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10 fun New Year’s Eve traditions

My Scottish heritage tends to come to the fore every New Year’s eve, as I spend the day feverishly cleaning everything in sight. I’ve done this since I was a child in my cubby house, as I’ve always been superstitious that how you begin the year is how it will continue. Cultures around the world celebrate the coming of a new year with many traditions and superstitions. Here are just a few:


  1. England: The English believe that the first guest for the year brings fortune for them. He should be a male, should enter through the front door and bear some traditional gifts like a loaf of bread, drink for the head of the family or coal to light the fire.
  2. Denmark: Residents keep a pile of broken dishes in front of the door. People usually throw these on the friends’ doors during New Year. This symbolises friendship and brotherhood and they believe the person with the most broken dishes outside has the most friends.
  3. China: Every front door of a house is painted in red, which symbolises happiness and good fortune. They hide all the knives for the day so that no one cuts themself, because that may actually cut the entire family good luck for the coming year.




  1. Brazil: Brazilians believe that lentils signify wealth and prosperity, so they serve food items made up of the legume like soup or rice on the New Year. On New Year’s Eve, the priestesses dress up in blue and white for a ceremony celebrated for the water goddess. A sacrificial boat filled with jewellery, candles and flowers from the beach of Rio de Janeiro is pushed to the ocean that brings health, wealth and happiness for them.
  2. Germany: They pour molten lead into cold water and the shape that it takes predicts the future. Heart shapes symbolise marriage, round shapes denote good luck, anchor shapes tell that you need help and a cross signifies someone’s death.
  3. Wales: At the first toll of midnight the back door of the house is first opened and then immediately shut. This symbolises releasing the old year and locking out all the bad luck it brought. At the 12th toll of the clock, the door is re-opened to welcome the New Year will all its goodness, luck and prosperity.




  1. Japan: The celebrations start with decoration of the home to welcome luck and fortune. They clean the entire house, rid themselves of every financial liability, and resolve all issues before the New Year hits. Before midnight they ring 108 bells to show that the 108 troubles have been eliminated.
  2. Philippines: It is believed that every round thing attracts good luck and wealth, so they eat grapes, have coins and wear polka dotted clothes. They also throw coins as New Year begins to increase wealth and prosperity.
  3. Spain: The Spanish eat a grape at every toll of the clock during the New Year. This they believe will bring good luck and happiness for the coming 12 months.
  4. Puerto Rico: People throw buckets of water out of their window and also clean their homes properly. They believe this will clean out the bad spirits from the house.

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Phyllis Stylianou

Phyllis Stylianou is a journalist with 35 years’ experience as a reporter, sub-editor and editor. Writing is the great love of her life (after her family) – as is renovating old homes and building new ones (which she’s embarking on again!) So writing about everything to do with building, renovating and gardening is her passion.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.