The strangest New Year traditions…

When the New Year comes around, people have a lot of different traditions and there certainly are a few odd ones…

Scarecrow burning
In Ecuador, their tradition is to set fire to scarecrows filled with paper at midnight on New Year’s Eve. They do this to banish any ill-fortune or bad things that happened in the past year. They also burn photographs of things that represent the past year, which leads us to believe that New Year is just a thinly veiled excuse for Ecuadorian pyromaniacs to set things on fire.

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Round things
In the Philippines, New Year is about one thing, cold hard cash. Filipino people try to use as many round things as possible to represent coins and wealth, hoping to bring prosperity and wealth for the year ahead. Round clothes, round food, you name it; if it is round, they want it.

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12 grapes
In Spain, as the clock counts down to 12, Spaniards are staring at a bunch of grapes waiting to stuff their face with 12 grapes with every ring of the bell. If you succeed, then it’s believed that you have good luck for the year ahead.

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Broken plates
In Denmark, unused plates are saved up all year until the 31st of December when they are hurled at the front doors of your friends and family in a strangely vandalistic display of affection.

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108 rings
Think the countdown of 12 rings takes too long? Try 108 on for size. In Japan, bells are rung 108 times in a Buddhist tradition that is believed to banish all human sins. It’s also good luck to be smiling or laughing going into the New Year!

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Coloured Underwear
In South American countries such as Mexico, Bolivia and Brazil, your fortunes for the year ahead are all decided by your underpants. Those who want to find love wear red underwear for New Year, whilst gold diggers should opt for yellow, which brings wealth and luck. If you’re just after a bit of peace for the New Year, some white pants should do the trick nicely.

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Takanakuy Festival
This annual Peruvian festival held at the end of December is all about people beating the living daylights out of each other. Competitors face off in a ring for a round of bare-knuckle brawling, which is overseen by local policemen. Takanakuy literally means ‘when the blood is boiling’, but apparently all of the fights are friendly, and represent a fresh start for the year.

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However you decide to spend your New Year’s Eve, we really hope that you have a good one!