20 Lucky New Year’s Traditions from Around the World
Looking for every—and any—New Year’s charm that’ll bring you the luck you lust after? Take inspiration from these January 1 customs from around the world and we promise you’ll have your best year yet!
South Korea: Soup for the soul
There’s nothing like a hot bowl of soup to warm the soul in the winter, but South Korea’s tteokguk, dish made of broth, rice cakes, meat, and vegetables, is imperative to the country’s New Year traditions. South Korean New Year, known as Seollal, usually falls in late January or early February, and the soup is believed to bring those who eat it good luck in the new year, according to Culture Trip.
Turkey: Smash pomegranates
This one feels festive but messy. In Turkey, locals smash pomegranates on their doorways for New Year’s. The belief is that your good fortune in the coming year is directly proportional to the number of seeds that fly out of the fruit upon impact, so put some aggression behind that throw! Staying close to home this holiday? These are the best cities in America to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
Finland: Cast some metal
If you’re feeling crafty, do as the Finnish do to predict what is to come in the year ahead. In Finland, locals cast molten tin into water, carefully inspecting the shape it takes once it has hardened. An animal might mean there will be an abundance of food, while a heart could forecast love in the coming year.
Germany: Eat a sugar pig
Germans believe that pigs equal wealth, so for New Year’s, it’s commonplace to eat glücksschwein, a pig-shaped candy, for a dose of luck in your wallet. Made from marzipan, they’re both adorable and sweet, and they’re thought to bring good luck for the year ahead. Make your own luck with these 13 tips from people who actually kept their New Year’s resolutions.
Romania: Toss a coin
It might seem counterintuitive to literally throw your money away, but in Romania, that’s exactly what they do for good luck at the start of a new year. Don’t worry—they aren’t emptying their bank accounts. However, it’s believed that tossing a coin in a river will bring you luck throughout the year.
Bolivia: Bake coins into sweets
Bolivia has a sweet (and profitable) New Year’s tradition. Coins are baked into cakes for a festive activity. The person who receives the slice with the coin is thought to have a prosperous year ahead. Baked goods and good luck? That does seem like an embarrassment of riches. You’re setting yourself up for failure if you make these 15 New Year’s resolutions that are impossible to keep.
Italy: Eat lentils
Move over, pasta. It’s lentils that take center stage on New Year’s in Italy. These legumes are thought to bring good luck for the coming 365 days, thanks to the fact that they resemble coins. According to Culture Trip, the lentils are typically paired with pork sausage, a fatty meat rich in flavor that also evokes a prosperous sentiment.
Burma: Wash away bad luck
The Burmese take part in the Thingyan Water Festival at the start of their new year, which occurs in April, to wash away any bad luck they may have previously experienced. During the Buddhist holiday, the streets of Burma are busy with revelers basking in sprinklers to ensure plenty of good fortune in the future. Check out these quirky New Year’s Eve travel destinations.
Estonia: Eating for seven
If you think Thanksgiving consists of a gluttonous meal, wait until you hear what Estonians do for good luck on New Year’s Eve. Their tradition is to eat at least seven meals on December 31 (though some consume even more). According to custom, this means that they will harness the strength of seven men in the new year. Plus, if you celebrate with a bounty of food, the abundance is thought to carry into the next rotation around the sun.
Ireland: Bang bread against the walls
Forget coming together to break bread, the Irish believe in banging their carbs against the walls on New Year’s. The act is supposed to chase away bad luck and evil spirits, enabling good luck to be invited in. It’s also believed that this will help bring a bounty of bread and food in the coming year. You’ll want to start these 13 life-changing New Year’s resolutions you’ll want to keep forever.