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New Years Traditions Around the World

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New Year’s Traditions to Bring on the Luck

Writer Mila Grgas

You want to stack the odds in your favor, always. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a lot of prosperity in the new year, however that may look to you. It can be health. Wealth. Family. Friends. Whatever it is that motivates you to get up in the morning. So these are fun New Year’s traditions to bring on the luck.

The Country:  Italy

The Tradition:  Eat Lentils at Midnight

This New Year’s tradition may require some planning if you’re going to be in Italy for the holiday.  Most stores are sold out of lentils in every shape and size, so get your home stocked up!  If your lucky enough to grab a bag you’ll be participating in a tradition that dates back to the Roman times.  The Romans believed that the lentils growing in size represented abundance and luck for the New Year.  The lentils were usually given as a gift to friends and family to spread the wealth and the luck for the coming year.

The Tradition:  Wear Red Underwear

Italy has two New Year’s traditions, where we couldn’t pass up the quirky red underwear ritual.  Yes, you read that correct.  The Italians wear red undergarments on New Years Day, as they believe that it brings good luck.

Concord grapes
The Country:  Spain

The Tradition:  Eat 12 Grapes

This is one New Year’s tradition where we can easily get on board.  These twelve grapes are usually dressed up in a champagne glass for the New Year .  They bring about good luck and prosperity and they represent the 12 months out of the year.  This tradition, which dates back to the 1800s, is believed to also ward off evil spirits and witches.  The best place to see this is action is in Puerta de sol, Madrid, at the Royal House of the Post Office Bell Tower.  This is one of the best spots for New Years Celebrations.


The Country: Japan

The Tradition: Joya-no-Kane

This Buddhist ceremony which translates roughly to New Years bell, is the ringing of the bells in Buddhist Temples around Japan 108 times. The 107 first rings take place before the clock strikes twelve represent the 107 worldly desires.  Then, the 108th ring on New Years day cleanses you of the problems and distresses of the former year.  If you don’t have a Buddhist temple near you to celebrate with, just know that Japan has you covered.  Can’t make it out to Japan? Here are some Japanese restaurants in New York City  to visit before finding the closest Buddhist Temple.

The Country: Philippines

The Tradition:  Open All Your Doors

The Philippines has a diverse and expansive list of New Year’s traditions, many of which bring luck and wealth.  So, if you are all out of the twelve round fruits, and sick from jumping up out of your chair at the stroke of midnight, there are lots more to try.  Open all your windows and doors at midnight, and let the cold air in along with that sweet good luck. Then, after the heat has finally warmed you up, take a bite into a coin shaped snack, to represent the wealth of the New Year.

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