Hanging onions to smashing plates at doorstep: 6 weird, unique ways World welcomes New Year

New Year is just three days away and looking for unique ways to welcome 2024 other than just partying till midnight? How about smashing plates at friends’ doorstep wishing good luck or wearing red underwear on New Year hoping to find love? Here are six unique New Year traditions in practice across the world.


At the stroke of midnight, the people of Spain eat 12 grapes; each grape represents a month of the year. One should eat all 12 grapes before the clock stops chiming. If so, it is considered good luck. The practice began during the late 19th century. Also according to Spanish tradition, wearing red underwear on New Year’s Day will make Cupid, the God of desire, help you find love.


The Japanese begin the New Year with a bowl of soba noodles. The origin of this tradition goes back to the Kamakura period. Noodles were served to the less fortunate people at a Buddhist temple. The noodles symbolize breaking away from the previous year. The non-westernized locations in Japan prefer a noiseless and peaceful welcoming of the New Year. Apart from ‘Joya no Kane’, a tradition of ringing the bell at the Buddhist temple 108 times by the monks, the place is silent.


In Denmark, throwing plates at the doorstep of the homes of family and friends is considered a way of bringing them good luck. According to tradition, it is believed that the more broken plates a person has at their doorstep, the more good luck awaits them. Danish skies are filled with fireworks during this time of the year.


On New Year’s Eve, similar to Spain, Filipinos eat 12 round-shaped fruits like grapes, plums and apples. Each fruit represents a month of the year. This practice is believed to bring them good luck for all the 12 months ahead. Filipinos also hold the superstition of bringing bad luck if they clean their homes on New Year’s Day. 


It is a tradition in Greece to hang an onion outside the door. This is done after coming back from the New Year’s Day church service. It is considered to bring good luck and a new beginning to life. The onions represent fertility and growth. Among the ancient Greeks, it was also considered as a symbol of rebirth. 


A tradition called “agüero” is practised on New Year’s Eve in Colombia. Families place three potatoes under each person’s bed. One of the potatoes will be peeled, the other will be half peeled and the last potato will be unpeeled. Everyone blindly picks a potato. The potato a person chooses predicts their financial state in the upcoming year. The unpeeled potato is believed to represent a good financial year ahead, whereas a potato that is fully peeled represents a bad year financially. 


It is common in Italy to welcome the New Year by wearing red underwear. It is believed that this practice will bring love and good luck to the person in the upcoming year. The origin of this tradition can be traced back to medieval times, when men protected and hid their ‘family jewels’ from the witches by using a red drape over their groin.