How do people celebrate New Years

International New Year's Eve customs

Rockets rise, the fireworks light up the night. People toast each other and wish a happy new year. Does the New Year look like this anywhere in the world? We track down the New Year's Eve customs in different countries. When it comes to tradition, there are almost no limits, let yourself be surprised.


Why do we actually call the New Year's Eve?

Exceptionally, this old tradition has no relation to biblical history. Nevertheless, it has something to do indirectly with the church: On December 31, 335, the then, roman pope named new year's eve. Since then, this day has been named in the saints calendar. However, the New Year is not celebrated internationally on the same day. In the western cultural area, however, January 1st has established itself as New Year's Day since the Middle Ages.

New Year's Eve customs in Germany

A very sociable form of New Year's Eve dinner is a cheesefondue. You can fill your bellies for hours and let the year fade away. A is just as delicious as it is cozy Raclette meal. Depending on your mood, your favorite ingredients end up in the small pan and baked with cheese. Then the time has come and the clock strikes 12! After a toast with sparkling wine, the so-called New Year'sDonutenough. These are usually filled with a jam, fruit puree, chocolate, liqueur or, in the worst case, with mustard. If the host is a joke, he has already ordered the common jam alternative from the baker he trusts and mixed it unnoticed with the harmless classics. If you catch the mustard-filled Berliner, you can look forward to a happy new year.

Pastime on New Year's Eve: pouring lead, crackers & Co.

In order to pass the time in Germany until the turn of the year, board games and future interpretations can be played. A traditional New Year's Eve custom is the so-called lead pouring, which was already practiced by the ancient Teutons. Pieces of lead are heated in a spoon over a flame until they are liquid. Then, in one quick movement, you tip the filling into cold water, where the piece of lead reshapes. Then it is taken out, examined and the shape is analyzed. Now figures can be seen in it, which are interpreted and interpreted. However, this ritual has been banned since 2018 - at least with lead. The reason for this is the new limit value for lead in products, which the European Union has set in the Chemicals Ordinance. Instead, there are now sets made of wax or pewter. They work the same way - without any harmful fumes. Snap peas, table fireworks and Crackers. If you pull the ends apart, small surprises and confetti fall out. Often times are included Lucky charm figures in the shape of pigs, four-leaf clover, baby bottles or horseshoes. They all symbolize something positive in the new year. The resulting bang is just like the fireworks and firecrackers a popular ritual in the form of light and, above all, noise generation, which used to be primarily the Driving out evil spirits served. Back then, noise was made with the help of pots, drums and the like. The first fireworks are said to come from China in the 12th century, the first German fireworks were there in 1506. Young people in particular like to go around the houses on New Year's Eve to light loud firecrackers. If you like it a little quieter, you can watch the black and white film classic on New Year's Eve "Dinner for one" look at. Incidentally, the original film actually comes from a German source, it is an NDR production. The original author of the play was the Briton Lauri Wylie, hence the English language and cast.

New Year's Eve traditions and their origins

As I am sure everyone knows, it is customary to give others a break on New Year's Eve "Happy New Year" to wish (into the new year). But that does not come from the symbol of slipping into the new year. Instead, it comes from the Yiddish “Rosh”, which means “beginning”. The "Happy New Year", which is often pronounced when drinking, means something similar and comes from Latin. After dinner and shortly before midnight, the last ten seconds are counted down at the New Year's Eve party and then toasted with sparkling wine, champagne or something similar. Also popular is the "Feuerzangenbowle" made famous from the film of the same name. It is considered a fraternization drink that is excellent to offer and is intended to ensure a stable community in the New Year. This is heated red wine flavored with rum, cloves, cinnamon and orange peel. Then you can watch fireworks while drinking or shoot rockets yourself and consider everyone in the vicinity with happy New Year's wishes.

New Year - The day after the party

The next day you can relax in bed or on the sofa, followed by a delicious leftover meal. If you feel like exercising, the traditional New Year's walk is ideal. What can hardly be avoided and also ensures some movement is cleaning the area of ​​fireworks debris. For very active people there is the New Year's run in the form of jogging together on January 1st and the New Year's bath, during which (despite the cold) people often go naked into the sea or a lake.

European New Year's Eve customs:


We know it like a hen party - the Danes smash dishes on New Year's Eve. You take a disused porcelain service and throw it in front of the door of the person you want to bring happiness to. According to this tradition, the more broken pieces, the more luck! At twelve o'clock sharp people jump from a chair, which should also support the coming year positively. On television, Danes like to watch the Queen's New Years address.


The biggest fireworks display in Europe takes place in London every year. It is set off on the Thames right next to the famous Giant Edge. A traditional song accompanies the spectacle: "Auld Lang Syne". It is sung at the turn of the year to commemorate deceased relatives, friends and acquaintances. All English people who are not there can watch the fireworks on TV. Traditionally, small, triangular tarts filled with minced meat are eaten on New Year's Eve. The special feature: Nobody prepares them for themselves, but gives them away to friends and relatives. This is said to bring good luck.


