5 New Year’s traditions from around the world


Photo used with permission by Wikimedia/Anthony Quintano

Times Square New Year’s Eve 2023 was packed with thousands of people awaiting the arrival of the new year.

Josie Tollinger, Staff Writer

On New Year’s eve, many Americans came together with friends and family to ring in 2023. Some brave souls went to Times Square to count down and watch the ball drop when the clock hit 12. However, for most people in America they counted down from the comfort of their home. America’s New Year’s kiss is another tradition most look forward to. When the clock strikes 12 people look for their significant other and share a kiss to celebrate. Some might think that these are the only ways to celebrate this exciting holiday, however one might be surprised at the many different ways people around the world rang in their New year.

Brazil: Wearing all white
New years in Brazil consist of people dressing in all white clothing. This tradition originated from the Candomblé religion in Brazil, where people would dress in white during rituals, in hope to gain peace and a spiritual cleanse. Some also wear colored underwear which for them means extra luck during the year.

Spain: Eating 12 grapes in 12 seconds
If people were to travel to Spain for New Year’s they would see people staying at home and waiting for the clock to strike 12. It is crucial for the Spanish to eat 12 grapes, one at each stroke of the clock. For them this will bring them good luck, prosperity and happiness into the New year. The “twelve grapes” tradition comes from Spain, where it is called las doce uvas de la suerte (“The Twelve Lucky Grapes”). Another cool aspect of this tradition is that most Spaniards tune into the local coverage in Madrid so that it appears that everyone is eating their grapes and welcoming in “El año nuevo” (The New Year) together.

Italy: wearing red underwear:
If traveling to Italy for New Year’s, it is necessary to pack a pair of red underwear. Wearing red underwear on New Year’s guarantees luck and success for the New Year. Italians are so serious about this tradition to the point where right after Christmas stores are flooded with people trying to get their hands on a pair of red underwear.

Mexico: Homemade tamales
In Mexico eating tamales on New Years is one of the traditions Mexicans swear by. Tamales are corn masa in a filled shell stuffed with a variety of toppings such as beans, cheese, meat, veggies and their signature chili sauce. The yellow color of the corn on the tamales symbolizes golden wealth for the future. People often give this dish to family and friends as a symbol of family unity. This significant dish is eaten on New Year’s Eve for good luck and a prosperous year.

Denmark: Breaking old plates
Chucking plates doesn’t sound like something someone would do out of happiness or something celebratory. However, in Denmark throwing as much old dishware will grant luck for themselves and their loved ones. If ever visiting Denmark during the New Year be prepared to hear loud sounds of old dishware being shattered into millions of pieces. The more broken plates on their front porch, the more luck they will have in the New Year.
With all the traditions practiced in the world today, there are so many ways people celebrate this one holiday. Although these traditions are very different from each other they all have the same goal. Bringing family and friends together to welcome in the New Year and starting the New Year in the best way possible. Wearing red underwear, breaking plates, eating the 12 grapes, and dressing in white are just a few of the many ways people try to bring luck, peace and happiness in the upcoming year.