10 Unusual and Wacky New Year's Eve Traditions Around the World

Want to try something different this New Year's Eve? All around the globe humans celebrate NYE in very unique and weird ways.

Fireworks in Naples New Years Eve
Fireworks over Naples to celebrate New Year's Eve Alexandro Auler/Corbis/Getty

New Year's Eve in the U.S. usually means one thing: getting liquored up. That's about as far as tradition goes. But spend December 31st somewhere else on the planet and you may encounter some other zany customs along with your Champagne to ring in the new year. Find out below where you can burn an effigy, fire heavy things out of a window, or even talk to farm animals.

Bethlehem, PA

Everyone knows about the big ball drop in Times Square on New Year's Eve. But over in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, they do something even better: they slowly drop a 400-pound version of everyone's least favorite Easter candy: Peeps.

Chile

Chileans, particularly in the town of Talca, like to party with the dead. About two decades ago, a family in the town hopped the fence of a closed cemetery so they could pay homage and say "Happy New Year" to their dead father. A new tradition was born. Today people in town congregate in cemeteries, around the graves of their loved ones. Wine, champagne, and bottles of other booze are breached, and the party is on.

New Years Eve Colombia suitcase
Even empty suitcases are an indication of the travels people intend to take in Colombia. istmylisa/Getty

Colombia

Like traveling? We do. That's why we should all travel to Colombia. Some people of this lovely South American country will do a curious New Year's Eve ritual to help provoke a year of ample travel adventures. When the clock strikes 12, the wanderlust-stricken Colombians will walk or jog around their house or a building with an empty suitcase—hoping, of course, that in the coming year that suitcase will be full at some point.

Ecuador New Years Eve
In Quito, people take part in Ecuador's traditional New Year custom of burning dummies representing prominent politicians, sport personalities and artists in the belief that it brings good luck for the following year. Juan Cevallos/ AFP/Getty

Ecuador

The Ecuadorians have a hot New Year's Eve tradition: they make effigies of people who represented the outgoing year—politicians, celebrities, etc.—and then burn them. Meanwhile, men in drag, said to represent the widows of the burned effigies (but who knows?), trudge through the streets asking people for small change.

Lead pouring Germany New Years eve
The shapes of the lead can tell you what the new year could hold. LYagovy/Getty

Germany

In some parts of this Central European nation, they do bleigiessen, or lead pouring. Pour a dollop of molten lead in cold water and whatever shape forms may be telling about the year to come. A heart shape, naturally, means love will come your way. A crown signifies that wealth and fortune is in your near future. A star indicates happiness. But if you see a cross in the lead? You're as good as dead!

Latin America New Years Eve tradition
A woman shops for yellow underwear in Medellin, Colombia. Wearing yellow underwear on New Year's Eve is a traditional superstition across Latin America. Joaquin Sarmiento/ AFP/Getty

Latin America

If you're in Latin America, make sure you have some colorful underpants to ring in the new year. In countries such as Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, end-of-the-year partiers don colorful underwear to ensure certain types of outcomes for the following year. Red for love and yellow for success. What color are you going to wear?

Naples, Italy

Neapolitans like firing things out of windows. At least they do on New Year's Eve. Furniture, kitchen appliances, grandma. Well, maybe not the last one. Let's hope not, anyway. This tradition is meant to symbolize an out-with-the-old gesture and getting a brand new beginning for the new year. These days the people of this bustling southern Italian metropolis are a bit more mindful about what they toss down to the street below.

Phillippines New Years Eve
A time exposure photo created using sparklers shows children celebrating on New Year's eve in Manila. The circular figures are meant to bring prosperity in the New Year. Romeo Gacad/ AFP/Getty

The Philippines

The sanctity of circles is taken to the next level on New Year's Eve in the Philippines. People of this Southeast Asian country believe the circle brings prosperity and good fortune. So they trot out any-and-everything round for the coming year: coins, buttons, polka-dots, even grapes.

Romania

In this European country, farmers celebrate the coming year by conversing with their farm animals. At least they try. If they succeed in getting their beasts to be verbose, then it portends a prosperous year. Or perhaps they've just drunk too much booze.

Spain Grapes New Years Eve
The tradition of eating grapes on New Year's is celebrated widely through Spain, including in Tarragona, Spain where these red Grenache grapes grow. xfgiro/Getty

Spain

In 1909, winegrowers in the Alicante region of Spain had a brilliant idea: start and promote an annual tradition that would involve people having to buy and eat more grapes. They came up with a ploy that one must eat 12 grapes on New Year's Eve to encourage prosperity for the coming year. So, 111 years later, it's a popular custom in Iberia. But the rub is that one has to eat a grape for each bell strike at midnight.

10 Unusual and Wacky New Year's Eve Traditions Around the World | Culture