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New Year Traditions around the World

Find out how the new year is celebrated around the world

December 31, 2021

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful celebration over the holidays and enjoyed ringing in 2022.

This time of year is steeped in cultural and family traditions. New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world bring together eating and drinking customs alongside rituals that are believed to bring good luck for the months ahead. Here is a round-up of some of the most fascinating practices from all over the globe.


Dating back to the time of the Vikings, the Scottish new year celebration, Hogmanay, is considered one of the most passionate and nowhere it is quite as spectacular as Edinburgh. With origins dating back to the Vikings, Hogmanay is celebrated with a torchlit procession followed by a firework display then ceilidh and live music in Princes Street Gardens. And of course, the Scots claim credit for Auld Lang Syne. Originally written by the national poet, Robert Burns, the song is now sung worldwide.


It is customary to eat lentils (lentilhas) and pomegranates (romãs) on Réveillon, the Brazilian New Year. Lentils bring good luck while pomegranates are associated with attracting wealth. Brazilians will often head to their favorite coastal city to celebrate on the beach and pay their respects to the sea goddess, Lemanjá.

How to say Happy New Year in Portuguese: Feliz Ano Novo!


As the clock strikes midnight, Spanish residents eat 12 grapes in swift succession with the belief being that this will inspire good luck for each of the coming months.

How to say Happy New Year in Spanish: ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

​Colombia and Ecuador

Inhabitants of such South American countries as Colombia and Ecuador take an empty suitcase for a walk around the block on New Year’s Eve in anticipation of lots of travel in the coming year. After two years of the pandemic impacting our travel, I’m sure that this is a tradition many of us will want to adopt!


Danes embrace the start of a new year by smashing crockery against the doors of their loved ones to banish any festering bad spirits. As the clock strikes midnight, they will then bound off a piece of furniture – “leaping” into the new year.

How to say Happy New Year in Danish: Hav et godt nytår!


Few nations have such a vibrant approach to the new year as Romania! Romanians will dress up as bears while dancing and playing musical instruments to ward away evil spirits. Furthermore, farmers will whisper to their weaker livestock to nurse them back to good health.

How to say Happy New Year in Romanian: Un an nou fericit!


The bells of Buddhist temples across Japan ring a total of 108 times on New Year's Eve in a ritual known as joya-no-kane. The first 107 dongs are struck in the lead up to midnight, with the 108th coinciding with midnight and symbolizing that any sins or worries from the past year are now expelled.

How to say Happy New Year in Japanese: Akemashite omedetou!


Although Indonesians do celebrate the Gregorian New Year, the Hindu island of Bali observes another important date. Nyepi, the day of silence, usually takes place in March and is a day reserved for silence, meditation, and fasting.

How to say Happy New Year in Balinese: Selamat Tahun Baru!

However you choose to spend the first day of 2022, I wish you all the best. Contact me if you’d like to celebrate New Year’s Eve in one of the countries listed above.

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