7 Fascinating New Year’s Traditions From Around The World
By Leah Freeman-Haskin
From banging bread on walls to peeling potatoes, there are many ways that people around the world herald in the new year with hopes of prosperity and good health. Here are a few traditions you may want to start implementing into your new year’s celebrations.
Just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, it is tradition to eat soba noodles. The long noodle denotes the crossing from one year to the next and signifies a letting go of the past year’s regrets before the fresh start of the new year.
On New Year’s Eve, Columbians often place three potatoes under their bed: one peeled, one unpeeled, and one half-peeled. When the clock strikes midnight, they reach under their bed and grab one potato. Peeled means they’ll have financial problems, unpeeled indicates abundance, and half peeled is somewhere in between.
If you are looking for a tradition with a challenge, it’s Spanish tradition to eat 12 grapes within the 12 seconds leading into the new year. If you can eat them all in time, it is said that you will have 12 months of good luck.
In the Philippines, the new year is celebrated by serving 12 round fruits. The round produce symbolizes coins—which represent prosperity and wealth for each month of the upcoming year. Apples, melons, oranges, and grapes are popular options.
Seven is a lucky number in Brazilian culture. Come New Year’s Eve, seven pomegranate seeds are eaten to keep the purse full and seven grapes to ensure abundance in all areas of life.
This tradition can get a bit noisy. The people of Ireland are known to bang bread against the walls of their homes on New Year’s Eve. Why? It’s believed that bad luck and evil spirits are chased away and good luck invited in.
The new year is celebrated in Greece by eating vasilopita, a sweet yeast bread. According to tasteofhome.com, “Eaten at midnight, the bread is made in honor of Greece’s revered St. Basil. Before serving the family, beginning with the older member, households set a slice of bread aside for the saint and a portion for the poor. A coin is baked into the bread and the person whose slice contains the coin is in for a year filled with good fortune.