Celebrating New Year’s is pretty much a universal tradition, but many countries welcome in the new year with different customs. You’re probably familiar with the New Year’s Eve traditions of your own respective country, but do you know what the holiday looks like elsewhere around the globe? While many countries have fireworks, some also have their own unique superstitions and customs. Here's a taste of some of the ways different countries usher in the new year:
Spain: Spanish New Year’s Eve usually starts with a traditional family dinner, but perhaps the most notable tradition is the countdown to midnight. Just before the clock strikes midnight, Spanish tradition holds that 12 grapes should be eaten – or more like stuffed in one's mouth as quickly as possible.
Turkey: As elsewhere, the evening often begins with a large and traditional family dinner. Although traditions vary, many people choose to play the lottery on New Year’s Eve, as State TV channels announce the winning numbers just as the clock is about to strike midnight. Some families decorate a “New Year’s tree,” and decorate their home with images of Noel Baba, a Turkish Santa Claus who is associated with New Year’s.
Russia: A popular tradition is to bid farewell to the last year and welcome in the new one. Shortly before midnight, many Russians tune in to watch the president’s speech on T.V. or watch popular New Year’s shows. Many Russians also write down wishes for the upcoming year on a piece of paper, then burn the paper and place the ashes in a glass of champagne. Right before midnight, guess what they drink?
Nigeria: New Year’s tends to be more a religious tradition in Nigeria than in many other places. Among many Christian families, New Year’s Eve is a time for intense prayer, as many Nigerians choose to spend the time in worship at church. Some also choose to observe a month-long fast. Some Muslim families also spend the time at local mosques. New Year’s traditions also include firecrackers, festivities and shopping. Young people often go house-to-house, wishing their community a good new year.