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New Years traditions that break the mould

New Year is one of the very few universally celebrated holidays. From East to West, people welcome the fortune of another year beginning. From eating grapes one-by-one, to animal whispering, we’ve explored some of the world’s most unique traditions in the hope of bringing in a year of good luck.

No matter your traditions, they all revolve around anticipating a happy and healthy new year - a sentiment we wish to every one of you! 

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Grapes in Portugal and Spain

To welcome in the new year, people in Portugal and Spain eat 12 grapes, one at a time, when the clock strikes midnight. One grape is eaten in the first 12 seconds of the new year, one for every strike of the clock. The grapes signify each individual month, so if the sixth grape is sour, June will be a difficult month. The luckiest person is the one with the sweetest grapes!

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Food polishing in Japan

Celebrating a new year in Japan isn’t all fun and games. Mochi, a Japanese rice cake, is made and eaten on the day. To make it, sweet rice is pounded until the grains are impossible to see, a strenuous process that usually starts the day before. Originally, it was eaten in order to strengthen your teeth and bones for the New Year. The word “Mochi” sounds similar to the word “to have” or “to hold” in Japanese, and signifies having good luck.


It is tradition in Estonia to eat seven meals on New Year’s Day. This stems from the age-old belief that if a man could eat 12 full meals, he could anticipate an abundance of food in the coming year. This tradition also apparently signifies that he has the strength of seven men.

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Things are plain and simple in Italy – wear red underwear at New Year and you’ll be sure to have good luck!

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People are always looking for new ways to reveal their future. In Germany they do so by melting small amounts of lead in a spoon over a candle, and once melted, pour the liquid into cold water. Supposedly, the strange shapes that appear reflect the kind of year you will have. For example, if it’s in the shape of a star it will bring happiness or if in the same of a crown, wealth.


You would assume that talking animals only appear in cartoons and our imagination. However, every year, farmers in Romania mark the New Year with the ritual of trying to understand their animals. If successful, it proves a lucky coming year. The question is, how do you know if you’re successful?

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