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New Year’s superstitions from around the world

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Supersticiones de Año Nuevo, España, Doce uvas, buena fortuna, suerte, Año Nuevo
New Year's superstitions (Photo: Shutterstock)
  • New Year’s superstitions are different around the world
  • Learn about some of these unique traditions.
  • Get ready to ring in the New Year with luck.

As we bid farewell to the old and welcome the new, diverse cultures worldwide usher in the New Year with an array of interesting superstitions.

These customs, passed down through generations, reflect a blend of history, beliefs and a touch of magic.

From warding off evil spirits to attracting prosperity, each tradition carries its unique significance.

Join us on a journey around the globe as we explore New Year’s superstitions, discovering the fascinating ways people seek to ensure good fortune and a promising start to the year ahead.

Eat 12 grapes for good fortune in Spain

Spain, Twelve grapes, good fortune, luck, New Years
Photo: MundoNOW Archive

In Spain, the tradition of eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight is more than just a flavorful ritual; it’s a practice believed to bring prosperity for each month of the upcoming year.

The 12 grapes represent the months, and as the clock chimes, you must quickly consume one grape per chime.

The challenge lies in finishing all the grapes before the final stroke, and those who succeed are said to invite good luck and abundance into their lives.

This tradition is deeply ingrained in Spanish culture, with families and friends coming together to partake in the grape-eating ritual.

Osouji is one of Japan’s New Year’s Eve superstitions

Japan, Joya no Kane, tradition, ringing temple bells, 108 times
Photo: Shutterstock

In Japan, the Joya no Kane tradition involves ringing temple bells 108 times at the stroke of midnight.

The number 108 is considered significant in Buddhism, symbolizing the 108 human desires that lead to suffering.

By ringing the bells, it is believed that people can rid themselves of these desires and start the New Year with a fresh, cleansed slate, free from the burdens of the past.

This ritual is observed at Buddhist temples across Japan, with the resonating sound echoing through the crisp New Year’s air.

Wear yellow underwear for happiness in Colombia

Colombia, Yellow underwear, happiness, celebration, MundoNOW
Photo: Shutterstock

One popular custom in Colombia involves wearing yellow underwear for good luck and prosperity in the coming year.

The bright color is believed to bring financial success and happiness, symbolizing optimism and a positive outlook.

Alongside this tradition, another common practice is leaving an empty suitcase outside your front door.

This is thought to ensure a year filled with travel and adventure. As the clock strikes midnight, the streets are filled with people adorned in yellow, carrying the collective hopes of prosperity.

New Year’s Eve superstitions include jumping seven waves in Brazil

Brazil, Jumping, seven waves, boy, superstitions
Photo: Shutterstock

One of the most fun New Year’s traditions in Brazil is a coastal tradition known as ‘pulando as sete ondas’, which translates to ‘jumping seven waves.’

Revelers head to the beach and, as the clock approaches midnight, jump over seven waves while making New Year’s wishes.

Each wave represents a day of the week, and the ritual is believed to bring good luck and blessings for the upcoming week.

This tradition blends the joy of New Year’s celebrations with the natural beauty of Brazil’s coastline, creating a festive and vibrant atmosphere for locals and visitors alike.

Embrace round shapes for abundance in the Philippines

Philippines, Round Shapes, Abundance, New years, holiday
Photo: Shutterstock

In the Philippines, welcoming the New Year involves a feast of round-shaped fruits.

The roundness symbolizes coins and wealth, and the belief is that by consuming these fruits, people attract prosperity and financial success.

It’s common to see dining tables adorned with an assortment of round fruits like grapes, oranges and melons.

Families gather around to partake in this tradition, hoping that the circular forms will bring about a bountiful and prosperous year ahead.

Eat black-eyed peas for good luck in the U.S.

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Photo: Shutterstock

In the Southern United States, there’s a New Year’s superstition that consuming black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings good luck and prosperity for the coming year.

The belief is that these humble legumes symbolize coins and eating them ensures financial blessings.

Many families incorporate black-eyed peas into their New Year’s meals.

They often serve other symbolic foods like greens and cornbread, each carrying its own significance for health, wealth and happiness.

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