Ringing in the New Year Around the World: How Different Cultures Will Celebrate 2019

Fireworks and champagne toasts are so 2018. Take your celebrations up a notch with one of our favorite unconventional ways to ring in the new year.

Feasting in Estonia
Hope you packed your stretchy pants—in Estonia it’s customary to have seven, nine, or even 12 meals on New Year’s, as a gesture of strength for the coming year. Don’t sweat it if you can’t maintain your Clean Plate Club status though; leaving food on your plate is considered a gift for ancestral spirits.

Burning Effigies in Ecuador
Burning Effigies in Ecuador

Burning Effigies in Ecuador
Wander an Ecuadorian market on New Year’s, and you’ll find life-sized, papier-mache mannequins for sale. Why? For you to burn, of course. The tradition is supposed to cleanse bad energy before heading into the new year. If you want to do it right, jump the fire 12 times.

Fist-Fighting in Peru
Peruvians take the airing of grievances up a notch with Takanakuy. On this day, villagers take out their petty (and not-so-petty) issues with one another in fist fights that would make a UFC fighter wince.

Carrying a Suitcase in Colombia
Now here’s a tradition we can get behind: In Colombia, it’s customary to carry an empty suitcase around for the day to bring on a year of travel adventures.

Hogmanay in Scotland
Don’t limit yourself to just one day of celebrating when you can have three. It starts with parades where people swing fireballs around, and then continues for two more days with plenty of food and, er, wee drams.

Frozen Lake Jumping in Siberia
Looking to start your year off with hypothermia and a fairly significant drowning risk? Siberia is the spot for you. Their polar plunge would almost be a cliche … except that they do it while holding a tree trunk.  

Jumping Waves in Brazil
If a warm weather celebration is more your thing, head to Copacabana, throw on some white, and jump seven waves at midnight. For an extra boost of good luck, bring a bouquet to toss to the goddess of the seas.

Did we miss your favorite tradition? Let us know how you’ll be celebrating the New Year in the comments!

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