from the States to Latin America; from Europe to Asia…

RUSSIA: Spice Up Your Champagne. Write a wish down on a piece of paper, burn it, and add the ashes on your Champagne. Cheers!

GREECE: Hang an onion on the front door of homes as a symbol of rebirth in the New Year.

GERMANY & AUSTRIA: Offer lucky charms to bring good fortune e.g. pigs, mushrooms, clovers, chimney sweeps. They could be bought at a Christmas market or edible made out of marzipan.

BELGIUM: Walloon and Flemish farmers rise early on January 1st to wish a “Happy New Year” to all the cows, horses, pigs, chickens and other farm animals. That way, they’ll have a good farming year.

SPAIN: Eat 12 grapes – one at each stroke of the clock at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Each grape represents good luck for one (1) month of the coming year. Madrid and Barcelona, people gather in main squares to eat their grapes together and pass around bottles of cava.

DENMARK: Throw old plates and glasses against the doors to banish bad spirits. Also, stand on chairs and jump off at midnight to “leap” into January in hopes of good luck.

FINLAND: Cast molten tin into a container of water thus interpreting the shape of the metal after it hardens. E.g. heart/ring is wedding; ship is travel; pig is food.

IRELAND: Christmas bread banging to chase bad spirits out of the house.

SCOTLAND: New Year’s Eve celebration of Hogmanay, … Scots also hold bonfire ceremonies where people parade while swinging giant fireballs on poles, symbolizing the sun to purify the coming year.

USA: Singing “Auld Lang Syne” to greet the New Year, and eating black-eyed peas for good luck. (Song: www.youtube.com/watch?v=acxnmaVTlZA)

BRAZIL: In Brazil, everyone wears white for good luck and peace. In Latin America (e.g. Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela): wear special underwear on New Year’s Eve. i.e. red color for love; yellow for money.

PANAMA: Burn effigies (muñecos) of well-known people such as television characters and political figures in Panama.

CUBA: toss buckets of water out the door to signify renewal.

PUERTO RICO: Dump a bucket of water out the window drives away evil spirits; and sprinkle sugar outside houses to invite the good luck in.

COLOMBIA: In hopes of a travel-filled new year, residents of Colombia carry empty suitcases around the block.

TURKEY: pomegranates are symbols of abundance. Smash it on your doorstep e.g. the more pieces there are and farther they spread, the more prosperous you will be. And for a little extra luck, sprinkle salt to bring peace.

PHILIPPINES: Round Shapes like coins to symbolize prosperity in the coming year. Many also wear Polka Dots for luck.

SINGAPORE: decorates its Singapore River with the wishing spheres containing the hopes and dreams of new year revellers.

JAPAN: It’s traditional to eat “Toshikoshi Soba,” a dish with long, buckwheat noodles which symbolize longevity and resilience.

Other Traditions:

MAKE A RESOLUTION: This tradition dates back 4,000 years ago. Historians believe Babylonians — one of the first cultures to celebrate the changing of the year — made promises to pay debts or return borrowed objects.

MAKE A FISH DISH: Fish is considered another good New Year’s entrée, since fish only swim in one direction — forward, like the movement of time.

OPEN THE DOORS AND WINDOWS to let the old year out, and the new year in unimpeded.