Top 10 New Year’s Eve traditions

Fireworks London It’s that time of year again when people start making plans for New Year’s celebrations to say goodbye to the old and welcome in the new. I thought this was the perfect time to discover how different cultures ring in the New Year. A lot of the traditions have one thing in common…food! One of our favourite traditions is from Spain where they eat twelve grapes at midnight. In this post we are sharing 10 interesting New Year’s traditions from all around the world. We’d love to hear your favourites and experiences in the comments! Champagne1. Spain The Spanish tradition is to eat a grape for each chime of the clock at Midnight on New Year’s Eve. Although, for most the task is impossible, resulting in everyone stuffing twelve grapes in their mouths whilst trying not to laugh. This is definitely a tradition that would turn into a competition in my household! 2. Greece In Greece, New Year’s Eve is also known as the Festival of St Basil, a silver or gold coin is baked inside a cake and whoever finds it will be lucky in the coming year – although you might need a dentist! 3. Ecuador In Ecuador it is thought that if you burn scarecrows filled with newspapers and wood you will scare away the bad luck for the New Year and destroy all the bad things that happened in the previous year. Oliebollen4. Netherlands New Year’s Eve is a big party in Holland every year. Most people spend the evening with friends or family, watch the famous ‘New Year’s Eve conferences’ and drink plenty of champagne while eating ‘Oliebollen’. Oliebollen literally means ‘oil balls’, which is a traditional Dutch pastry: deep-fried dough balls with raisins. 5. Estonia In Estonia it is believed that on New Year’s Eve people should eat 7, 9 or 12 meals for good luck. It is thought that if a man eats seven meals he will acquire the strength of seven men. Now that sounds like a New Year’s Eve challenge! 6. China Chinese New Year normally takes place around the end of January as it follows the lunar cycle. On New Year’s Day children are given red envelopes filled with money from their ancestors. The celebrations, including fireworks and feasts, usually last for 15 days until the middle of February. Maybe Chinese needs to be next on my list to learn! China New Year 7. Japan Buddhist Temples in Japan ring their bells 108 times to get rid of 108 different types of human weakness. They believe that ringing the bell will rid them of all their sins over the past twelve months. 8. Denmark In Denmark they throw old plates and glasses against the doors of their friends and family members to bring good luck to their loved ones. 9. Sicily An old Sicilian tradition is to eat Lasagna on New Year’s Eve as it is thought to bring good luck. Macaroni will bring sadness and any other type of pasta will bring bad luck! 10. Scotland In Scotland New Year’s Eve is also known as Hogmanay when the practice of first-footing takes place. This is the first person to cross the threshold of your house after midnight on New Year’s Eve. It is good luck for them to bring gifts which represent financial prosperity, food, flavour, warmth and good cheer. Do you know any more interesting or funny traditions from other countries? Share them in the comments! TIP: The best way to learn more about cultural traditions is by speaking the language of that country. Want to give it a try? Visit the Rosetta Stone site and try a free demo.



Charlotte is the Marketing Executive for the UK at Rosetta Stone Europe. She is from the UK, loves to travel and is currently learning Italian with Rosetta Stone.

Leave a reply