International New Year’s Traditions
Most countries around the world ring in the new year with fireworks and champagne, however, each place usually has its own additional unique traditions that their citizens love to celebrate each year. Here are three countries around the world with their own version of New Year’s traditions! If you are interested, in the past I have also already written about worldwide Christmas traditions.
How different Countries ring in the New Year
New Year’s Traditions in Italy
Italy is a land with a rich history dating back for thousands of years. They continue age-old traditions to celebrate the new year. In Italy, dinner is always pig’s trotter, lentils, and grapes. Apparently, eating sausage before the stroke of midnight will guarantee a good year because it has a high-fat content which symbolizes a rich and abundant life. The lentils represent luck and prosperity while the grapes are frugality and wisdom.
Traditionally, you wear red underwear on New Year’s Eve in order to bring luck into the next year. It is also considered the colour of fertility, so anyone who wants to have a child would also wear red. In parts of Italy, people will throw old pots and pans out their windows as a literal take on “out with the old, in with the new”. Of course, you can’t forget about dramatic firework displays to end the night!
New Year’s Traditions in Germany
Germany’s New Year’s traditions are all about consuming a lot of food and having a ton of fun! Prepare to eat a lot when visiting, as they believe that a long dinner makes the hours until midnight goes by faster. They prepare meat and cheese platters as well as Raclette, an indoor grill where you melt the cheese and cook up small potatoes and shrimp.
An interesting custom that nearly every German knows about is watching a TV program called, “Dinner for One”. It is an English sketch that aired on German TV in the ’60s and has been a New Year’s favourite ever since. It’s a humorous story of a wealthy woman who celebrates her 90th birthday with a dinner. Her butler is pretending to be each of her missing friends and slowly gets drunk after toasting multiple times as each character. You can watch it for free on YouTube here.
Everyone’s favourite part of the typical New Year’s traditions in Germany is finally setting off the fireworks. Consumer fireworks are only sold legally during the last days of the year, so some families go all out and purchase a huge stock. Once midnight strikes, everyone goes out into the streets and starts lighting all their fireworks up. Be careful to close your doors and clear your roof of debris, as fireworks have been known to shoot into houses!
New Year Traditions in Korea
In Korea, they celebrate multiple New Year’s days – the international January 1st, as well as the first day of the lunar Korean calendar, which usually falls around the end of January. This holiday lasts for three days and focuses on gathering with family and greeting the ancestors. Koreans wear their traditional dress attire, the Hanbok; eat tteokguk, a delicious rice cake soup; and play Yunnori, a traditional board game.
For the international New Year’s Eve, they also celebrate with parties and fireworks. It is customary to go hiking up a mountain in the middle of the night so that you can greet the first sunrise of the new year. While you are there, you are supposed to make a wish about what you want your year to look like. If you are alone, you can even shout it out to the mountainside.
Each country has its own New Year’s Traditions and ways to celebrate – sometimes different regions in the same country will even have their own unique twists! The next time you are able to take a trip, why not go and see the New Year’s traditions in Italy, Germany, and Korea to get a better taste of how they throw a party.