Many countries welcome the new year with a spectacular display of fireworks as soon as the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. It’s one of the most common ways to celebrate the new year but certainly not the only one, because there are some odd yet heartwarming traditions out there that won’t have your pets cowering in fear. Below are just a few of the most wonderfully weird New Year’s traditions you have never heard about.
1. Let It Go
If you happen to stay in Argentina on the last day of the year, then you’d be perplexed as to why it’s raining shredded paper. You see, it’s customary down there for office workers to shred all their old documents, calendars and notepad papers then throw it all out the window. This is done so they can start the new year with a clean desk and less clutter and also because it symbolizes the letting go of all negativity and allowing positivity to enter their life. Sounds fun, but the streets being littered with paper confetti for two days? Not so much.
2. The Polar Bear Swim
Canada is pretty far up on the North American continent, so it should be no surprise that there’s something called the polar bear swim, and that it’s one of the ways that they welcome the new year. No, they don’t swim with actual polar bears, but rather, paddle across 100-yards of ice-cold sea water. Then after the first three winners are declared, spectators dive into the freezing waters for a few minutes before heading back. Thanks to COVID-19, the swim was canceled for the first time in 2021, with 2022 marking the first ever digital polar bear swim meetup.
Bleigiessen, or lead pouring, is a German New Year’s Eve tradition often done with friends and family. You start by standing in a circle or a group, then melting a small piece of lead on a spoon over a candle. Once melted, the lead is dropped into a bowl of cool water, causing it to harden again but this time in a random shape. This new shape is said to predict one’s destiny for the new year. So, if it looks like a horse, then you’ll have dental issues. But an eagle? Then you will get to fly and travel more frequently in the upcoming year.
4. Grab Your Suitcase
This form of celebration is mostly done by Mexicans (and maybe tourists) wanting to spend their new year traveling to all sorts of fun and exciting destinations. So, they grab their suitcases and run around the house wildly while dragging it along. Some even pack the suitcase to increase their chances tenfold. There’s also the tradition of wearing red or yellow underwear if you want to attract love and money. And finally, as the new year closes in, it is not at all uncommon for family and friends to enjoy a large dinner, finished by giving champagne toasts.
5. Joya No Kane
In Japan, Buddhist temples all across the country ring their bells 108 times as soon as the clock strikes 12. This is known as “joya no kane” and it is a ritual which is done to drive away all negative emotions and experiences. Why ring it 108 times, you ask. Apparently, it’s because 108 represents the number of human desires that cause all pain and suffering. So, ringing the bell that many times symbolically cleanses the human soul and gives us a fresh start for the upcoming year.
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