While the New Year’s Eve parties, dancing and fireworks are known and participated in around the world, you might be surprised at a few of the lesser known customs. Studying abroad in another country is a great way to find new holiday routines and if you happen to be visiting in one of the following countries be sure to keep your eyes open for a few fascinating traditions.
Eating Grapes in Spain
What could watching fireworks, a clock striking midnight and eating grapes have in common? If you are in Spain it means you are celebrating New Year’s Eve. Friends and families eagerly await New Year’s Eve to share in the music, fun and excitement of country wide parties. It’s a great time to be together and experience the hope for the coming new year. At midnight on December 31st the tradition of eating grapes begins. You have 12 grapes to eat one by one, one for every time the clock bell rings. Everyone joins in and if successful, it is thought, you will have good luck through the coming year.
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Casting Tin in Finland
Similar to Spain and wishing for good fortune is the Finnish tradition of trying to guess your future and good fortune by casting tin.
Small horseshoes, which are symbols of good fortune on their own, are sold throughout Finland around New Year’s Eve. As everyone is shopping for random party items and food for the festivities you will notice the horseshoes are available to buy.
After the fireworks the usual custom is to give everyone you are with a small tin horseshoe. The horseshoe is melted in a pan and then quickly poured into a bucket of cold water. The shape that forms in the cold water is said to predict your future and hopefully good fortune. Just hope for no broken pieces. That, unfortunately, would mean bad luck.
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Brazilian Goddess and Colored Underwear
Get ready to wear white on New Year’s Eve in Rio. You not only will be surrounded by white outfits but will notice that everyone also is wearing colorful underwear. The luck you want to attract for the new year will be determined by the color of your underwear. Would you like to have money and luck? Wear yellow. Go with pink if you are looking for love and purple for inspiration. For good health a nice green will do. There are more color choices of course and when midnight strikes and everyone runs into the sea you’ll understand why picking a nice outfit and colorful underwear is so important.
The offerings for the sea
On New Years day, in Rio de Janeiro, people wear white to celebrate the Festa de Iemanjá where they run into the ocean and try to jump over seven waves. Many people also will light candles on the beach and throw flowers into the water. All of this is to honor the Brazilian godess lemanja, who it is said to have control over the water.
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Ecuador Dummy Burning
Have you ever wanted to just leave all the bad things that happened the year before behind you? In Ecuador they celebrate New Year’s Eve by literally burning up the bad memories. It’s an unusual tradition which involves making dummies , called “Año Viejos”, of famous people or characters that represent bad memories and burning them at midnight. There is a great variety in what the dummies look like. Some are small and homemade, others are cartoon characters and some are giant dummies that are part of competitions. A list of people that have treated you badly are sometimes put inside the dummy and then when everything is burnt at midnight you can start the new year with a clean slate.
Find a Study Abroad program in Ecuador https://www.studyabroad101.com/countries/ecuador
Breaking plates in Denmark
The New Year’s Eve tradition in Denmark of throwing plates at the doors of your friends and family is pretty unusual. In the weeks leading up to New Year’s people will start to stockpile old plates. When the clock strikes midnight get your throwing arm ready. This is not looked at as vandalism but as a way to wish good luck for the coming year. If you wake up New Year’s day and have a large pile of broken dishes all over your step, you must have a lot of friends and will have much luck in the coming year!
Find study abroad programs in Denmark https://www.studyabroad101.com/countries/denmark
Wherever and however you celebrate New Year’s Eve have a wonderful time!