Have you ever wondered what’s going on in other countries while we’re sipping, sparkling, celebrating and arm crossing for Auld Lang Syne? Well, many of them aren’t following suit, that’s for sure!

In fact, our new year traditions are decidedly tame in comparison to some of the shenanigans in other countries when the clock strikes midnight on 31st December.

Let’s take a look at how the new year is welcomed in weird and wonderful ways across the globe.

How the New Year is Celebrated in Other Cultures

  • Plate Smashing in Denmark – The Greeks do it at weddings. But the Danes do it to start a new year off right, by sending a thoughtful plate hurtling towards the front doors of their loved ones. The more broken crockery on your doorstep on New Years Day, the more fortune will favour you in the year ahead. Smashing!
  • Scarecrow Burning in Ecuador – The Ecuadorians liven up New Year’s Eve by igniting scarecrows with photographs hidden in their stuffing. Not just any old photographs, but photographs with unhappy memories attached to them. The tradition is thought to purge the bad luck and negative experiences of the outgoing year. Burn, baby, burn!
  • Chucking Furniture Out of the Window in Italy – In towns and cities across Italy, there’s no better way to turn over a new leaf than by throwing old furniture out of the window and out of your life. Soft furnishings only though, like old cushions and throws. No flying TVs!
  • Going Round in Circles in the Philippines – There’s no edge on the Filipino new year celebrations. They enjoy curvilinear mirth and merriment, surrounded by only round things that don’t have straight lines of corners. From globular grapes to spherical CDs, anything orbicular represents prosperity and success. You could call it a wheel of fortune!  
  • Pulling on Coloured Undies in South America – Red for love. Yellow for wealth. White for peace. There’s no saucier way to ring in 2023 than by matching your smalls to the type of good fortune you’re wishing for. It’s not a pants tradition at all!


From all of us at at La Academia, here’s to celebrating wherever you are, and toasting a bright new year. Get in touch for all your cultural and language learning needs in 2023 and beyond.