10 Countries with The Weirdest New Year Celebrations Ever!

  • Throwing Fire Around In Edinburgh
  • new year in spain
  • New Year In Colombia Image
  • Jumping Waves In Brazil Image
  • Lucky Number Of Meals In Estonia Image
  • Dancing In A Bear’s Skin In Romania
  • Collecting Round Things in the Philippines Image
  • Burning Scarecrows in Ecuador Image
  • breaking plates in denmark

How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve? Party, wishing friends, dance, music and of course, booze? That’s what most of us do but not so in Scotland, where New Year’s, or Hogmanay as it is called there is the day when people parade on the street throwing great balls of fire around. Definitely not for the faint hearted! We’ve curated a list of 7 countries that celebrate New Year’s Eve in such weird ways, you’ll really sit up and wonder. Let’s proceed!

  1. Stuffing Their Mouths Full of Grapes at Midnight In Spain
new year in spain

new year in spain

Grapes are good for your health, and you better believe it. On NYE, at the stroke of midnight, superstitious folk in Puerta del Sol in Madrid stand ready with a glass of cava in one hand and 12 huge grapes in the other. For every stroke of the clock, they stuff a large grape into their mouth. They must chew that grape and get it out of the way before stuffing the next grape in at the next stroke of the clock. Apparently, it’s good luck to chew it all and be done by the time the clock strikes midnight in full.

  1. Colombia – Go Running Around the Area With A Suitcase
new year in colombia

new year in colombia

Colombians love travel and to ensure that the New Year brings plenty of travel with it, they run around the block with a suitcase in hand. One just hopes it’s an empty suitcase, but knowing the Colombians, it’s likely loaded with cash or something else. The best part is, the suitcase-runner has to be back at the starting point by the last stroke of midnight. We think the runner would have more luck if he took the suitcase and decided to travel to Abu Dhabi or Dubai with it!

  1. Breaking Plates For New Year – Denmark

breaking plates in denmark

The Danes celebrate New Year in several weird ways. For one, they jump off a chair in front of a loved one’s door to wish them luck. And then they smash plates against the front door of the same loved one. You might think that smashing things against someone’s door would be considered bad luck but it’s the reverse in Denmark. In fact, people collect chipped plates and glasses all year so they can break them on New Year’s Eve. What’s more, the one who has the most shards of ceramic and glass at their front door are the most popular! Wonder who cleans it all up?

  1. Dancing In A Bear’s Skin In Romania
  2. Dancing In A Bear’s Skin In Romania

A raw or cured bear skin? We don’t know for sure, but a real bear skin, with the head intact and everything. This ritual takes place between Christmas and New Year; it’s supposed to ward off evil spirits. On NYE, superstitious Romanians parade on the streets and the ‘bear skin’ participants put on the skin, roll over and ‘die’ before being ‘resurrected’ again. This ritual is supposed to signify the coming of spring!

  1. Throwing Fire Around In Edinburgh

Throwing Fire Around In Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital sees NYE celebrated in a whole another way. On December 30, about 10,000 revelers parade on the streets holding lit torches.  They literally create a river of fire that streams from the Parliament Square to Calton Hill. Bagpipers and drummers walk in step with the fire holders. It gets really funny and a tad dangerous when the Scots, fuelled by their ‘wee’ drams all day, start throwing their fire torches around to banish the cold and bring in the warmth of spring. The Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh are even more fun than a New Year Party in Singapore!

  1. Jumping Waves In Brazil
Jumping Waves In Brazil

Jumping Waves In Brazil

Brazilians believe in many strange things. One of them is that if a person jumps seven waves in succession, he or she will get only good luck in the coming year. You do it while wearing white, you bring peace. The best way to get some luck and some divine blessings is to jump the waves holding a flower bouquet and then throw into the ocean as an offering to Yemoja, the goddess of the seas.

  1. Lucky Number Of Meals – Feasting Multiple Times In Estonia
Lucky Number Of Meals In Estonia

Lucky Number Of Meals In Estonia

Are you a foodie? Then you should head to Estonia for New Year’s Eve, where it is believed that eating a certain number of meals on NYE brings good luck. So how many meals do you think you can consume in a day? Estonians consider the numbers seven, nine, and 12 the luckiest. This means the eater will earn the strength of that many men in the New Year. Here’s the escape hatch though; you’re not required to finish every morsel on your plate. You can leave a few bits behind to please the ancestral spirits and keep your digestive process from imploding.

  1. Burning Scarecrows in Ecuador

Burning Scarecrows in Ecuador

Ecuador, New Year is celebrated by setting paper-filled scarecrows at midnight in every field. While it must be like St. Fawkes day multiplied a zillion times, here’s something really strange. Ecuadorians believe that hoarding photographs from the previous year brings bad luck. So on NYE, at the stroke of midnight, they burn all their memories of the past year, and enter the new one with a clean slate. We really don’t know what to say.

  1. Collecting Round Things in the Philippines

Collecting Round Things in the Philippines

The Filipinos believe that everything should be round to represent coins which mean wealth. It’s all about the cash, apparently. So round bread is baked, round fruits are collected and displayed and only round clothes are worn on NYE. Anything and everything round – we’re thinking the Filipinos should visit Abu Dhabi and pick up the Aldar headquarters building in Al Raha! It’s perfectly round!

  1. Wearing And Displaying Colored Underwear In South America

The color of your underwear determines your level of luck in the coming year, or so some South American countries believe. If you wear red underwear, you’ll find love. Gold represents wealth, and white signifies peace. You can display your colored underwear outside on a line if you want to beget more luck.


Our world is full of strange and appealing customs and rituals when it comes to New Year celebrations. How about instituting a few of your own special rituals? What do you plan on doing for New Year in 2017? Get with your family and make your own annual tradition of travel and visit one of these fascinating countries each year. Wouldn’t that be great?

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