Celebrating the New Year is among the few holidays commemorated around the world. But while the date may be the same for all, the traditions in the different countries are diverse, unique and fascinating.
The celebration of New Year's in all corners of the world is the prime ritual used to bring in the coming year. Here you will find some of the most curious traditions from around the world.
Denmark - The Danes literally jump into the New Year. At midnight, they all stand on chairs and when the moment comes at last, they all jump together into the new year. This jump into January brings luck and wards off evil spirits.
Spain - At exactly midnight on New Year's Eve, every Spaniard needs to stuff their mouth with 12 grapes for luck. Each grape represents a month of the new year to come. If even one grape is missing, then the corresponding month will be unlucky for them.
Central and South America - In countries such as Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela, it is custom for everyone to wear colorful underwear. Red and yellow colors are preferred - signs of love and good financial status.
Argentina - In Argentina, they bet on pink underwear on New Year's. The color is considered very special since it is a combination of red (the color of the devil) and white (the color of God). It can be found everywhere, even on store windows. On New Year's Eve, unmarried women are given pink underwear as gifts, to help them find the perfect man. Even so, in Argentina ALL women bet on pink when it comes to the color of underwear on New Year's Eve.
Estonia - An old tradition in the country dictates for people to eat 7 times on the 31st of December. This way, temptations during the coming year will be in the bag. Every person who eats 7 meals will also have the strength of 7 people. Nowadays, the tradition is followed by substituting the meals mainly with alcohol.
Scotland - New Year's celebrations there are called Hogmanay (new morning). Fire rituals are key there. They are most popular in the small fishing town of Stonehaven. The ceremony is carried out by several trained professionals who go around town, skillfully swinging balls of fire around themselves. These fireballs symbolize the sun. It is believed they ward off evil forces.
Right after midnight on New Year's Eve, the Scottish perform a ritual called first-foot. The first person to cross the threshold of the home needs to bring a gift - usually salt or whiskey, in order to bring luck to the household.
Finland - In Finland, they have the tradition of predicting events in the New Year using molten tin. It is poured into a container with water and predictions of the future are made based on the shapes that form.
Panama - On New Year's Eve there, a strange ritual, similar to voodoo, is performed. At midnight, dolls with the guise of famous personalities, called muñecos, are publicly burned in the holiday fire. This actually represents the year that has just passed and it is thought that it cleanses people of evil spirits, so that they may begin the new year feeling pure. It is believed that the participants are flattered by this honor given to them.