Ah, New Year’s Eve – the moment you’ve been waiting for to forget or celebrate the past year and ring in the next year with renewed hope and resolutions. This special date calls for and deserves special rituals.

Most of us spend Dec 31st with family and friends, in Goa with a significant other (Book your Goa homestay now), with co-workers at the mandatory office party, or alone with ice-cream and Diana Ross’s I Will Survive playing at deafening volume (we’ve all been there.)


It’s not New Year’s until you open a bottle of champagne with a sword.

But come Dec 31st, an Armenian will bake special bread with ‘Good luck’ stamped on it and a Swiss will drop a dollop of ice-cream on the floor to ring in the New Year. Who knew?! And the Armenians and Swiss are not alone when it comes to New Year’s strangeness. Here’s a look at 10 strange, or should we say unusual, New Year’s Traditions from around the world.

1. Wearing coloured underwear in some South American countries


Source: Culture24

People in some South American countries wear coloured underwear to help determine their fate in the New Year. You wear red underwear to find love, gold to amass wealth and white for peace.

*Opens new tab. Places an order for one (maybe three) gold underwear online.*

2. Fist-fighting in Peru


Source: tempo.co

Every year at the end of December people in Chumbivilcas Province, near Cuzco in Peru, partake in the Takanakuy Festival – they fist fight to settle their differences and start the year off on a clean slate.

3. Asking the rooster in Belarus


The rooster knows all.

Like EVERYWHERE in the world, people of Belarus too want to know who will be getting married first in the New Year, so they ask a rooster (as one does). This New Year ritual involves placing piles of corn in front of single women and then releasing a rooster. So whichever woman’s corn pile the bird eats from first will be the first to marry. Yay! (There’s a cock joke in here somewhere. But we shall rise above it.)

4. Hanging straw ropes in Japan


Source: Wallcoo.com

A lot of us might drink, but the Japanese hang straw ropes across their homes to ‘forget the year’ and ward away evil spirits and welcome happiness in the New Year.

5. Hanging-out with the dead in Chile


The dead like New Year’s too

In Chile, the New Year’s party is pretty much dead. (We do love our bad puns 🙂 ) In Talca, Chile, people visit cemeteries and ring in the New Year with the spirits of their dead family members.

6. Carrying an empty suitcase in Colombia


Source: Hercampus

People wishing for a travel-filled year carry an empty suitcase around the block on New Year’s Day.

*Keeps an empty suitcase ready.*

7. Throwing water out of the window in Puerto Rico


Source: Getty

In some parts of Puerto Rico they throw pails of water out of their windows to drive away evil spirits.

*Makes a mental note to avoid walking on the streets of Puerto Rico on New Year’s Day.*

8. Wishing the cows Happy New Year in Belgium


Happy Moo Year

In Belgium farmers wish their cows a happy new year.  That’s moooving. *Thinks about not publishing this pun. But does so anyway.*

9. Jumping over seven waves in Brazil


Jump over seven waves

Brazilians begin the New Year by jumping over seven waves, one for each day, to bring good luck.

10. Throwing pomegranate from the balcony in Turkey


“Burst” of happiness

In Turkey, people determine how plentiful the New Year will be by the size of the pomegranate “burst.”

*Makes a mental note to also avoid walking on the streets in Turkey on New Year’s Day. *

No matter how anyone around the world rings in the new year, everyone wishes it will bring with it happiness, health, wealth (we will be busy buying plenty of lottery tickets and wearing gold underwear this Dec 31st 🙂 ), and peace.
Here’s wishing you, our fellow nomad, a 2017 filled with love, laughter and plenty of safe travels.

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