Ernest Blog: New Year’s Traditions from Around the World

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New Year’s Traditions from Around the World

Ushering in that fresh crest of sunlight to mark the New Year is an occasion known around the world; a time of celebration, preparation and resolution. But for many, welcoming in the start of a fresh year is not simply a kiss, a countdown and a drink.

Spain’s 12 Grapes

In Spain (and parts of Southern Europe), people welcome in the New Year by gobbling down 12 grapes to the chimes of church bells: one for each stroke of midnight. Trouble has arisen over time as to exactly when each grape should be eaten (believe us, it’s not as easy it sounds), so if you find yourself in Spain for New Years, make sure you practice.

Denmark’s Broken Plates

As ominous as it might seem to find broken crockery on your doorstep, there exists the jovial practice of breaking plates in Denmark on New Year’s Eve. Traditionally considered a way of wishing well to your friends (we recommend not using your best china unless you’re really trying to make a statement), the legend goes that the more plates you break on your neighbour’s front door, the more luck they’ll have.   

Romania’s Dancing Bears

Donning your best bear costume and dancing through the streets might sound a bit Kafkaesque, but in some parts of Romania, this pre-Christian tradition is the best way for you and your fellow neighbours to ward off evil. The celebrations are often accompanied by local music, an array of food and drink, and even a dancing goat’s head at times. Noroc!

Brazil’s Beach Party

Known as ‘Reveillon’, millions flock to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro dressed entirely in white (a traditional symbol of peace) for a New Year’s party like no other. Although white is compulsory, you can wear accent colours, which bring with them their own unique good tidings: green for good health; yellow for wealth; red for romance and purple for inspiration.

Scotland’s 3 Days

As part of the Hogmanay Festival, townsfolk summon their inner Viking and parade through the streets of Scotland on the night of the 30th December. On New Year’s Eve, Princes Street echoes with the sounds of Auld Lang Syne and cheer. Topped off the next day with a splash in the River Forth, a hangover cure that only the burliest red hairs can stomach, Scotland knows how to do New Years.

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