Weird New Year's Superstitions From Around The World

Cultural beliefs from around the world to make sure your new year is filled with happiness and good luck!

In the last few days of the year, people tend to feel all sorts of things: nostalgia, the need to party hard, euphoria and even a bit of superstition about the coming year.

You wonder, is it going to be good or bad? How will it compare to the year you just had? What about those annoying New Year’s resolutions: Are you going to have any, are you going to stick to them and if so, what should they be?

It’s quite natural, whether you’ve had a good or a bad year, to want the next one to be better. So here are a few New Year’s traditions from around the world that people follow because they believe it will bring them good luck.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of New Year traditions revolve around food. 

1) Some like to eat certain foods: 

new years food for luck

In Chile, eating a spoonful of lentils at midnight is believed to bring forth a year of wealth and work. But the Germans make it sweet by consuming pig shaped marzipan, while the Dutch believe in eating giant balls of greased up dough called oliebollen.


2) While others like to play with their food: good fortune NYE food

Some people take food to another level and make a game out of it, like the Spanish or Mexicans who make it a challenge to eat a dozen grapes throughout the day each time the clock strikes the hour until midnight.

Of course, the Russians have to make a drinking game out of it, where you write down any wish you want to come true on a piece of paper, burn it and put it into a glass of champagne – which you MUST drink before 12:01.

In both the Koreas, a traditional soup called Tteok-Guk is served. And if you happen to get an egg in your serving, you get one year to your age! No really, it’s like a real life level up, as they consider it a sign of good luck.

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3) Then there's people who believe it has prophecy telling characteristics: 

food fortune telling

People in El Salvador use eggs, left out overnight in glass on the first night of the year. The shape the raw egg takes in the morning helps you predict your fortune. People in Turkey make it a bit more colorful as they throw pomegranate from their balconies onto the street. How much the fruit bursts open is proportional to how much “muchness” the next year will bring.  

4) But some people don't like food, period: 

Boo, people in the the Philippines think there’s bad luck attached to eating and serving chicken because they think it’s associated with poverty. They would much rather barbecue a pig.

5) Then, there’s the choice of clothing:
new years clothes

How odd! People in Venezuela wear yellow underwear for good luck (which you’d think is a difficult color underwear to find), while Argentineans believe in wearing bright pink underwear to attract love as the year ends. Brazilians, it seems, care only for warding off evil so that's why they choose to wear white.

6) Some want to clean away the bad   
new years cleaning sweeping tradition

The idea of not cleaning, or “no sweeping” is quite a popular belief, not just in Chile, where people do it for the sake of getting rid of bad karma. But the Japanese believe in a cleaning ritual in order to welcome the new god.

7) While others prefer to avoid laundry day all together:

Filipinos believe that cleaning up may just sweep away any good fortune lying around, so they choose NOT to clean, dust or sweep anything at all in the days leading up to and after the end of the year!

new years rituals

Some of these are actually quite short, simple and sweet in the thought behind them. It’s more than just fireworks and bubbly for some.

8) Starting on the right note:
There's an Argentinean belief in starting the year, literally, on the right note by using your right foot. At midnight, people make it a point to take their first steps with their right foot, which is really a nice way to start off something new, isn’t it?

9) Pseudo metal-shaped prophecies:

In Finland, people believe in a tradition called molybdomancy, in which metal is melted in heated pot after which it is immediately thrown into cold water so that it takes a random shape. They then get together, using candlelight and shadows, and try to analyze it like a prediction for the future.  And the best part is, they never take it seriously so it’s all in good fun.

10) Here's some animal lovin': 
new years animals

People in Belgium take into account all living creatures, as part of the customs called Sint Sylvester Vooranvond to wish their animals happy new year too! Hopefully, no midnight kisses are involved. 

happy new year 2014

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