Top 10 New Year’s Traditions from Around the World

HKCEC fireworks

Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. Photo Credit: Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Holidays and Festivals

In most English speaking countries, it is traditional to do a 10 second countdown to midnight on New Year've Eve.

When the big moment comes, everyone cheers, kisses, hugs, and drinks. This is followed by an emotional rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

But these customs are not universal.

Cheap Flights UK takes us on a trip around the world to look at some of the more unusual customs and traditions associated with ringing in the New Year.

Germany & Finland – Fortune telling. Molybdomancy is an ancient technique of divination that involves interpreting the shapes made by dropping molten lead into cold water. On New Year's Eve in Germany and Finland, family and friends come together for a spot of lead pouring to make predictions for the coming year.

Ecuador – Cross-dressing. Men in Ecuador put on women's clothes to represent the "widow" of the year that has passed. At midnight, families and communities come together to light fireworks and burn Monigotes – papier-mâché effigies – of politicians, public figures, and popular culture icons.

ScotlandHogmanay. There are many customs, local and national, linked with Hogmanay. The most widespread is the practice of 'first-footing', which starts immediately after midnight. First-footing involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbour's home and giving symbolic gifts such as salt, coal, shortbread, whisky, and black bun (a rich fruit cake) to bring luck to the householder.

Greece – New Year's Day is filled with celebrations and gift giving. January 1st is the name day of Aghios Vassilis (St. Basil), the Greek Santa Claus, and many customs are based upon his arrival. On the morning of New Year's Eve, children go door-to-door and ask permission to sing kalanta (carols) to bring good wishes to their neighbors, announce the coming of Aghios Vassilis, and bless the house.

Philippines – Bagong Taon. People usually celebrate in the company of family and close friends. Most households host or attend a Media Noche (dinner party), wearing clothes with dots (in the belief that circles attract money and fortune) and bright colors . They throw coins at the stroke of midnight, make noises by blowing on cardboard or plastic horns (torotot), banging pots and pans, playing music, or lighting fireworks to scare away bad spirits.

Mexico, Italy, Chile, Japan, and Wales round out the top 10 list.

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