How do people celebrate New Year around the world?

On 31st December, the festivities hit places around the world at slightly different times too, due to the time differences across the world.

Check out some of these unusual traditions from around the world!

Generally, whenever they take place, New Year traditions are designed to bring luck and good fortune in the year ahead.

Find out below how people may be celebrating the start of 2017 all over the world.

Big fireworks displays

One of the most popular ways to celebrate seeing in the New Year is with big fireworks displays.

These take place all over the world, as different countries hit midnight.

Fireworks on Auckland Sky Tower
An amazing fireworks display takes place at Auckland Sky Tower in New Zealand

In New Zealand, crowds gather at Auckland Sky Tower in the capital for an impressive fireworks display, and the same happens in Sydney Harbour in Australia.

In Toronto in Canada, people gather in Nathan Phillips Square, while in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, people flock to the city's famous Copacabana beach to watch the sky being lit up by fireworks.

Fireworks at Copacabana beach
Here is a picture of a display at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro

Smashing plates

If you came out of your front door to find a load of smashed plates, you might be a bit confused.

Smashed plate
If you were celebrating New Year in Denmark, it would be a good thing if you found this on your doorstep

But that's exactly what people in Denmark hope to find after midnight, as it means good luck.

So, if you were Danish, you might go and smash a plate on a friend's doorstep to bring good luck over the next 12 months.

Eating lentils

In Brazil, there is a tradition to eat lentils at New Year, as these represent money - meaning good fortune for the year ahead!

Brazil, people will eat in lentils in the hope of having good fortunes in the new year

Dropping things

In New York in the US, huge crowds of people head to Times Square to count down to midnight.

But the thing that everyone is looking forward to is called the ball drop, which is when a glowing ball is lowered down a big flagpole, to signal the start of the new year.

Ball in Times Square that does the ball drop on New Year's Eve
Here is a picture of the ball that moves down the flag pole in New York, reaching the bottom as the clock hits midnight

As a result, other cities in the US now have their own traditions of dropping things on New Year's Eve.

In Vincennes in Indiana, people drop watermelons from high up!

Visiting friends first

In Scotland, people go "first-footing", which is where they aim to be the first person to step foot in their friends' or family's homes after the clock has struck midnight.

People going first-footing
This picture from 1876 shows people "first-footing" in Scotland

You might take a gift if you go to do this.

Fortune telling with metal

Don't try this at home yourself!

In some countries including Finland, there is a tradition of melting a special metal and dropping it in cold water. The metal will make a shape in the water when it cools.

People then try to read the shape of the metal to tell them something about their future.


For example, if it makes the shape of a flower, it could mean they have an unknown admirer.

Eating grapes

When the clocks hit midnight in Spain, you'll find people reaching for grapes.

This is because there is a tradition to eat one grape each time the clock strikes at midnight.

In Spain, there is a tradition to eat grapes on each stroke of midnight

The idea is that this will bring you 12 lucky months in the year ahead.

Dressing up as bears

In Romania, there's a tradition for people to dress up as dancing bears to chase away any evil spirits.

Romanian children dressed up as bears
Romanian children can be seen dressing up as bears to celebrate New Year

This is because bears are special according to old Romanian stories and are able to protect and heal people.

Ringing bells

Some countries, like Japan and South Korea, ring bells to start the New Year.

Japanese man helps son to ring a bell
This man is helping his three-year-old son to ring a bell in Tokyo on 31 December

In Japan, the bells are rung 108 times, so you can expect it to be quite noisy!

Throwing furniture

In Johannesburg in South Africa, people like to start the year without any unwanted items.

Chairs on the street
In Johannesburg, people use the new year as a reason to chuck out old furniture

They do this by throwing old furniture out of the window.

Walking an empty suitcase - yes, really!

In some South American countries, you might see some people on New Year's Eve walking around with an empty suitcase.

Boys carrying a suitcase
If you want to have adventures in the year ahead, in some parts of South America there is a tradition to try to make this happen

Some believe that taking what is called a "suitcase walk" means they will have a year full of adventures ahead.


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