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New Year’s around the world

  SAN ANTONIO- New Year’s Eve has a similar definition in everyone’s mind. The celebration of the end of the year usually comes with some traditions, but it varies between cultures. Here are 10 New Year’s Eve traditions from different cultures.  
  • 1. The Ball Drop – U.S.
In the metropolitan city of New York, millions of Americans either gather in Times Square or turn on their televisions to watch the ball drop. The tradition has been practiced since 1907 and was created to circulate attention to the New York Times’s new headquarters. Ever since, it has been a world-renowned spectacle, taking its place as one of the most popular New Year’s Eve celebrations.  
  • 2. Eating Twelve Grapes – Spain
In Spain, people kick off the new year by eating 12 grapes to symbolize each strike of the clock. The tradition of Las doce uvas de la suerte (the 12 lucky grapes) began in the late 1800s and is believed to ward off evil. Additionally, the action is thought to increase the chances of a thriving, fortunate new year. However, according to the lore, it will only work if all twelve grapes are consumed before the clock finishes striking midnight.
  • 3. Eating Soba Noodles – Japan
The residents of Japan greet the new year with a welcoming bowl of soba noodles. Due to the noodles’ thinness, length and firmness, soba is easy to chew, so people believe eating them indicates the end of the previous year. The exercise dates to the Kamakura period, best known for the emergence of the samurai, warrior caste system and feudalism in Japan. It is also tied to the Buddhist temple giving noodles to the poor.
  • 4. Celebrating with a Towering Cake – Norway and Denmark
The Scandinavian countries of Norway and Denmark celebrate New Year’s Eve by eating Kransekake, a standard ring-shaped cake with 18 layers. The layers are held together with a white royal icing. The origin of this confection traces to the 18th century when a baker first created it in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. Ever since these countries have honored the new year through a delicious dessert.
  • 5 .Throwing Old Plates – Denmark
Over in the North Sea, the country of Denmark has some interesting New Year’s Eve traditions. The locals throw plates at their friends and family to commemorate the new year. They don’t do this out of violence but out of celebration, as the tradition is meant to bring loved ones good luck in the new year. Belief says that the more broken plates and dishware on the doorstep of a Danish home, the greater their luck will be.
  • 6. Serving Twelve Round Fruits – The Philippines
Families celebrate New Year’s Eve in the Philippines by serving 12 round fruits. Produce like plums, apples, and grapes are often used. They do this because round fruits are believed to represent prosperity due to their shape. The structure reflects a coin, which symbolizes wealth and fortune. As for the number of fruits, they are indicative of each month of the year.
  • 7. Hanging an Onion Outside the Door – Greece
In the Mediterranean country of Greece, citizens hang an onion outside their door to celebrate the new year. Tradition claims that onions signify fertility and growth, as well as luck. Onions can sprout on their own, so they are a staple of abundance. After church service on New Year’s Day, Grecians hurry home to hang their onions in hopes of the new year being a prosperous one.
  • 8. Placing potatoes under the bed – Colombia
In South America, Colombian households celebrate New Year’s Eve through a tradition called Agüero, in which three potatoes are placed under each family member’s bed, one peeled, one unpeeled and one peeled partially. Come midnight, and each person reaches for one with their eyes closed. Depending on which potato they select, they can either expect good fortune, financial struggle, or a combination of both.
  • 9. Banging bread against the walls – Ireland
The Irish commemorate New Year’s Eve through the act of banging bread against the walls. They use loaves of Christmas bread, which they slam against the walls and doors throughout the home. They do this to ward off evil spirits and prepare for a healthy and thriving new year.
  • 10. Colored underwear – Mexico
The residents in Mexico celebrate New Year’s Eve wearing different colored underwear. Red-colored underwear stands for love and passion, yellow for prosperity and happiness, green for wealth and well-being and white for hope and peace. Mexican women only practice this ritual, men do not usually partake in this tradition.
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