Old customs are still popular. The Greeks like it traditional and homemade. On New Year's Eve, bread is served in the land of Mediterranean cuisine, the so-called basil bread. But if you got a piece of it, you'd better not bite into it greedily, because a coin is hidden in the bread. Anyone who catches this has a particularly happy year ahead of them.

Instead of lighting fireworks, the Greeks prefer to sit together with a good round of cards or dice games on New Year's Eve. Gambling generally determines the course of New Year's Eve. People sit together until late at night and play for their belongings, their best - your money. The winner is not only allowed to keep the money, but also wins an extra portion of luck.


In Italy, the change of year is celebrated in a similar way as in Germany. At midnight there is a big fireworks display and there is also a lot going on in the land of pasta and pizza. The only difference to the German customs is wearing red panties. This brings happiness for the new year to both sexes.


This tradition is not really surprising: Austrians dance the waltz at their New Year's Eve party at midnight! And it doesn't matter whether you are in a disco, at home or on the street. Only then does it go to the firecrackers. The priorities are clearly set.


The Portuguese care about their financial situation, which is why there is a custom for this. At midnight you have to hold a coin in your hand - this should ensure financial security and also bring good luck. Alternatively, it can also be thrown into the house entrance, but only in your own! The tradition with colored underwear also exists in Portugal. And the last meal of the year shouldn't be poultry - after all, happiness shouldn't fly away.


Russia combines the Christmas and New Year's Eve customs known to us. On December 31 Father Frost comes and brings presents, like our Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Then the New Year celebrations begin, which officially runs until January 10th. A Russian tradition is to write New Year's wishes on a piece of paper. This is then burned, the ashes are poured into a glass of champagne and drunk until midnight.


New Year's Eve is one of the most important holidays in the country for Scots. They celebrate the turn of the year, called "Hogmanay", for three days. They drink a traditional drink called a "hot pint". It consists of whiskey, strong beer and eggs. In general, the Scots are not a big fan of sparkling wine or champagne on New Year's Eve, but prefer to grab a glass of whiskey. Traditionally, there are numerous torch-lit parades with bagpipe music, but here, too, the song “Auld Land Syne” can always be heard at midnight, and everyone sings along with it.


What the Spaniards do every year at midnight on New Year's Eve has something to do with skill. It is a tradition there to eat 12 grapes at exactly twelve - one grape per stroke of the bell. These are already counted and can be bought in special tins. Very sporty conditions that are offered here. If you don't manage to eat these twelve grapes at midnight, swallow them or miscount them, this means bad luck for the new year. On the other hand, if you manage to make a wish, you can hope that this wish will come true in the New Year.

As in Germany, the Spaniards toast with a glass of sparkling wine. The highlight: There is a golden ring in the sparkling wine, which should also bring luck. So be careful in Spain! Just don't swallow the ring.

Czech Republic

There is an interesting New Year's Eve custom here: an apple announces whether the coming year will bring good luck or bad luck. It is cut in half across, then the kernels are examined. If they are arranged in a star shape, it means happiness for the new year. Unfortunately, if the cores form a cross, there is a risk of bad luck.

Worldwide New Year's Eve Customs:


How liberating: The Argentines shred all sorts of papers and documents that are no longer needed on New Year's Eve. These are then trickled out of the window in the form of scraps of paper - snow in South America!
But the Argentines have other creative ideas for recycling their waste paper. They make giant paper mache dolls that are then burned. That should make us free for the coming year.


The longest fireworks display in the world takes place in Sydney. At the opera, the light spectacle is lit for a full 12 minutes - every minute stands for a month that has passed.


At the turn of the year it is customary to wear white clothes in Brazil. This symbolizes purity and peace. Candles are also set up on the beach. White candles, like clothing, stand for peace, yellow candles are supposed to bring about a financial blessing and red candles stand for happiness in love. Another custom takes it below the belt - the color of the underwear plays a big role. Anyone who wears white underwear can look forward to a harmonious New Year. According to tradition, those who choose the red variant will meet with great love.

One of the rituals of the Brazilian women is to commemorate the sea goddess Yemanja on New Year's Eve. To do this, they throw flowers into the sea and launch small boats filled with sweets into the water. This is said to strengthen fertility and cement the relationship. For dinner there is a classic bean stew, the feijoada, which is said to bring prosperity on New Year's Eve.


In the Middle Kingdom, New Year's Eve only begins on the day of the first full moon after January 21st. celebrated. On this special day, the house is first whipped up and cleaned. It resembles a spring cleaning and is the beginning of something new. In addition, one hour before midnight, all windows in the house are opened to let in the happiness that the house is supposed to fulfill.

There is also a special tradition for women in China. Unmarried women are said to be lucky if they throw mandarins into the open sea. This act is intended to attract their future husbands. In addition, on the day of the New Year, a large, traditional table is set on which a huge selection of Chinese dishes is served.


The South Americans practice a custom that takes some getting used to: on New Year's Eve at midnight, dolls are filled with firecrackers and then ignited. These can be witches' heads or certain replicas of people (such as politicians). The meaning of the custom is the symbolic getting rid of all bad things.

Are you still a little undecided about what to do on New Year's Eve this year? We have collected three great inspirations that you are sure to spend a great evening with.