As the year starts to come to an end, different countries around the world ranging from Scotland, Denmark, Ireland, Brazil, Italy and Puerto Rico welcome the new year with unique customs and traditions focused on promoting health, money and happiness in 2020.
Below are 7 of the most unique New Years customs and traditions that are celebrated on New Years Eve around the world.
1. Don’t start off on the wrong foot in Scotland
In Scotland, it is essential that in each home, as bell chimes announce the new year, that each person enters the threshold of a door with their right foot. In fact, if there is a celebration at someone’s house, one of the most beloved guests is let out to enter the house again with their right foot as they carry a handful of gifts and succulent meats as a way to promote positivity in the new year.
2. Brake plates on the doors in Denmark
In Denmark, especially in the coastal towns, it is customary to continue carrying out a practice that dates back to Viking times. When the New Year arrives, the Danes take old dishes from their houses, go out into the streets, and throw them hard against the doors of their best friends and neighbors. It is a way to invoke good luck and is used as a way to measure the amount of acceptance that each individual has within the community. For example the more broken dishes at the entrance of a house, the more wealth, health and love they will receive in the new year.
3. Round figures give off good luck in the Philippines
In the Philippines during New Year’s Eve, women often attract good luck by using circles and round figures during New Years, such as coins, to help promote health and economic prosperity in the new year. On Dec. 31, women wear dresses with polka dots and have pockets full of coins that jingle and make noise in conjunction with 12 bell chimes that symbolize the start of the new year. In addition, during dinner, families usually put 12 round fruits on the dinner table to promote overall prosperity.
4. Celebrate with family and bread in Ireland
Ireland is a country where superstitions are a daily occurrence, especially during New Years celebrations. On New Year’s Eve, select windows and doors are left open so that deceased loved ones can enter with complete freedom and celebrate the new year with their families. Another holiday tradition includes throwing bits of bread against the walls to ward off bad omens and promoting good luck by having a tall man with dark hair enter the threshold of the house at the start of the new year. However, if the man entering the home has red hair, it would attract bad luck.
5. Celebrate the New Year by the sea in Brazil
In much of Brazil, it is hot during Christmas, so on the last night of the year, people celebrate on the beach dressed in white, as a way to symbolize the concept of purity. As the new year begins, Brazilians jump over the waves of the sea seven times – the number 7 is a sacred number that unites the spiritual world with the human world, and also represents the Holy Trinity and terrestrial elements. In addition, small boats adorned with candles and flowers are left behind in the water. If the boats manage to go out to sea, the person who placed the boat will have a year of good luck.
6. Red underwear and lentils in Italy
In Italy, to celebrate the New Year, it is customary for men and women to wear red underwear. Its origin dates back to the Middle Ages, a time when fear and prohibitions prevailed. The red color was related at the time with demons and witchcraft, however as time passed the color red has become a symbol of life and good luck.
In addition to their clothing choices, Italians also eat cotechino and lenticchie (a type of cold cuts and lentils) on New Year’s Eve to attract fortune in the new year.
7. A night dedicated to cleaning in Puerto Rico
As soon as bell chimes ring throughout the night symbolizing the new year, Puerto Ricans throw buckets of water through the windows to clean their homes to get rid of bad energy and any problems from last year.
Also, many families clean their homes on December 31 to start the year off with good luck. ■