Funny New Year Traditions From Around The World

Funny New Year Traditions From Around The World

Dec 03
Funny New Year Traditions From Around The World

We are still all adjusting to the new year or maybe still recovering from the fun of New Year’s eve. But, ever wondered how some countries celebrated this night? Not surprisingly, many New Year’s traditions involve destruction that signifies an “out with the old, in with the new” approach. Some countries take these rituals to extreme lengths. Other areas take a more loving, festive or just outright unusual approach to welcome the New Year. Check out these six funny and odd ways that countries around the world celebrate the new year.

6 Out With The Old In With The New Year Traditions

1. Johannesburg, South Africa

Residents of Johannesburg take the concept of a new start literally when it comes to their worldly possessions, namely furniture and electronics. If it’s broken or doesn’t operate properly, come New Year’s Eve, it’s chuck it out! And woe be to any unassuming reveler under a window or a balcony. The unusual custom dates back to the last decade of the 20th century, after the end of apartheid. Free at last! Free at last! Got some furniture you want to trash?

2. Panama

In the central American country of Panama, New Year’s Eve is the time to symbolically “eliminate” unpopular politicians and celebrities. This is accomplished with the burning of the muñecos. These are dummies or effigies they stuff with fireworks in anticipation of a violent end at midnight, at which time they are set afire and soundly beaten. This custom is meant to destroy the old year’s sins and evil spirits so that good has room to prevail in the new year.

3. Denmark

What says “you’re my good friend” more effectively than, “here’s a pile of broken dishware on your doorstep to clean up”? Apparently, that’s the sentiment of friendly folks in Denmark. No friends to throw dishes at? Go jump in the ocean! No, really. The Viking swim is a Danish New Year’s Eve tradition for about 500 brave (insane!) Danes who dive into Copenhagen’s near-freezing harbor waters on the morning of the 31st of each December.

4. Scotland

If you think fireworks for New Year’s Eve is exciting, has Scotland got a celebration for you. The Stonehaven Fireball festival at Hogmanay is an arsonist’s nirvana. During this New Year’s Eve celebration, 45 or more Scotsmen spin whirling balls of flame over their heads and those of some very trusting spectators. They eventually toss them into the sea, where apparently, some very confused fish can join in welcoming the new year.

5. Siberia

Not to be outdone by friendless Danes, Russians have a cold-water plunge custom, as well. In Siberia. Siberia! These stalwart Siberians hop into a frozen lake grasping onto a tree limb. “Why?” you ask. “Why not?” they reply! If you’re a wuss in Russia, though (i.e. possess a normal fear of leaping into freezing water), you might prefer the champagne challenge. The Russians write down their most fervent desire, burn the paper and toss it into a glass of champagne. They must be sure to drink the champagne before 12:01 am on January 1.

6. ItalyFireworks celebrations

It likely comes as no surprise that one of Italy’s New Year’s traditions is indirectly tied to fashion. If an Italian hopes for good luck, love, and prosperity in the coming year, it hinges on covering their nether regions in red. Scarlet undies are all the rage on the last day of the year. Care should be exercised, though, as this color is the symbol of fertility and thought to also bring babies. You know, like a stork. And to cover this country’s other reputation, that of romance, Venice is host to a mass kissing event at St. Mark’s Square.