Broken dishes in Denmark? Empty suitcases in Mexico? Check out these 10 weird New Year traditions from around the world!
1Denmark: The More Dishes Thrown at You, the Luckier You Are
On New Year's Eve, Danes throw dishes at each others' front doors. People that have the most broken dishes piled in front of their doors are considered lucky, as they have the largest amount of loyal friends. In another tradition, the people of Denmark leap from their furniture at the stroke of midnight and literally "jump into the new year."
2Italy: Red Underwear Brings Good Fortune on New Year's Eve
In Italy, the color red generally signifies good luck since it brings good fortune and calls on the protective presence of the Archangel Michael. On December 31st, Italians from all walks of life don red underwear to shower themselves with good luck in the coming year.
3Greece: The First Person to Enter Your House in the New Year Brings Good Luck
In Greece, the Pothariko–also known as "the first foot''– is practiced widely on New Year's Eve. The first person that enters the house in the first moments of the new year must be a good-natured, lucky person in order to bring good luck to the house. Often, children are chosen because they are viewed as being the most innocent. The person picked to enter the house must enter with their right foot first so that things go "right" in the upcoming year, then they must smash a pomegranate to the floor while wishing for abundance, joy, and good health for the residents.
4Germany: The English Comedy Sketch Dinner for One is a Revered New Year's Eve Tradition
The 11-minute-long English comedy sketch Dinner For One is reputed to be the most frequently repeated TV program ever, yet has rarely been seen in the U.S. or the United Kingdom, where it was first produced. Instead, it has become a wildly popular staple of New Year's Eve viewing in most bars and homes in Germany. The story follows 90-year-old Miss Sophie as she throws a birthday party for herself, setting the table for long dead friends. Her butler, James, picks up the slack and play acts as all of them, getting more and more drunk as the night rolls on. Each course begins with the refrain, "The same procedure as last year, madam?" "The same procedure as every year, James." The sketch ends with Miss Sophie declaring that she is ready for bed and James readies himself for the final procedure: bedding with Miss Sophie himself.
5Spain: Eating a Grape with Each Toll of the Bell in the First Minute of the New Year Brings Luck
At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, Spanish residents stuff themselves with 12 grapes (Las doce uvas de la suerte, "The twelve grapes of luck") which they try to eat as the first minute of the New Year is counted down. As each bell strikes, Spaniards eat a grape to bring prosperity and generally ward of evil. Each grape is eaten within the beat of the tolling bell.
6Finland: A Piece of Molten Tin Predicts Your Fate in the Coming New Year
On New Year's Eve at midnight, Fins find the nearest piece of tin, melt it, pour it into a horseshoe-shaped ladle, then drop it into cold water. The tin then hardens and forms a random shape. Shapes are then interpreted into predictions for the coming year. A heart or ring signifies a wedding, a ship tells of possible travel, and an animal, either a cow or a pig shape, often signifies abundance.
7Panama: Where Paper Maché Figures of Public Figures Burn in Effigy on New Year's Eve
In sun drenched Panama, scarecrow-sized figures called muñecos adorn front lawns during the holiday season. Often, the figures depict politicians, celebrities, or other public figures that Panamanians hope to see less often in the coming year. On New Year's Eve, the figures are doused with saril and seco and burned in effigy.
8Belarus: Women Compete in Games of Skill in Hope of Landing a Husband in the Coming New Year
For the single ladies of Belarus, New Year's Eve is all about getting hitched. Ladies compete in games of skill to see who will be the next lucky bride-to-be, one of which involves placing piles of corn in front of each woman and releasing a rooster to walk among them. Whoever the rooster approaches first will be the next betrothed. In another game, the ladies are placed between two mirrors. When the mirrors are in the right position, Belarusians believe that the ladies will see the face of Mr. Right.
9United States & Canada: North American Residents Dive into Sub-Zero Temperatures
On New Year's Day in various parts of Canada and the U.S., residents partake in a polar bear plunge. During the holiday, people gather in groups near freezing lakes and rivers and dive in. It's believed that any plunge which takes place close to midnight on December 31st will bring the diver good luck.
10Mexico: Carrying an Empty Suitcase Will Bring New Adventures
Are you yearning to travel? If you are, and you happen to be in Mexico on New Year's Eve, then grab a suitcase and walk around the block at the stroke of midnight. Mexicans believe that doing so will bring travel and adventure in the coming year. There's no need to pack; an empty suitcase will do.