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Here’s How People Celebrate New Year’s Around The World

From breaking dishes to burning effigies to epic feasts, here are 11 awesome international New Year’s traditions.

Margo Gothelf and Sarah Burns


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Many countries have traditions and rituals that help welcome in the new year. In Spain, it's all about eating grapes for good luck, while in the Philippines, round fruits are the stars of the night. But some things seem to be constant, no matter where you’re from — celebrate with friends and family, eat well, and look forward with hope to the possibilities that the new year will bring!




If you've got an empty stomach and a big appetite, you'll be all in for France's New Year’s celebration, as they don't hold back when it comes to food. Many people in France hold a big feast called le réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestr, which is typically full of traditional and indulgent French food like oysters, escargot, and lobster. 



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In Colombia, potatoes aren't just for eating, they're also used for predicting the future on New Year's Eve. The night before the new year, it is customary to place three potatoes underneath a bed — one peeled, one unpeeled, and one half peeled. Grabbing the peeled one means financial problems could be in your future. The unpeeled potato represents an abundant fortune coming your way. And the half-peeled one leaves you somewhere in the middle. Better hope your potato grabbing skills are up to par! 

The Philippines



Filipino culture serves up a feast of round fruit (like apples, melons, and oranges) during the New Year's celebrations. The round shape of the fruits symbolizes a coin to imply a year of wealth and prosperity. With 12 courses of fruit, it is sure to be a very fruitful year!



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Grapes play a crucial role during New Year's Eve in Spain. Right before the clock strikes 12 — with just 12 seconds remaining on the clock — people eat 12 green grapes to bring them good luck in the new year. If you can't finish all of the grapes quickly enough, legend has it that bad luck will come your way. You might want to practice safe but speedy grape-eating before the big show if you’re celebrating New Year’s in Spain.




The Irish use bread to ward against bad luck in the new year by banging a loaf of bread against the walls of their homes. It's the one time of year where playing with your food is highly encouraged. 



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In Denmark, the more plates that get broken, the better! (On New Year’s Eve, that is. The rest of the year, breaking plates is frowned upon.) To celebrate the end of the year, Danes break dishes on the doorsteps of their family and friends. The broken dishes are thought to bring good luck into the new year.

Costa Rica


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As the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve in Costa Rica, it's a ritual to grab a suitcase and do a lap around the block. It is believed that the longer someone runs with the suitcase, the more they will travel in the year to come. This voyage around the block is very popular in many Latin American countries. 



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Say goodbye to your Christmas lights, and get ready for some onion decorations! During the New Year’s celebration in Greece, onions are hung on people's doorsteps the night of December 31 to promote a year of growth. After New Year's Day, you can go back to cooking with them.



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Leading up to midnight on New Year’s Eve, Ecuadorians prepare effigies to light up as the clock strikes 12. The effigies typically represent pop culture moments or political figures that sum up the year. As they burn, the effigies are supposed to leave all of the bad vibes in the previous year and allow everyone to move on to the next year with a fresh start. 



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Scotland takes New Year's Eve very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that they’ve given it a uniquely Scottish name: Hogmanay. Hogmanay includes many traditions, but the most important one comes at midnight: A dark-haired male must be the first to step foot in your household to make sure you have a year of good luck. Sometimes the dark-haired men come with gifts like salt, whisky, and shortbread to represent even more luck in the new year.  



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You may be snacking on pigs-in-a-blanket or mini pizza bagels on New Year's Eve, but in Japan, the main food of choice is a big bowl of soba noodles called toshikoshi soba. The dish, whose name means “year-crossing noodles,” is thought to give those who eat it a long and healthy life going into the new year. The buckwheat noodles that make up the dish are also super-resilient, which people associate with strength for the new year.