My preferred way of celebrating the arrival of a new year is to spend the evening playing board games, indulging in Maine lobster stew, and snacking on appetizers.

Around the world people celebrate New Year’s Eve religious or superstitious traditions. I’ve assembled 22 I found interesting.

1. In Finland people cast molten metal into a container of water. They read the shape the metal takes once it’s cooled. For instance, a ring means a wedding in the New Year.

2. To honor Yemoja, the Queen of the Ocean, Brazilians light white candles and throw white flowers into the water.

3. Some countries, like Ecuador, parade scarecrows made to look like politicians around the city. At midnight the scarecrows are burned to cleanse the new year of evil.

4. Major cities in the United States have elaborate events. One is the crystal ball dropping in Times Square in New York City as thousands gather to watch and millions more watch from their televisions.

5. This is one to try this year! Spaniards eat one white grape at each of the 12 bell strikes at midnight to bring a year full of prosperity.

6. Speaking of white, it’s customary in Rio de Janerio to wear white on New Year’s Eve to attract peace.

7. In the Philippines, they fling open the doors and windows to symbolize letting out the old year and welcoming in the new!

8. This one is called “first footing”. In Scotland, the first person crossing your threshold should be a dark-haired male bearing gifts of coal, whiskey, salt, and shortbread to ensure good luck the following year.

9. The Dutch eat balls of fried dough called Oliebollen. The German goddess Perchta, the Belly Slitter, would try to slit their stomachs and fill them with trash to punish them for not celebrating Yuletide enough. The fat from the dough is said to make the sword slide off.

10. Get out your red underwear! In Italy, it’s said wearing red underwear helps the chance of conceiving as red symbolizes fertility.

11. In Chile, church services are held in cemeteries so family and friends can sit with their deceased loved ones.

12.  Just after midnight, Greeks smash a pomegranate on their front door. The number of seeds scattered correlates to the amount of abundance in the coming year.

13. Joyanokane is the tradition of ringing temple bells 107 times on New Year’s Eve and once at midnight to rid the 108 evil desires said to be in every person.

14. Russians write their wishes on paper, burn them, then drink the ashes in a glass of champagne.

15. In Armenia best wishes are figuratively kneaded into every batch of bread baked on the last day of the year.

16. In Ireland it’s thought that sleeping with mistletoe under their pillow will help women dream of their future husband.

17. For good luck, eat “Hoppin’ John, a dish made of peas, rice, and pork.

18. Throwing a bucket of water out the window in Latin America symbolizes leaving the past behind you.

19. Shout “Happy New Year!” at midnight and then kiss.

20. In Estonia, the more times you eat, the more plentiful food will be in the coming year!

21. To increase good fortune, Bolivians believe they should wear yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve.

22. We may not know the words, but we at least hum along to Auld Lang Syne!

I wish everyone the best for a bright New Year 2022.

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