Around the world, New Year celebrations are usually festive and warm. However, in certain countries, these traditions can turn out to be the strangest and funniest. So tie up your garlands and get ready to see the weirdest ways to celebrate the New Year around the globe.

Americans celebrate the New Year with festive customs such as counting down to midnight, watching fireworks, and singing “Auld Lang Syne.” New Year’s Eve parties are a popular way to celebrate, often with decorations, food, and music. Many people make resolutions to improve themselves, while others enjoy watching special programs such as the Times Square Ball Drop. Other traditions include the Polar Bear Plunge, a winter tradition in which people join a body of water despite the low temperature, and regional traditions like eating black-eyed peas for luck.

Compared to other countries, Asians celebrate New year with fireworks, dancing, singing parties and much more. For example, in Japan, New Year is an important holiday to celebrate with family. It begins at the end of December with a big cleaning in order to purify the house. The house is usually decorated with symbolic decorations such as “kadomatsu”, which is a lucky charm. The Japanese also take the opportunity to settle their debts. On the evening of December 31, the family traditionally enjoys a delicious hot soup with long, thin noodles which symbolize longevity. Before midnight, the Japanese witness the 108 gong sounds, which announce the arrival of the new year. And finally, families go to bed to watch the first sunrise of the year together, called “hatsuhinode”. We can also take as an example the country of Thailand. In fact, during New Year, Thai sprinkle water on the Buddhas with respect, but they also sprinkle their friends with great bursts of laughter. It is hoped that the water will ward off bad luck and purify the loved ones. 

Along with people worldwide, Europeans welcome the New Year with revelry and special foods thought to bring luck, health, and prosperity. In France, they eat a feast on New Years Eve, “Le Réveillon de Saint-Sylvestre”, that consists of traditional French foods such as pancakes, smoked salmon, foie gras, oysters, escargot and many other dishes. While this may seem strange, it is quite normal compared to Irish people who celebrate the new year by hitting walls or doors with bread to get rid of evil spirits. It is even stranger in Belgium and Romania where if farmers succeed in communicating with their cows, they get good luck for the year. In Denmark, people climb on top of chairs and literally “jump” into the New Year to bring good luck. As for Italians, they wear red underwater with a hope that they would conceive in the coming year because they think red is associated with fertility. In Estonia, they believe that eating seven, nine or even twelve meals a day will bring them good luck. It gets even stranger than this; as soon as the clock hits midnight, people of Turkey sprinkle salt at the doorsteps, it is said to bring good luck to them.

The New Year traditions are one of the most important parties. They bring families and friends together to spend quality time and have fun. Each country celebrates them in their own way, but they all refer to one and the same value: the hope for a better year. 🎉


Article Written by: K2 students Hafsa, Tawba, Yousra and Doha!

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