1. Denmark: Let the Dishes Hit the Floor
Residents of Denmark have been known to throw dishes (don’t worry, not the good china) at their neighbor’s doors. The more broken dishes, the more good luck you are thought to have in the upcoming year!
2. Brazil: Wet T-Shirt Contest for All
Brazilians celebrate by dressing in all white on New Year’s Eve to symbolize peace and spend their evening partying on the beach. When the clock strikes midnight, they run to the ocean and bestow various offerings upon Lemanja, the goddess of the sea, so that she may open up paths in their lives.
3. Germany: Molten Metal Fortune-Telling
Bleigießen, one of Germany’s most prized customs, is celebrated on New Year’s by melting a morsel of lead, dropping it into cold water, and telling fortunes from the shape it forms.
4. Estonia: The Strength of 7-12 Men
In Estonia, the people eat 7, 9 or 12 meals a day. These are lucky numbers in Estonia, and it is believed that you will gain the strength of as many meals as you eat on New Year’s.
5. North America: Black Eyed Peas (No, Not the Band)
Inspired by southern culture, many Americans celebrate the New Year by eating black eyed peas and collard greens. The pea’s “eye” represents looking into the future, and it is believed to bring good luck to those who eat them. Eating leafy greens supposedly brings money and prosperity as well.
6. France: The Midnight Harvest
In the Hautes-Pyrénées village of Viella, the townspeople attend a midnight mass on New Year’s Eve, after which they set out to the vineyards to pick grapes for the first wine of the year.
7. Bolivia: Hot Pants
Bolivia is one of many countries that rings in the New Year by wearing lucky bright (generally red) underpants.
8. Mexico: Great Grapes
In Mexico (as well as many other Spanish-speaking countries), eating a grape and making a wish for every chime of the clock at midnight on New Year’s Day is a widely practiced custom.
9. Hungary: Burning Man
In Hungary, crowds gather on New Year’s Eve to burn a “Jack Straw” — a sort of scarecrow-like figure which represents all the evils of the past year.
10. Venezuela: Nothing but the Bolívars, Baby
In Venezuela, to bring wealth in the New Year, it’s common to hold a bill of high value while toasting at midnight.
11. Switzerland: Just a Dollop
In some parts of Switzerland, it is believed that a dollop of cream propped on the floor will bring good luck and wealth.