Updated 03:51 AM EDT, Fri, Apr 16, 2021

New Year's Eve 2014: Oddest New Year's Eve Traditions From Around the World

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In the U.S., New Year's Eve means popping champagne, watching the Times Square ball drop and hoping to find someone to smooch at the stroke of midnight. But other countries around the world hold traditions that are very different from those in the U.S. In some countries it is customary to eat fruit at midnight, while others throw around household objects. 

Here are a list of some interesting New Year's Eve traditions from around the world: 

1. Japan

The Japanese ring in the New Year by wearing a costume of the next year's zodiac animal (2014 is the year of the horse) to a local temple, where bells chime 108 times, which is a sacred number. 

2. South Africa 

In downtown Johannesburg, people literally embrace the old adage "out with the old, in with new" by throwing old appliances out their windows. 

3. Denmark 

Danes celebrate New Year's Eve by throwing old plates and glasses against the doors of relatives and friends' homes. They also stand on chairs and jump off of them together at the stroke of midnight. Jumping into the New Year is supposed to do away with bad spirits and bring good luck. 

4. Finland 

The Finnish have perhaps one of the oddest traditions: they predict the coming year by casting molten tin into water and interpreting the shape it takes after hardening. A heart or ring shape means someone will get married in the new year; a ship means someone will travel; and a pig shape means abundance and lots of food. 

5. Panama 

In Panama, effigies of political figures and celebrities, called "muñecos," are burned in New Year's bonfires. The effigies represent doing away with the old year, and setting them on fire is meant to drive off evil spirits. 

6. Scotland 

The Scottish enjoy the Hogmanay celebration, which is when people practice "first-footing," i.e. when the first person to cross the threshold of a person's home in the new year brings a gift for luck. Whiskey is the most common gift. On New Year's Eve, Scots also hold bonfire ceremonies. One of the most notable ones takes place in the fishing village of Stonehaven, where townsmen parade while swinging fireballs on poles, which symbolize the sun to purify the coming year.

7. Chile 

Chileans eat a spoonful of lentils at midnight to have a year of work and money. They also sweep their homes to remove bad energy. 

8. Spain 

In Spain, people eat a grape at each bell strike at midnight to ensure prosperity. 

9. Russia 

Russians ring in the New Year by writing down a wish on a piece of paper, burning it, throwing it into a glass of champagne and drinking it before 12:01. 

10. Philippines 

In the Philippines, round shapes representing coins are thought to symbolize prosperity in the coming year. Therefore, Filipino families display round fruits on New Year's Eve. Like in Spain, Filipinos eat 12 fruits in midnight, and often also use grapes. Some also wear polka dots on New Year's Eve for luck. 

11. Colombia 

Colombians walk around their block with empty suitcases to hopefully have a year filled with travel. 

12. Belarus 

In Belarus they celebrate the tradition of Kaliady, in which unmarried women play games to see who will get married in the next year. In one game, a pile of corn is placed before each woman and a rooster is let go. Whichever pile the rooster reaches first tells who will get married first. In another game, a married woman hides items around her house for her unmarried friends to find. The woman who finds a ring will marry a handsome husband, and a woman who finds bread will marry a rich one. 

13. Brazil 

In Brazil, it is customary to wear white, as well as special underwear. Wearing special underwear is also done on New Year's Eve in Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela. In Sao Paulo and La Paz, Brazil, vendors display brightly-colord underwear before the holiday. The most popular colors to wear are red and yellow; red is supposed to bring love, and yellow is supposed to bring money. 

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