Here’s our guide to the most spectacular, superstitious and bizarre New Year’s Eve traditions. We’ve tried to avoid the most well-known rituals, instead we’ll focus on lesser-known gems. These might give you the inspiration to try something a little different to round off the year. Well perhaps not, but they’re funny anyhow.
Rural Québec – Ice fishing!
You can forget your fireworks, your firecrackers; spend your night with a mate on one of Quebec’s most spectacular sheets of ice! What better way to bring in the New Year by fooling an unsuspecting trout. Does this tradition have an interesting history? Probably, but we aren’t sure. Whatever the origins of this ritual, it beats paying £12 for a double.
Rural Italy – Launching chairs, pots and furniture from your window at midnight.
A rejection of the old in favour of the new! What an incredible excuse to get rid of the “non-stick” frying pan your nan got you a few months prior. “Grandmother dear… what I lack in cookware, I now more than make up for in hope, happy new year!.”
Chile – Yellow underwear, lentils and a night in a graveyard.
Chile is known for wine, beautiful mountains and the gifted midfielder Arturo Vidal. What you may not know is that on 31st December, many Chileans choose to wear yellow clothes, particularly yellow undergarments, as it is said to restore vitality to your life! Lentils also bring good luck and, like in Spain, twelve grapes symbolise a wish for each month of the year. In Talca, locals often choose to camp in a graveyard on the night of the 31st, which is thought to have come from a time when a family decided to spend a night with their recently deceased father. Odd, yet sort of pleasant.
Ecuador – Effigies and “sexy dancing”
Possibly the greatest NYE tradition of all time. In Ecuador, many men dress up in drag with the intention of looking horrendous. They apply clown-like makeup, absurd wigs and wear ridiculous miniskirts. This is supposed to represent the “widow” of the year that is about to pass. These “widows” then parade on the streets and stop passing cars. Their purpose; to amuse with a parody of sexy dancing. Across the nation, citizens also burn giant effigies of politicians and celebrities. This represents the death of the old year and the birth of the new.
Romania – Bear costumes
Yeah, just people on the booze storming around dressed as bears. Subtle but effective.
Portugal – It gets serious
The tradition is to drink champagne and eat twelve raisins, obviously one raisin per month. What’s also interesting… the Bolo-Rei – a round cake with a hole in the centre. The cake contains raisins, nuts and crystallised fruit. Inside is hidden a fava (simply a broad bean). Tradition maintains that whoever finds the fava has to pay for the Bolo-Rei next year. A small prize (usually a small toy) is also included in the centre but fairly recently the inclusion of the prize was forbidden by the European Union for safety reasons. Curse you, bureaucrats!