10 Interesting New Year’s Traditions from Around the World

2. Spain

One of the most fun and unusual New Year’s traditions comes from Spain. Known as las doce uvas de la suerte (the 12 lucky grapes), this tradition involves Spaniards popping grapes into their mouths as soon as the bells strike midnight on the 31 of December. If they can chew and swallow 12 grapes before the bells stop ringing, they’ve brought themselves luck for the whole year.

Proud of their national produce, Spaniards gravitate towards a late-harvested grape varietal called Aledo, which are small, sweet green grapes harvested in November and December. Their fine skin also makes them easier to swallow. Just be careful not to choke.

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3. Southern USA

In the American South, it should come as no surprise that their New Year’s traditions center around food. In order to have a prosperous new year, any good Southerner must partake in the three traditional New Year’s foods — black-eyed peas, collard greens, and cornbread. All three foods signify wealth, but each has their own history of how they’ve made it on to the festive plate.

One story says that black-eyed peas are considered lucky because they were the only food left after the Union army raided the Confederate stores during the Civil War. They left the peas behind because they thought they were animal feed. Some people eat exactly 365 peas to ensure they have luck for every single day of the upcoming year.

Collard greens resemble the green of money, while sweet cornbread represents golden opportunities.

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4. Mexico

Mexico has several unique New Year’s traditions, many of which are practiced widely still. The Spanish tradition of the 12 lucky grapes has made its way over to this country, so some people try and take on that challenge. Other than grapes, another food that’s thought to bring fortune in the new year are lentils. Many Mexicans cook and eat lentils on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, and they give them out to family and friends who come to visit, in order to spread the luck around.

Many people clean their homes for the New Year, sweeping and mopping right up until the stroke of midnight. Then, the bucket of dirty water is thrown out the window, to signify the departure of the old year.

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