11 New Year’s Eve Traditions From Around the World

Panama

New Year’s Eve celebrations in this Central American country get heated, literally. Munecos (life-size doll-like effigies of famous people and popular characters) are burned in public bonfires throughout the country. Everyone from Fidel Castro to Olympic gold medalists are burned up, and it isn’t always meant as an insult, as beloved country icons are set ablaze as well. The tradition represents the end of the old year, and burning the figures drives off evil spirits from the past year for a fresh start.

Scotland

Another hot and heavy New Year’s Eve is celebrated in Scotland. Bonfire ceremonies are extremely popular throughout the entire nation, though the village of Stonehaven is especially famous. There, townspeople parade through the village while swinging giant fireballs on poles as part of the Hogmanay celebrations, tracing its roots back to the Vikings. The fireballs are supposed to represent the sun, which purifies the New Year.

A bit more jolly and less incendiary is the tradition of “first-footing,” which requires that the first person to enter a home in the New Year should come bearing a gift (most likely booze).

Japan

Religious Japanese have a tradition similar to American Halloween for New Year’s Eve. Participants dress up in the costume of the New Year’s zodiac animal, and then go to the local temple fully dressed up. If costumes aren’t your thing, you can check out the “Red and White Sound Battle” for New Year’s Eve sing-offs, where white (men) teams battle red (women) teams, with the winner based on an audience vote.

Takashi Images / Shutterstock.com

Takashi Images / Shutterstock.com

SHARE ON

Advertisement

8 Bizarre Ocean Phenomena

The ocean is storied, deep, and complex. Whether it is the folklore surrounding Atlantis and the Bermuda Triangle, or the weird-looking fauna and flora that arise out of it, the ocean is a great source of fascination. In fact, only five percent of it has been properly explored, leaving plenty of gaps for our imaginations to fill in.

Worst Celebrity Statues from Around the World

We buy their albums, tickets to their movies, and all the products, brands, and questionable colognes that they endorse. Surely that’s enough to quell the hungry egos of some of the world’s biggest celebrities. Well, not exactly. You see, immortalization via cultural significance, world records, and millions of dollars sometimes isn’t enough. Tradition dictates that our celebrity idols need to be re-created in gold, bronze, wax, and stone, so not even the elements can dismantle the memory of their monumental rise to the top.

How to Become a UNESCO World Heritage Site

If you’re an active traveler or live in a uniquely historic part of the world, chances are you’ve been exposed to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This phrase is thrown around frequently. When we first hear it, the first thing that comes to mind is that it must represent something historic and old. Many UNESCO World Heritage Sites are famous buildings, landmarks, or areas that are renowned because of their beauty and historical significance.