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New Year’s Eve in the United States is marked by champagne flutes, midnight kisses and the famous ball drop in Time Square to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne.” People around the world, however, celebrate the passing of another year and the start of a new one with different customs—and sometimes, those traditions can seem a little strange. Get inspired to plan an exciting 2017 trip and maybe even add to your own holiday traditions with all these fun and interesting ways to mark New Year’s Eve from around the world.

RELATED: Make a resolution to travel more—we’ll kill your every excuse not to.

New Year's project: make mosaics with these broken dishes

New Year’s project: make mosaics with these broken dishes


As part of a traditional New Year’s Eve celebration in Denmark, people save chipped and unwanted dishes to throw at their friends’ front doors overnight. So basically, waking up to a pile of broken plates on your doorstep in this northern European country is a sign of your popularity. The bad news is those friends don’t often return to help you clean up the mess.

Clean and tidy house, ready for the near year

Clean and tidy house, ready for the near year

Puerto Rico

If you are a neat freak you might find New Year’s Eve in Puerto Rico to be paradise. Before any of the evening celebrations begin, Puerto Ricans start the day by cleaning their homes top to bottom. After that, don’t forget about the yard work and washing the car. This cleaning spree comes from a belief that if a person and their surroundings are in good condition when January arrives, that tidiness will be destined for the rest of the year. Cuba has a similar tradition: Clean your house, then throw the dirty mop water out the window. It’s all part of a grand gesture to show you are done with the past year and any negativity that came with it.

Belgian cattle...feeling #blessed

Belgian cattle…feeling #blessed


Farmers in rural Belgium make it a point to bless their cattle as the New Year approaches. Tradition says this will bring them good luck for the coming year. Just don’t try this in Romania where successful communication with cows on New Year’s will bring a year of bad luck.

ALSO: Make earning Orbucks your new tradition—they’re good on tens of thousands of hotels!

She's got the technique down

She’s got the technique down


If you ever find yourself in Spain on December 31, let’s hope you like grapes. It’s customary to stock up on grapes before New Year’s Eve and when the clock hits midnight, eat a grape for each toll of the clock. It’s not as easy as it sounds. This fruit-loving custom dates back more than 100 years and according to tradition, eating grapes leads to a year of prosperity and wards off evil.

More travel sounds like the perfect fortune

We see travel in your future


The New Year in Finland is kicked off with some fortune telling. It’s tradition that people take tin trinkets shaped like miniature horseshoes for good luck, melt them, and then pour the liquid metal into buckets of cold water. The metal solidifies quickly and the owner will examine it to determine what its features say about the coming year. If the cast breaks into pieces, that’s a sign of bad luck.

New year, more trips

New year, more trips


Colombians have the right idea about what they want in the New Year. If you find yourself in Cartagena, Bogota or any other Colombian city over New Year’s, you might spot people bolting of out their homes with a suitcase in hand just after midnight. Tradition says you will be guaranteed to travel in the coming year if you do this. Just remember to take the first step with your suitcase on your right foot to ensure happy travels—then you’re ready to book a flight!


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Tagged: Caribbean, Europe

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Kristen Mitchell

Kristen Mitchell

Kristen is a writer based in St. Petersburg, Florida
Kristen Mitchell

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