New Ways to Celebrate Your New Year!

Elaina Druid

New Years is one of the most popular internationally celebrated holidays in the world. It’s interesting to examine the diversity of traditions that each country has to celebrate the new year. Our goal at United Planet is to help volunteers experience and appreciate a world outside of their own. Take this moment to expand your knowledge and learn about what kinds of unique traditions other countries have that help them ring in the new year.

Chris Oakley, 12 Grapes Before Midnight

Photo by Chris Oakley

In Spain, there is a tradition where a grape is eaten on each chime of midnight on New Year’s Day. Each grape that is eaten represents the twelve months of the year. It is believed that eating grapes will bring prosperity and good luck for the year to come.

In Denmark, close friends wish each other a happy New Year in a very fun way. Throughout the year, the Danish collect old plates and save them until New Years Day. In the early hours of the new year, people throw the plates that they have collected at the front doors of their close friends. It is believed that the more broken plates that are on your doorstep, the more true friends that you have.

In Switzerland, New Year’s Day is probably the only time when a child won’t be sad if their ice cream falls on the floor. To ensure a year that will be filled with luck, peace, and wealth, the Swiss drop a scoop of ice cream on the floor. Some people also dress up in various costumes in order to drive away bad spirits and draw in good ones.

Macau | Chinese New Year 2014 Dragon Dance

Photo by Macau

In addition to these unique New Year’s traditions, some countries celebrate the new year on a different day. For example, the Chinese New Year is celebrated between mid-January and mid-February. Some of the festivities that take place during the Chinese new year include music and dance performances as well as feasts which last for multiple days.

There are even various religions that celebrate the new year on different days. In the Jewish religion, the new year is celebrated during either September or October. The new year celebration lasts for ten days. It begins with Rosh Hashanah and, on the tenth and last day, ends with Yom Kippur.

Both the Chinese New Year and the Jewish New Year are based off of a Lunar calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar, which is why the dates of their new year are different than other countries.

No matter if you’re going to watch the ball drop on your television at home or throw dinner plates at your best friend’s front door, we hope that everyone has a safe and happy New Year!

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