New Year Traditions Around the World from Greece to China!

Posted on December 30, 2016 by

  • Baby New Year Tradition The tradition of using a baby to signify the New Year was started around 600 B.C by the ancient Greeks, who, at the start of a year would carry a baby around in anew-year-5 basket. The purpose of it was to honor Dionysus, the God of Fertility and symbolize his annual rebirth.
  • Hogmanay The New Year in Scotland is called Hogmanay. The people in Scotland follow a ritual that appears nutty but actually has a great significance. One can find barrels of tar set afire and gradually rolled down the streets in the villages of Scotland. This ritual symbolizes that the old year is burned up and New Year is going to begin.
  • Burning “Mr. Old Year” In Columbia, Cuba and Puerto Rico families stuff a life-size male doll with things and then they dress it up in old clothes from each family member. At the stroke of midnight, this ‘Mr. Old Year’ is set on fire. This is done with the simple belief that a doll thus stuffed have bad memories or sadness associated with them, and that the burning of these will help one to do away with all past grief’s and usher in happiness in life with the coming year.
  • Eating Noodles Late on the evening of December 3 1, people of Japan would eat a bowl of buckwheat noodles called “toshikoshisoba” (“year-crossing noodles”) and listen for the sound of the Buddhist temple bells, which were rung 108 times at midnight. The sound of these bells is said to purify the listeners of the 108 sins or evil passions that plague every human being.
  • Eating 12 Grapes In Spain people eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight (one each time the clock chimes) on New Year’s Eve. This peculiar ritual originated in the twentieth century when freak weather conditions resulted in an unseasonable bumper harvest of grapes. Not able to decide what to do about so many grapes at Christmas time, the King of Spain and the grape growers came up with the idea of the New Year ritual.
  • Gifts in Shoes In Greece children leave their shoes by the fireside on New Year’s Day (also the Festival of Saint Basil in Greece) with the hope that Saint Basil, who was famous for his kindness, will come and fill their shoes with gifts.
  • Carrying a Suitcase In Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, and Mexico, those with hopes of traveling in the New Year carry a suitcase around the house at midnight. Some even carry it around the block to ensure traveling at greater distances.
  • Burning Crackers The people in China believe that there are evil spirits that roam the earth. So on New Year they burn crackers to scare the evil spirits. The doors and windows of every home in china can be seen sealed with paper. This is to keep the evil demons out.

For more New Year’s Traditions – Check Out the

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