As I’ve done with other Top Ten lists, one of these is fake and the first person to pick the right one can have a paperback or Kindle version of one of my books. (Yes, I realize that’s not a big incentive and might in fact scare some people away)
10. Wearing Colorful Underwear: In many Latin American Countries, as well as Spain and Italy, wearing different color underwear is supposed to bring different kinds of luck or prosperity in the new year. White is thought to bring peace and harmony, and red obviously is for love and romance. I wonder what purple does for you? (asking for a friend)
9. Plate smashing in Denmark? Apparently people in Denmark smash dishes and plates on their neighbors doors to bring good luck. Really? That sounds like vandalism to me. I wonder if I could get away with doing that here in the States. I’ll just tell the police that I’m Danish.
8. Ecuador Effigies: In Ecuador they burn effigies, called año viejo (the old year), of public figures like actors, music stars or politicians at midnight in order to banish any bad luck or ill-will from the previous year. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that I’d love the idea of people burning a scarecrow of me. I’d be worrying what comes next.
7. Beware Falling Furniture: At midnight in South Africa people throw their old appliances and furniture out the window. Man, what I wouldn’t give to be a furniture salesman on January 1st!
6. April New Year’s in Thailand? April 13th-15th is the start of the New Year in Thailand because that is the start of the New Year for their religion, Theravada Buddhism. They celebrate by having a big water fight, believing that symbolically throwing water on each others washes away bad luck. Now that’s a New Year’s tradition I’d enjoy! Where I live, if we threw water on each other on New Year’s Day, everyone would get frostbite.
5. In Bangladesh, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: The New Year is celebrated by everyone in the family eating a pastry, with wine, at midnight. If you find a coin in your pastry, you will have good fortune in the coming year. Yikes! That sounds dangerous. I hope they’re chocolate coins!
4. The Psychic Germans! In Germany they melt small pieces of lead in a spoon over a flame, then pour the melted metal into cold water. The shapes formed by the Bleigießen (lead pouring) reveal how good their coming year will be. If the lead forms a ball, luck is going to roll your way. If it’s the shape of a crown, that means good luck with money, while a star signifies happiness and a cross will bring death. Wow, that is kind of terrible isn’t it?
3. Travel Insurance in Colombia: In Colombia you might think that once the clock strikes midnight everyone is trying to flee the country because you’ll see people running around their house or even their entire block with a suitcase. They believe that doing so will ensure good travels in the coming year.
2. All The Single Ladies in Ireland…are hoping he’ll put a ring on it. Apparently the single women in Ireland put mistletoe (which apparently wasn’t effective at Christmas) under their pillows and then burn it in a fire the next day hoping to lure the love of their life. Geez, I hope they take it out from under their pillow before setting it on fire. If I’m in Ireland and I meet a girl who likes to set things on fire, I am probably going to run the other direction.
1. Some people Like their grapes in wine…: This one was contributed by my friend, international travel writer Bel Woodhouse (follow her on IG @thetravelbag.guru) In Mexico they eat 12 grapes at midnight. Some eat them one with each toll of the bell to bring good luck in the coming year. What happens if you have a grape allergy? Are those people just out of luck? That doesn’t sound like a fair tradition. Personally, I’ll just drink enough wine to ensure that I’ve taken in 12 grapes. That’s at least one bottle, right?
Ok, remember that I said one of these was made up? The first person to guess it in the comments gets a free paperback or Kindle copy of one of my books. Happy New Year to each and every one of you. I’d better get going if I want to squeeze all ten of these traditions at midnight! ~Phil