cake, the Danes, to chase away evil spirits, take off their shoes, get on a chair and jump at the last stroke of midnight before singing the national anthem.
Another tradition In Denmark, on New Year's Eve, is break dishes. On New Year's Eve, the Danes usually break their dishes. According to beliefs, those who break the most will be the luckiest throughout the coming year. A tradition that is causing quite a stir!
7. Colombia; a year of traveling
Here's a New Year's Eve tradition for all travel enthusiasts: In Colombia, people who want a year full of travel pick up their (empty) suitcases and go out to walk around the block at midnight.
8. Poland: carp scales
The Poles who wish to attract good fortune for months to come keep in their purses two or three scales of the carp which they ate during the supper of the New Year's Eve. Carp is one of the most famous fish in the country, especially around the end of the year celebrations.
9. Dress in white and jump in the waves in Brazil
In Brazil, tradition dictates that the inhabitants are dressed all in white on the evening of the 31st. Why do that? It's quite simple; according to beliefs, it would serve to drive out evil spirits. Another tradition is that the Brazilians dive into the ocean and jump 7 times in the waves, expressing for each jump a wish for the year to come. Obviously, for those who live in the land, there is, of course, an alternative: you will have to jump 3 times on the right foot or otherwise, climb on a stool with the right foot!
10. In Chile, a spoonful of lentils
When midnight strikes, Chileans eat a spoonful of lentils so that the New Year brings them money and professional success.
11. In China, a wish tree
During the Chinese New Year, we write our wishes on a piece of paper that we throw in a "wish tree." The wish will come true if the paper gets stuck in the tree all evening.
12. Eat 12 grapes in Spain
In Madrid and all over Spain, people gulp 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, a tradition that would bring good luck for the next 12 months.
13. Throwing pomegranates for the New Year in Turkey
To wish each other a year rich in love, money, and work, the Turks throw pomegranates (the fruit) from their balcony. According to an ancestral belief, some also wear red lingerie, supposed to bring good luck.
14. Cleaning up in Japan
Just before New Year's Eve, Japanese families get together for a big household called “ōsōji”: after having cleaned the homes from top to bottom, the Japanese are ready to start the year with a healthy mind in a healthy home.
15. Throw away the used furniture in South Africa
A word of advice if you're celebrating New Year's in South Africa: don't wander around the Hillbrow district in Johannesburg. Indeed, on January 1, the inhabitants of this district get rid of their worn furniture ... by throwing it out the window! Be careful; each year, the fall of these objects causes several injuries.