New Year’s comes to every corner of the globe, but people in different countries mark the occasion with an incredible range of unique customs.
As the clock strikes midnight, a traveler might find Scots swinging fireballs, Danes smashing plates, and bells ringing over 100 times in Japan.
If you want to check out a new NYE party this year, here are nine ways people all over the world celebrate the new year.
As the Hogmanay, the Scottish festival on New Year’s eve, reaches Stonehaven, Scotland, a parade of kilted revelers take to the street swinging fireballs on long ropes. The tradition may originate in pre-Christian practices to ward off evil spirits. Don’t try to join the parade, though, and leave the fire-swinging to the professionals.
You probably can’t keep up with Spaniards gobbling grapes. Celebrants eat a grape each second for 12 seconds after the clock strikes midnight. If you can’t down a dozen, though, prepare for bad luck in the coming year.
Dancing Like a Bear
If you’re wondering how bears dance, head to Romania to find out. There, residents dress up like bears and dance the night away. If that sounds strange, partake in the tradition preferred by local farmers, who attempt to communicate with their livestock to bring prosperity to their flocks.
Running With an Empty Suitcase
Don’t be confused if you see everyone in Ecuador with a suitcase on NYE. They’re not tourists. Locals cart empty bags around the block to bring luck in their travels.
In Japan, Buddhists ring ceremonial bells 108 times to represent the 108 human sins and to remove the 108 worldly desires.
Throwing Furniture Out the Window
Take cover on New Year’s in Johannesburg. South Africans there celebrate the end of the year by chucking out old furniture, literally. Couches, fridges, cupboards -- they all take flight out the window, as locals get rid of old furniture to start fresh in the new year.
You might think you’ve got bad luck if you keep breaking plates anywhere else in the world, but in Denmark, a shattered plate on New Year’s symbolizes good luck. Many people simply use broken or old china they no longer need, and some break the serveware upon the doorstep of friends and family to share the good fortune.
Painting Doors Red
You don’t need to paint the whole town red in China, just your front door. The color means good luck, so decorating your entryway (whether you paint the full door or hang red decorations) or windows will let the good vibes in and keep the troublesome ones out.
Wearing Colorful Underwear
In several countries around the world, people suit up in bright underwear on NYE to bring good luck. In Argentina the preferred undergarment is pink, in Bolivia it’s yellow, and in Italy it’s red.