New Year’s Eve Traditions from Around the World

New Year’s Eve is a holiday that most people celebrate all around the world, but we each celebrate in different ways! Get ready to read about New Year’s Eve Traditions from Around the World with traditions from 12 different countries.  

New Year's Eve Traditions from Around the World

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New Year's Eve Celebrations

People around the world have been celebrating the fresh start of a new calendar year for centuries. It’s common for different cultures to celebrate with different New Year’s traditions. Each country’s New Year celebration will have different types of parties, traditional food, fireworks displays, superstitions, and New Year’s Resolutions.

Seasonal Holidays

People around the world have been celebrating the fresh start of a new calendar year for centuries. It’s common for different cultures to celebrate with different New Year’s traditions. Each country’s New Year celebration will have different types of parties, traditional food, fireworks displays, superstitions, and New Year’s Resolutions.

New Years Eve Fresh Start

I’ve shared before that one of my Christmas traditions is to take my family on a trip, but with all these fun celebrations it might be a new tradition to travel for New Year’s Eve. 

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There is such a wide variety of ways that countries around the world celebrate, so get ready to be surprised by some fun and unique traditions! Let’s explore New Year’s Eve Traditions from Around the World

New Year's Eve in the UNITED STATES

I’m from the United States where we enjoy large parties for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Times Square in New York is probably the most well-known place to celebrate NYE. Since 1907 we have been watching “the ball drop“.

Initially, it was a 700-pound iron and wooden ball. It has now become a 12-foot, 11,875-pound sphere covered in 2,688 triangular crystals and 32,256 LED lights. As the ball is slowly lowered down a pole, starting at 11:59 pm, everyone counts the seconds down to get to midnight.   

New York Time's Square

Other places around the United States use various items to lower in celebrating their New Year’s Eve countdown. When we took our Christmas trip to Nashville, we stayed through to New Year’s Eve and watched the Music Note Drop. In Wisconsin they have a Big Cheese Drop. What they decide to drop really just depends on what that State is known for.      

New Year's Eve Nashville Tennessee

In the US at the stroke of midnight it’s tradition to kiss someone. You want to kiss the person you hope to keep kissing. If you don’t kiss someone at midnight, then it’s said you will have a year of loneliness.       

New Year's Eve in GREECE

The Greeks have some pretty unique traditions for NYE. They have children singing, onions hanging, and card playing to name a few.  Greek children start on New Year’s Eve morning and go door-to-door asking for permission to sing carols. Adults hang an onion on their door on New Year’s Eve as a symbol of rebirth for the next year.

Playing Cards

The Greeks also have a tradition of participating in a card-playing marathon. Families gather from early in the morning and play until midnight on New Years Eve. I love that the Greeks focus on family and community during their New Year’s celebrations.

New Year's Eve in SWITZERLAND

I think the messiest of the New Year’s traditions is in Switzerland. They let a drop of ice cream fall onto the floor as a superstition. It means the New Year will bring prosperity, luck and peace. It doesn’t have to be ice cream, necessarily just cream will work too. 

Spilled Ice Cream

The Swiss celebrate with fireworks, firecrackers, and loud parades. In history they believed that between Christmas and New Years the “door to the underworld” was wide open. That meant bad things like evil spirits could fly around. The loud noises were supposed to keep the bad spirits away and only let the good spirits stay. 

Fireworks on New Years Eve

New Year's Eve in JAPAN

In Japan they do a bell strike for 108 times. They think this will bring cleanliness and goodness in the New year. A common meal to eat on New Year’s Eve is toshikoshi soba, which is a dish with long noodles (for a long life)

A big importance is placed on the first shrine visit of the year. Many Japanese people will make sure they visit the shrine on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd of January in the hopes of a happy and healthy new year. 

Japanese Shrine

New Year's Eve in SPAIN

In Spain people say at home and when the clock strikes midnight they eat 12 grapes with each chime. This is for twelve months of good fortune in the New Year. 

New Years Eve Grapes

If your New Year’s resolution is to fall in love then the superstition is you must wear red underwear on NYE. There are lots of stipulations to this Spanish superstition.

Some believe the underwear has to be a gift, and some believe you have to give away the red underwear before the end of the night for the lucky love charm to work.  

Red Underwear

New Year's Eve in IRELAND

If you are in Ireland then you will bang on the walls of your home with bread. This is to chase away bad luck, then bring good luck and lots of bread in the new year. 


Another Irish tradition is to clean your house really well. They like to start the first day of the year with a clean home. I can appreciate that tradition! It’s a good idea to get all the dirt out from the past year. The swiss are dropping ice cream on the floors and the Irish are cleaning the floors.   

Woman Cleaning

New Year's Eve in BELGIUM

A very sweet tradition that is followed by Belgian children is to save up money all year long, then use it to purchase decorations for the home on New Year’s Eve. They get a piece of paper to write out greetings and well wishes for their elders. Then, they read them aloud as the clock strikes midnight. It’s such a lovely tribute to their elders and parents. I can’t think of a better way to spend the last day of the year.   


New Year's Eve in GERMANY

As I mentioned in my post about the cutest German town in America, my grandmother was born and raised in Germany. That means a common tradition for us was to eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. The Germans believed that eating sauerkraut would bring a lucky year with wealth and blessings.

Pork and Sauerkraut for New Years Eve

New Year’s Eve, also known as “Silvester” to the Germans, is a time to give little trinkets that are lucky charms. You might get a mushroom, ladybug, or clover as your symbol of good luck.  

Mushroom Toy

New Year's Eve in DENMARK

While the Swiss are dropping ice cream on the floor, the Irish are cleaning their floors… the Danish are throwing plates on the doorsteps of friends and family. The larger your pile of broken China on your doorstep is, the more friends you will have in the new year

Broken Plates

New Year's Eve in TURKEY

Speaking of doorsteps… the Turkish people open their front door and sprinkle salt on the doorstep. This is thought to bring peace and abundance in their homes and businesses. Are you feeling salty? Happy New Year! 

Spilled Salt

New Year's Eve in MEXICO

In Mexico they think the color of your undergarments will impact the type of year you will have. Red means you will have love and romance. White means you will have peace and harmony. Yellow means you will have prosperity and success. Green means you will have health and well-being. I guess Spain isn’t the only place that brings undergarments into the celebration. 

Colored underwear

New Year's Eve in COLUMBIA

Columbians are really fun. They hold their empty suitcase all day because they think it will bring a year full of travel. Someone really needs to tell them to read my post, “How to pack a suitcase that saves you money” so if they have a lucky new year, they will be prepared! 

Man Holding Suitcase

Columbia is like Spain in that they also participate in eating 12 green grapes at midnight, but they put a twist on it. Instead of eating the lucky grapes one at a time, they try to see how many they can fit in their mouth

Columbians are also like Mexico because they have a significance to wearing yellow underwear. They wear new yellow underwear to bring happiness and love for the New Year. 

Yellow Underwear


Many different countries take part in making a New Year’s Resolution. This is an old tradition that started out when people resolved to pay back debts or return borrowed objects.

Personally, I love to make a New Year’s Resolution each year and I’m actually pretty good at keeping them! I love the fresh start of a new year. The trick to keeping a New Year’s Resolution is to create an action plan on how you will accomplish that goal. Make it realistic, specific, and measurable so you can make sure you succeed. 

New Years Resolutions

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If you liked New Year’s Eve Traditions from Around the World , then you might also want to read 15+ Great ideas for Christmas Traditions. 

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LET’S CONNECT: Common New Year’s Eve Traditions from Around the World are making New Year’s Resolutions. Do you make them and if so, are you good at keeping them? 

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