New Years Traditions Around The World

Happy New Year! (almost!)

Many of us will be pleased to see 2020 draw to a close and will be welcoming 2021 with open arms! We all have our own New Year’s Eve traditions, from singing our hearts out to “Auld Lang Syne” and enjoying a glass of fizz (or two!) or watching a vibrant firework display with loved ones.

Around the world, cultures welcome the New Year with unique, sometimes quirky traditions of their own. Here are our favourites from some of the iconic destinations we visit.


In Greece it’s all about food…and were not talking about eating it. Pomegranates hold great significance in Greek culture, symbolizing luck, prosperity and fertility. Over the festive period families traditionally hang a pomegranate on the front door of their homes, and at midnight on New Year’s Eve the lights are turned out and the pomegranate is thrown on the floor, or smashed against the door creating an explosion of seeds. The more seeds the better, meaning the household will be blessed with luck, health, happiness and prosperity over the coming year.


Many people across the world will celebrate New Year’s Eve with wine. However, in Spain they do things a little different. Las doce uvas de la suerte, "The twelve lucky grapes" is both a tradition and superstition where Spaniards will eat 12 grapes at midnight, one at a time for each strike of the clock. This custom dating back to the late 1800’s is thought to bring a year of good luck, prosperity with each grape representing a wish to be granted.


To honor the Lunar calendar (The revolution of the moon), and to mark the end of the harvesting season, Cambodians actually celebrate New Year in April. Known as ‘The Three days of Khmer New Year’ this celebration is rooted in Buddhist traditions. During this 3 day celebration, fruit is left on the doorsteps of locals as an offering to the gods to bring blessings upon their homes. Relatives get together to give gifts and enjoy a special meal together. On the final day, festivities are brought to an end with families bathing loved ones in water blessed by monks to bring them health, a long life and to ask their forgiveness for past wrongs.


New Year’s Eve (Yeni Yıl arifesi) is one of Turkey’s most popular holidays and they have many quirky traditions, here are a couple of our favourites. Red is traditionally a lucky colour at this time of year and wearing red underwear at midnight on New Year’s Eve is believed to bring good luck in the coming year. This unusual tradition is also followed in other countries including Italy and Spain. Sprinkling salt on the doorstep on your home and running the tap at midnight is also thought to bring good luck.


Germany’s capital city Berlin is host to one of the largest New Year’s Eve celebrations in Europe known as Silvester and it involves heaps of food and drink, most commonly Sekt a German sparkling wine. A more unique tradition however is das Bleigießen or lead pouring, an old practice where liquid lead is poured into water and the different shapes and patterns it makes are read to predict the future.


Delicious food and drink play a huge part in many of Italy’s celebrations, and New Year's Eve is no exception. The evening meal usually consists of cotechino con lenticchie (sausages and green lentils), a rich hearty feast to symbolise abundance and wealth for the upcoming year. Like the Spanish ‘lucky grape’ tradition when midnight strikes the Italian’s eat 12 raisins, one to represent each month of the new year, to bring good luck throughout the year.

How will you bring in 2021?