New Year’s Eve Traditions From Around the Globe

Although the new year is a time to start fresh and accomplish new year’s resolutions, there are many New Year’s Eve traditions from around the world that remain constant amidst the focus on resetting and starting over. In the United States, many people celebrate by watching the ball drop and kissing their beloveds at midnight. However, other countries have their own New Year’s Eve traditions that have stuck, like these seven awesome celebrations from across the globe. Let’s explore these traditions from Taiwan, Spain, South Africa, and more!


Scots have celebrated the Hogmanay at the New Year festival throughout history to ring in the new year. In Scotland, the month of December is full of traditions, especially those involving sugar and whiskey, but the most memorable traditions are the fire festivals. The Scots rid of evil spirits through an epic fire festival featuring closed baskets full of secret material that burns brightly for a very long time. Scots make sure that they ward off all negative energy by partying through the morning of January 1!


Full of rich history, Spain exudes charm and beautiful traditions that bring the country together, especially on New Year’s Eve. By eating twelve grapes at midnight, the Spanish believe that they will have good luck for the year to come. The twelve grapes are eaten as twelve chimes from old church clock towers resonate throughout Spanish towns; one grape is eaten for each of midnight’s twelve chimes. There are a variety of ways that the Spanish practice their grape consumption. Some even eat all grapes at once! No matter how they decide to enjoy their grapes, the Spanish never eat them early as this is thought to bring bad luck!


Serving as a New Year’s Eve tradition and political statement, Ecuador’s viejos are scarecrow-esque statues that are stuffed with newspapers and old photos. They wear masks of dislike figures and serve to diminish bad memories of the previous year. The viejos are also thought to ward off bad luck to start a new year of good energy while making a statement at the same time.

South Africa

In South Africa, everyone is out with the old and with the new, literally. South Africans have a tradition of making room for new belongings by disposing of their old items from toasters, to, televisions, to pieces of furniture off of tall buildings! According to The Africa Report, one South African even threw his entire bed right off of his balcony!


Colors have been associated with different values for centuries, like giving red roses as a romantic gesture or yellow roses for optimism and friendship. In Brazil, colors are an integral component of New Year’s Eve celebrations. Brazilians wear white as the base of their New Year’s Eve outfits, but their undergarments (worn on top of their white clothing!) bring the real excitement. Wearing yellow and red? Fortune and love could be in your future. How about a green bikini? Good health is coming your way. If you’re longing for peace, wear an all-white outfit for a more serene new year.


In Taiwan, New Year’s Eve is focused around spending time with loved ones and honoring ancestors for their protection and blessings. New Year’s Eve is a time of appreciation for the past in Taiwan rather than a celebration of the future. During the traditional Taiwanese New Year’s Eve family dinner, empty place settings are set for family members that are unable to come home for the holiday to ensure they are there in spirit for the celebration.


If you’re looking for an excuse to break dishes, head to Denmark for New Year’s Eve to embrace their stress-relieving tradition of destroying broken china. Throughout the year, friends gather their damaged china to throw at each other’s doors on New Year’s Eve. Apparently, the more broken dishes at your door, the better! Cleaning on New Year’s Day has never been more exciting.

No matter how you celebrated New Year’s Eve, VelaPoint Insurance wishes you a happy new year full of health, happiness, and safety. Learn how you can protect your family in 2019 with affordable health insurance to keep them safe and sound. Call 855-548-0727 to speak with a licensed VelaPoint agent about our health care plans today!