* Spain: The Spanish New Year’s tradition is to eat 12 grapes at midnight to signify good luck achieved for the next 12 months of the year.
* Japan: The Japanese ring in the New Year, literally. There is a traditional temple bell-ringing ceremony held across the country. Bells are rung 108 times to represent the cleansing of 108 desires and anxieties and a new beginning.
* Brazil: Among several South American countries, the colour of the underwear can seal your fate for the next year. And if you must know, red underwear is worn for romance and to find love, green for good health, golden-hued undies for prosperity and white underwear for peace.
* Switzerland: Ever dropped your ice cream and regretted it? Well, the Swiss do it every New Year’s Eve. They believe that a dollop of ice cream on the floor will bring prosperity and good luck.
* France: The French usher the new year in style with a feast consisting of a stack of pancakes, champagne and foie gras. The feast is believed to bring prosperity and good luck to those attending the dinner.
* Denmark: If you have ever jumped up in joy, you will understand the Danes. In Denmark, people climb on top of chairs and literally jump at midnight to bring good luck and banish evil spirits. And crockery smashing is also a tradition
* Chile: This relatively new tradition in Chile involves families spending the night in the company of deceased loved ones by sleeping at the cemetery. It started when a family jumped over the cemetery fence to get to their deceased father’s grave and spend New Year’s Eve with him. It is believed to bring peace to the soul.
* Ireland: The Irish believe that you can bang away good luck. So, on New Year’s Eve, they hit the walls of their house with bread to get rid of evil spirits and bad luck.
* South Africa: If you are in South Africa, beware. The New Year custom in Johannesburg is to throw furniture and appliances out of the windows of tall buildings. It has been voted as one of the strangest customs worldwide.
The original article was published in the Hindustan Times.
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