Eating grapes, wear polka dots or the burning of effigies may seem like a strange Christmas tradition for those who first hear about it, but for others it is a centuries-old tradition, writes Fodor’s Travel. Here are 12 of the most bizarre and unexpected traditions followed by people from different countries of the world.
Some of the customs of new year’s eve, such as champagne, fireworks and a countdown in the last seconds of the year, seem to be universal, many countries have their own unique ways of celebrating. Let’s take a little “around the world” together with these new year’s traditions. Make a wish — and a happy New year!
12 grapes of luck
In Spain and some Latin American countries, one of the Christmas traditions is to eat 12 grapes, one for each month of next year — thereby securing prosperity. Sounds easy? Here’s the problem: you need to eat one grape with each strike of the chimes or bells at midnight. A favorite way for Spaniards — at first bite, and then swallowed whole halves of grapes. A glass of sparkling drink can help this case. The tradition dates back to 1909, when grape growers in Alicante had proposed this idea to sell more grapes after an exceptional harvest.
In Latin American countries such as Mexico, Bolivia and Brazil, color of your panties will determine what you will have a year, so choose carefully! The legend says that red will bring love and romance and the yellow lead to wealth and success. White means peace and harmony, and well — being and nature. In Turkey red panties also handed out as gifts for good luck and the promise of productive new year.
Who doesn’t want to know what the can bring next year? The people of Germany melt small pieces of lead in a spoon over a candle and then poured the liquid lead into cold water. Fancy figures resulting from Bleigießen (lead casting) must show that will bring the coming year. If the lead forms a ball, good luck is heading your way, the shape of the crown means wealth; the cross means death, and the star will bring happiness.
On the eve of the Danish New year to throw plates and dishes at the front door friends and neighbors. It’s something like a competition for popularity, as more than a heap of broken porcelain the next morning at your doorstep, the more friends and good luck you will have next year. In a time when most people live in apartment houses in the cities, this tradition is dying, but it helps to have fun to those who still stick to it. One custom in Denmark is jumping off chairs at midnight, symbolizing a leap into the New year, it must be done until the clock strikes 12 times.
The burning of an effigy
In Ecuador, people set dolls stuffed animals, like politicians, pop stars or other well-known figures to light them on new year’s night. Burning año viejo (old year) is designed to destroy all the bad things in the past year and be clean for the new. Effigies made of old clothes stuffed with newspaper or sawdust, on top of wearing a mask. The Ecuadorian tradition may have originated in Guayaquil in 1895, when the city was an outbreak of yellow fever, and coffins, filled with clothes of dead, burned for purification.
Round foods and wear polka dot
The Philippines start the new year — about money. Local residents believe that the environment itself round things (to represent coins) will bring money or good fortune. As a result, all things wear polka dots and eat round foods. To truly push your Luck in your direction, the coins should be stored in the pockets and continue to be associated, considering that the money continues to flow.
The first step
In Scottish folklore “the first step”, also known as quaaltagh or qualtagh is the first person that crosses the threshold of the house after midnight. It is believed that tall dark man with gifts such as coins, coal, grain, salt and whiskey, will bring good luck into the house. The tradition probably dates back to the Viking times, when the tall blond strangers (usually armed with axes and swords) at the door had caused trouble, and in some places “the first step” blonde men are still considered unlucky.
“Done with it” is the motto in Naples, where people throw out everything from toasters to refrigerators, from their private balconies. Getting rid of old things symbolizes a new beginning of the year. To prevent serious injury, most of the locals throw small and soft objects, although for travellers visiting Naples, you will still want to follow what may fall on their heads (incidentally, the same custom is practiced in Johannesburg, South Africa).
The spirits of these animals
Romania is a country rich in tradition. On the eve of the New year, especially in rural areas, are dancing with masquerade and ceremonies of death and rebirth. The dancers are dressed in furs, and wooden masks depicting goats, horses or bears, and then dancing from house to house to ward off evil spirits. Dance bear is the most popular. According to the pre-Christian folklore, if someone’s home will bear, it will bring prosperity, health and good fortune.
A thousand kisses
Venice is romantic at any time of the year, but New year’s eve in Piazza San Marco, tens of thousands of locals and tourists gather for the fireworks, light show (with incident light “hearts”) and “kisses in Venice”. An evening dedicated to love and your loved ones, so celebrate with due care and welcome the new year with a happy heart.
The descent of potatoes
Country: USA, Idaho
With fewer traditions, but with higher technology, the inhabitants of the city of Boise for the fifth time will celebrate the new year, dangling from the sky a giant potato. More than 40,000 spectators coming to see the illuminated inside a 400-pound (180-kilogram) potato “GlowTato”. Other places for a similar tradition in New year’s eve in Brasstown, NC (possum down here), Bethlehem, PA (200-pound or 90-pound marshmallow marshmallow) and Port Clinton, Ohio (giant fish named Wally Wiley).
At midnight, Buddhist temples throughout Japan ringing their bells 108 times to dispel the 108 evil passions that all men have, according to tradition. The Japanese believe that the ringing of bells Joyanokane will purify them from sins of the past year. Traditionally, the last day of the year 107 ringing of bells, and in the new year — the 108th. Many people eat buckwheat noodles called soba toshikoshi, on the eve of the New year, to symbolize the desire for long life.