8 New Year traditions world over

From smashing dishes on a friend's porch to timed grape tasting, here are some traditions

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Image Credit: Istock
New Year is a time of letting go of the past year's struggles and animosities to embrace the prospect of a happier year ahead

1. 12 grapes – Spain

Eat one grape each for the 12 tolls of midnight to welcome 2016 like a true Spaniard. This tradition is believed to have been popularized in 1909 by farmers in Alicante as a way to dispose of surplus grapes from an uncharacteristically large harvest that year.

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2. Let it go – Italy

For New Year, Italians throw their old crockery and even furniture out through the window at midnight symbolizing letting go of the past year while making way for better things in the New Year. We can totally imagine doing this, singing Demi Lovato’s ‘Let it go!’

Singing the song may help you face the cold that will bother you anyway as it is also customary to leave the doors and windows open on New Year’s day to let good spirits in while the cold draft wafts the evil spirits out.

3. 108 chimes to midnight – Japan

The Japanese ring in the New Year not with 12 chimes but with 108 chimes from bells in temples and shrines across Japan. The belief is that the chimes help man overcome 108 earthly temptations as he proceeds into the new year and moves closer to ‘nirvana’ or salvation.

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4. Drink your wish – Russia

Write your wish down on a small sheet of paper, burn it and then drop the ashes into your glass of bubbly or grape. Have your drink right before midnight and your wish will come true in the new year.

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5. Best foot in – Scotland

The first person to step into your house after the clock strikes 12 could very well determine your family’s New Year fortune. It is believed that children being epitomes of innocence make good first-footers or look for a tall dark-haired man. Women and blond haired men will have to wait outside until someone can bring good luck in.

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6. Dress in white and honour Iemanja – Brazil

Everyone dresses in white which stands for peace and prosperity and if you intend to celebrate the new year in Brazil, be sure to carry something white. All along the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, people gather with small baskets of flowers and gifts for the ocean goddess of fertility and motherhood, Iemanja. 

The gifts are set adrift. If the baskets don't come back, they are believed to have been accepted by the goddess and your new year will prosper.

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7. Smash 'em all – Denmark

A heap of smashed plates on your doorstep would not mean anything good unless you were in Denmark in time for New Year’s Eve. People collect breakable dishes and smash them on the front porch of their friends’ houses; so the bigger the heap, the more liked you are. That thought probably helps while cleaning up later on.

8. Walk with a suitcase - Chile

In Chile, taking a walk around the block with an empty suitcase before midnight is believed to make travel dreams in the new year come true.

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