New Year’s Traditions from All Over the World

New Year’s Day is more than just the first day of a brand-new year – a whole lot more! It’s a time to put the old year behind us and celebrate the prospect of all the wonderful things that await us!

The thing that makes New Year’s celebrations so fun is that everyone celebrates differently. Sure, most everyone celebrates by indulging in delicious food, refreshing drinks, crazy superstitions and wonderful traditions. But not everyone does their New Year’s celebrating exactly the same. In fact, there are countless traditions people participate in that are fun, unique and truly memorable!

Here’s a list of some fun and interesting New Year’s traditions from all around the world!

Just as you would imagine, people in Amsterdam spend New Year’s Day partying, and they won’t be seen without a glass of Champagne in one hand and an apple fritter called appelflappen in the other.

Argentines eat beans on New Year’s Day. Gobbling down lentils will increase their chances of keeping their current job or landing a new gig in the coming year.

Since this is the Land Down Under, Australia’s temperatures are exactly opposite of ours during New Year’s; they’re warm. Our Aussie friends fire up the grill and toss sausage, steak and lamb on the barbie!

Did you know that pigs represent prosperity and progress? Well, if you ask any Austrian, they’d tell you the same thing, which is why Austrians serve roasted suckling pig on New Year’s Day.

New Year’s wishes aren’t only for the Belgian people: they’re for the Belgian livestock, too! The farmers in Belgium wish a happy and healthy new year to their animals.

Bolivians will go over and under anything to be blessed with luck in the coming year. They hang straw dolls over their front door and wear yellow underwear for a year of money or red underwear for a year of love.

Brazilians who live near the beach jump over seven waves in addition to making seven wishes. For those who live too far away from the beach, they only are required to hop on their right foot three times. It pays to live near the beach!

Just like the Argentines, Chileans eat lentils once the clock hits twelve, with the hopes that the meal will provide them with wealth in the upcoming year.

Colombians run laps around their houses with suitcases in hand, preparing themselves for a prosperous and whimsical year of traveling and adventures.

In attempt to keep the bad spirits away throughout the coming year, the Danes stand up on a chair and jump off at the stroke of midnight.

Ecuadorians are more concerned with forgetting the previous year than they are looking forward to the new year with the tradition of Año Viejo, or “Old Year.” They will burn scarecrows that represent unpleasant memories from the previous year. So before it’s “In with the new,” they make very sure that it’s “Out with the old”!

The French eat pancakes on the morning of New Year’s Day, so if you like celebrating with breakfast foods, you better book your flight now!

Donuts are on the most popular items on Germany’s New Year’s menu. Some are filled with liquor or some, but others are filled with mustard or mayo! Pick a sweet donut, and you’re in luck for the coming year. Pick a not-so-sweet donut, and you’ll be cursed with rotten luck!

Grecians hang onions from their front doors to ring in the new year, so you could say that they start the new year with a tear in their eye.

Italians take a break from pasta for a day and eat cotechino e lenticchie with lo zampone, which translates to “savory pork sausage with pig hoof and lentils.”

With straw ropes hung from the door frame to keep out the evil spirits, the Japanese eat bowls of buckwheat noodles called toshikoshi soba.

Mexicans bake loaves of sweet bread, or pan dulce, and hide a coin or a metal pendant inside the bread, and whoever it is that finds the coin in their piece is blessed with good luck for the rest of the year.

The Dutch sip the bubbly and snack on oliebollen, a fried pastry that’s filled with apples, currants and raisins and is powdered with a dash of confectioner’s sugar.

Peruvians rely on the lucky potatoes for their upcoming fortunes. Three potatoes, one peeled, one unpeeled and one half peeled, are set randomly underneath either a chair or a couch. People then reach underneath to select a potato.

If you select the peeled potato, you’ll have money coming your way. A half-peeled potato signifies a financially stable year, and the unpeeled potato signifies that you’ll be in dire straits moneywise!

Filipinos hold to the belief that round-shaped things symbolize prosperity, so their homes and tables are adorned in round fruits.

New Year’s caroling is a big tradition in Portugal, even after Christmas passes. However, the snowtime singers aren’t rewarded with smiles and applause from the doorway. They’re given coins and sweet holiday treats!

Puerto Rico
While car horns, boat whistles, church bells and drums are making all sorts of noises, Puerto Ricans toss pails of water out the window to ward off the “evil eye,” an evil spirit that brings bad luck. In another tradition that sends bad luck packing, they will stand on the sea shore at midnight and fall backwards into the waves as the clock strikes twelve.

Romanians toss coins into nearby rivers in hopes of good luck and good fortune in the coming year.

At the stroke of twelve, Russians drink to the New Year with Champagne … and ashes. Everyone writes a wish on a piece of paper, burns it and then drops the ashes into a glass of Champagne. Bottoms up!

While we here in America see the New Year represented by a baby, the Scots envision the new year in the form of a dark-haired man. Hogmanay, which means “first footing,” is a tradition that includes a dark-haired man being the first person to step foot into a neighbor’s house during the new year, bringing along with him shortbread cookies, whisky and good luck.

South Korea
Each member of the family bows to the elders in a tradition called Sebae. The elders will then give out gifts to those who participated in Sebae, which are usually individual envelopes with small sums of money in each one. All this is done while a rice strainer is hanging from the door frame, filtering out all the bad luck.

Sweden is known for serving rice pudding on New Year’s. Hidden in the rice pudding is a single almond, and whoever finds the almond in their bowl of pudding is blessed with good fortune.

At Cheddar’s, we like dropping scoops of ice cream onto our delectable desserts such as our Hot Fudge Cake Sundae and our Apple Crisp, but on New Year’s Day, the Swiss drop their scoops of ice cream on the ground!

United States
There is one tradition that those of us in the South always remember: eating black-eyed peas! Not to be confused with the popular music group, we eat a helping of black-eyed peas in hopes of a prosperous year to come!

Then in the Northern states, people eat cabbage in hopes of a prosperous New Year!

Come get your New Year’s Eve party started at your local Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen! Sure, you may not have been able to spend the evening in Times Square at the biggest New Year’s party around, but you can start the new year off right with a Top Shelf Long Island Iced Tea or our Cheddar’s Long Island Iced Tea and drink to the new year!

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