New Year's traditions aim to bring luck worldwide

A crowd of people, gathered in Madrid, eats

A crowd of people, gathered in Madrid, eats 12 grapes to celebrate the New Year. (Getty) (Credit: A crowd of people, gathered in Madrid, eats 12 grapes to celebrate the New Year. (Getty))

We all know about the Times Square ball drop on New Year's Eve, so here is a look at New Year's traditions from around the world:

At the stroke of midnight, many Spaniards ring in the new year by eating 12 grapes, one at each chime of the clock. Each grape signifies good luck for one month in the coming year, and everyone tries to finish their grapes by the 12th chime. The tradition, which became widespread in 1909, is capped with a toast of sparkling wine or cider.

The Scottish New Year's tradition of "first-footing" is a custom in which a person crosses the threshold of a home after midnight, carrying a gift for good luck in the coming year. However, the first-footer must not be inside when the clock strikes midnight - simply stepping out right before midnight and stepping back in doesn't count.

Many people in Denmark ring in the new year by jumping off chairs in unison at midnight. The jump is said to rid a person of whatever negative spirits he's carrying and usher in a brand new year of good luck.

If you're looking for good luck in the new year south of the border, don your brightest underwear when you ring in 2013. Countries such as Bolivia and Brazil consider wearing special underwear on New Year's Eve a sure way to bring in a good year.

The tradition of burning life-size dummies known as año viejos dates back to the early 1800s. The dummies are mostly of well-known figures, but could also be likenesses of estranged relatives. Igniting these effigies means you've put the last year in the past and intend to move forward.

A long-standing Finnish tradition involves predicting major events of the coming year by dipping molten tin into a pot of water and then deciphering what shape comes out. Hearts can mean a wedding and animals can mean prosperity. The practice is also common in Germany and other countries across Europe.


advertisement | advertise on newsday

advertisement | advertise on newsday