The coming of a new year is often accompanied by a great deal of customs and superstition. Even though in different cultures people welcome a new year differently, celebrations are almost always meant to bring more happiness, prosperity, love and good luck in the coming year. With New Year’s upon us, here’s a look at some most unusual good luck rituals from around the world.
There’s a recurring theme of visiting graveyards on major holidays in many cultures. But Chile is the only country that took this tradition on a whole new level. Chilean families do not only visit cemeteries for a New Year’s Eve mass, but set up chairs next to the gravesides of their deceased relatives and wait with the dead for the new year to come.
Once the church bells strike midnight in Austria all radio and TV stations start playing “The Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss II. Austrians at parties, in their homes, and on the streets begin waltzing together welcoming the new year with a collective dance.
Filipinos know that circles make the world go round and that’s why on New Year they keep everything round, from wearing outfits with circular patterns and polka dots to eating round food and fruit. And why shouldn’t they? Especially when circles representing the roundness of coins are believed to bring good fortune and prosperity to the household.
Dropping and breaking a dish is considered a bad luck in many cultures, but if you brake that same dish in Denmark on New Year, it’ll have a completely opposite effect. Throughout the year, Danes save their old dishes only to smash them at the front door of their neighbors and friends on New Years. Loud and destructive way of welcoming the New Year by breaking plates symbolizes good luck. In a kind of neighborhood popularity contest, the family with the most broken china piled on their doorstep can boast having the most friends.
Central and South America: What’s the color of your underwear?
The color of your underwear should never be taken lightly; especially on New Year’s Eve. In many Central and South American countries, your luck in the new year depends on the color of underwear you’re wearing at the stroke of midnight. For those who are seeking luck in their love life, Mexicans suggest wearing red underwear. Bright yellow undies on the other hand are supposed to increase your wealth and fortune. Some people say that it brings even more luck if the underwear is received as a New Year gift.
Spain: Counting down the seconds
In Spain, people welcome the New Year by eating 12 grapes. Revelers gather in major squares and once they start countdown the last 12 seconds of the year they gobble one grape per second. If all 12 grapes are eaten by the time the clock stops chiming each month of the New Year will bring them good luck.
Latin America: Hungry for an adventure
New Year in Thailand occurs during the hottest season of the year and people celebrate it by splashing water at each other. This custom originates from the tradition of a cleansing ritual when fragrant water is poured on Buddha images and then on family members to help bring good luck.
China: Paint it Red