New Year’s Eve is one of the quirkiest holidays for traditions and superstitions. With a whole coming year to commemorate in a variety of creative and cherished ways, people around the world eat special foods, don special clothes, engage in special activities and ring in the New Year with fervent hopes and wishes for good luck, love, prosperity and other blessings. Here are the top 10 New Year’s Eve traditions from around the globe.


10. Bonfires

In many places around the world, bonfires are lit to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. In Ecuador this includes burning effigies of people from the year gone by. In Brazil, Paulista Avenue is alight with bonfires at midnight. In a related celebration of fires and explosions, fireworks are frequently displayed to ring in the New Year.


9. New Year’s Bread

In Greece, a special bread called “Vasilopita” is served at midnight on New Year’s. A coin or charm is baked inside the bread. The bread is cut precisely at midnight and whoever gets the piece with the prize will have good luck in the coming year.


8. Presents

It’s not uncommon for gifts to be exchanged on New Year’s Eve. In France, they mark the occasion, called “le Réveillon”, with a feast of luxurious foods like fois gras and champagne, and sometimes gifts. In Turkey, gifts are exchanged during a feast of traditional Turkish foods.


7. Twelve Grapes

In Spain, it’s customary to eat twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Each grape represents a month of the year to come. The sweetness of each grape determines the nature of the month – sweet grapes represent good months, sour grapes represent difficult months.

Red Underwear

6. Dress Code

Around the world different people observe different customs of dress during New Year’s celebrations. In the Philippines they wear clothes with circles like polka dots. In Venezuela, people looking for love in the New Year wear red underwear. In Ecuador, yellow underwear is said to bring positivity to the New Year.


5. Superstitions

In the Philippines, throwing coins at midnight is said to encourage wealth. In Mexico, several superstitious traditions are observed – including taking luggage outside to bring good travels, and hanging sheep-shaped dolls on doorknobs for prosperity.

Watch Night

4. Watch Night

In several Christian sects, New Year’s Eve is known as Watch Night, when religious communities gather to give thanks and observe the night in prayer for blessings in the New Year. The custom originates in 1732, but was given particular significance among slaves in America in 1862, when they waited for January 1st, 1863, the dawn of Emancipation.


3. Champagne

Around the world it seems the most popular beverage on New Year’s Eve is champagne. All across Europe and in America the drink is customary, often accompanied by a toast. In Russia, however, a mixed drink of vodka, lime juice and tap water run at the stroke of midnight, called “dirty water”, is consumed to stave off bad luck.

New Years Kiss

2. The Kiss

It’s very common for people to kiss at midnight on New Year’s. This can be a romantic gesture, but it’s also a sign of greeting the New Year, as well as each other, and wishing the person you’re kissing a happy, healthy and lucky year. It can also signify wishing your kissing partner a year full of affection and warm ties to people.

Times Square Ball

1. The Drop

For over 100 years it’s been custom for a glittering ball to drop at Times Square in New York City. This is broadcast far and wide and may well be the best-known custom of dropping something at the stroke of midnight. A ball is also dropped in Hong Kong, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, San Antonio and Sacramento, California. But other places drop other things to mark the New Year. In Hershey, Pennsylvania, a giant Hershey Kiss is dropped. In Easton, Maryland, a crab is dropped. In Atlanta, Georgia, they drop a peach. In Brasstown, North Carolina, they drop a live opossum in a cage. In New Orleans, they drop a pot of gumbo.

What are some of your NYE Traditions?