Celebrate the New Year with These Traditions from Around the World

Even if we can’t all celebrate the coming New Year at the same time (damn you, time zones!), we can all learn from each other (read: steal) the best ways to ring in 2016. Around the world there are a variety of New Year’s traditions that can add some spice to the tried-and-true celebratory pastimes like drinking champagne, counting down from ten, drinking more champagne, and making out furiously with strangers who are also drinking champagne. Great, now I’m thirsty. Champagne, anyone?

Consider celebrating the New Year with one of these worldly customs.

Travel Broadens the Mind…And Tones the Muscles

A New Year’s tradition in Columbia has people run around the block with an empty suitcase. The thinking goes like this: travel broadens the mind, so it’d be good to make sure the coming year will bring lots of opportunities for it. The more you run with your empty suitcase, the more you’ll travel in that year–or so the tradition goes.

We're not sure if these things count.
We’re not sure if these things count.

Shattered Dreams

In Denmark, broken dishes are a status symbol. Tradition says that the amount of shattered dishes outside of a person’s home on New Year’s day not only determines how many friends you’ll have in 2016, it also determines how lucky you’ll be. So for your own sake, break a plate or two.

You see a mess. I see friendship.
You see a mess. I see friendship.

12 Hungry Men

In Estonia, tradition suggests one eat 12 meals on New Year’s eve to impart the strength of 12 men with you for the new year. Now, this might sound like the most fattening New Year’s tradition ever, but people aren’t expected to finish the meals. There’s always plenty left out for the ancestral spirits to enjoy.

Unfortunately, tradition does NOT allow you to substitute the 12 meals with one really, really big hamburger.
Unfortunately, tradition does NOT allow you to substitute the 12 meals with one really, really big hamburger.

You may also enjoy these related stories from our archives:

The Best Quotes to Ring in the New Year

Facebook Offering Users The Chance To Auto-Post New Year’s Eve Messages


Timothy Bertrand
Writer and journalist living in the Houston, Texas area. Follow me for breaking news, editorials, pictures of cats doing human activities, and other such content from around the web.


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