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5 Great New Year's Eve Traditions That You Never Knew About

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New Year's Eve is a great time to look at some of the customs that are unique to differenct world cultures. While in the US it's a must to kiss that special someone at midnight, the rest of the world has a different take on the holiday.

The Danes hurl plates at their friends' houses to welcome in the new year and in South America it's tradition to wear special "lucky" underpants on New Year's Eve (particularly red or yellow ones to symbolize love and money).

Meanwhile, single women throughout Ireland place mistletoe under their pillows in the hope of finding their future husband in the year to come. In the Philippines polka dots and circular foods are the order of the day, symbolizing coins, wealth and prosperity for the New Year.

These quirky traditions give us an intriguing insight into cultures sometimes very different from our own and make traveling and connecting with local people at this time of year so enjoyable and fulfilling."

Five More Traditions Worth a Mention

Jerry Nelson is an internationally known photojournalist. Contact him for the next story you want told!


At New Year’s Eve parties in Spain, each person gets 12 grapes to eat. Sometimes the people wait until the final minute before midnight and others eat them at the stroke of 12. The 12 grapes symbolize the 12 months ahead and the hope for a fruitful year. Others look deeper into it and say that sweet grapes symbolize a sweeter year and a sour grape indicates a sour road ahead.

The Big Fish Drop

While people in New York are waiting on the Apple to drop in Times Square and folks in Atlanta have an eye on the big peach, the population of Port Clinton, Ohio is watching a very different item to plunge.

The small Lake Erie harbor town hosts an annual winter event called the “Walleye Drop”.

At mid night on New Year’s Eve, locals and visitors gather to watch a 20-foot, 600-pound fish fall from the sky. With a backdrop of fireworks, it can be pretty interesting to see.

Wishes to Ashes

A Russian New Year’s Eve tradition means drinking your wishes at midnight. Before midnight, as the clock starts to count down the moments left in the old year, everyone writes their wishes for the upcoming year on a piece of paper which is then burned until only ash is left. The ashes are added to your glass of champagne and the challenge is to finish the whole glass, wishes and all, as the clock strikes midnight.

Possum Drop

In North Carolina, a possum is captured, placed in a cage and lowered at midnight. PETA didn’t think it was a great idea. Seems they felt the lights, noise and crowd would wreck the possum’s health and make it a nervous creature.

A judge in Raleigh disagreed and allowed the possum drop so the show in Brasstown can go on.

New Year’s Eve Swim

Does this really need an explanation?




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