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35 New Year Traditions to Bring You Luck From Around the World

We could all use some good fortune in 2022.

Family New Year celebration
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Every culture has its own ways to ring in a lucky new year. Sometimes, you have to start the year off with good luck foods to make sure you get going on the right foot. (Beans, round foods and noodles seem to be high on the list, as well as some lucky desserts!) Other times, what you wear is indicative of what will come your way, be it health, money or love. Then again, where you are when the clock strikes 12 might be more important than what you're wearing — so get ready to jump into the new year. And since everyone wants to start the year off with a blank slate, there are certain things you can do to rid your home of bad vibes and welcome in the new.

So, no matter how you choose to celebrate New Year's Eve, be it with a lavish New Year's Eve dinner that spans two years, a quiet night at home watching New Year's movies or a planning session that starts making wishes, see if you can take some time to squeeze in one of these New Year's good-luck traditions as well. Because we could all use some good fortune coming our way in 2022!

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Have Hoppin' John for New Year's Day Dinner
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It's said that anyone who makes this dish of black-eyed peas, pork and rice on January 1 will experience luck and peace for the rest of the year. And maybe prosperity, too: According to History.com, "Hoppin’ John was, and still is, often eaten with collard greens, which can resemble paper money, and 'golden' cornbread. The peas themselves represent coins. Some families boost the potential of their Hoppin’ John by placing a penny underneath the dishes — or adding extra pork, which is thought to bring more luck."

Get the recipe for Hoppin' John with Greens »

Or Try Something Else Round
rounds fruits for new year traditions
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Many cultures believe eating round foods on New Year's Eve will lead to prosperity. In Italy, lentils in a New Year's dish serve the same function as the black-eyed peas in Hoppin' John, with their round shape representing coins. And in the Philippines, it's customary to eat 12 round fruits, one for every month, to ensure a year of abundance. The fruits usually take center stage at the table for the media noche, or the midnight meal.

Dress in Dots
wearing polka dots in new year tradition
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And in the Philippines, revelers don't just try to eat circles — partygoers wear them, too. Polka dots are all the rage on December 31, increasing the chances for a fortunate new year.

Watch Something Drop
12 31 1926 new york, new york picture shows an aerial view of times square on new years eve watching the ball drop, a new year tradition
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Crowds have been gathering in New York City's Times Square to watch the ball drop since 1907. And while the first one was just iron and wood, today you can watch a 12-foot, 11,875-pound geodesic sphere covered in 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles and 32,256 LEDs make its descent, even from the warmth and comfort of your own home. Or, you can see something else fall as a visual countdown to the new year: Plymouth, Wisconsin hosts a Big Cheese Drop; Kennett Square, PA uses a giant mushroom and New Orleans drops a fleur de lis (formerly a big gumbo pot). No matter what symbol is used, it does make for a dramatic countdown.

Wear White
happy friends celebrating reveillon on the beach, running and holding white flowers paraiso beach, mosqueiro
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Brazil makes it easier too choose your New Year's Eve outfit — everyone wears white for good luck and peace. Plus, matching outfits make for good photos!

RELATED: Fascinating New Year's History Facts Everyone Should Know for 2020

Jump Seven Waves
new year's eve good luck traditions   wear white and jump over seven waves
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Also in Brazil, if you head to the beach, you can increase your luck by heading to the water and jumping over seven waves. You get one wish for each wave.

Give Gifts
father frost in new year traditions
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Christmas was banned in Soviet Russia, so New Year's became the big gift-giving occasion. Presents were delivered not by Santa but by Ded Moroz, or Father Frost, often aided by his granddaughter, Snegourochka. Anyone ready for another round of gifts?

Make a Resolution
new year's resolutions on sticky notes for new year traditions
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You might think that making resolutions for the new years is a relatively recent trend, historically speaking, but the tradition is very old — probably more than 4,000 years old, in fact. Historians believe Babylonians — one of the first cultures to actually celebrate the changing of the year — made promises to pay debts or return borrowed objects. If they could do it, so can you. Need help figuring out your 2022 goal? Good Housekeeping has achievable New Year's resolution suggestions ready and waiting for you.

Make a Fish Dish
grilled chicken breast with mediterranean ingredients sauce
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Fish is considered another good New Year's entrée, since fish only swim in one direction — forward, like the movement of time.

Smash a Plate
high angle view of broken plates
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In Denmark, broken dishes are a good thing — people go around breaking dishware on the doorsteps of their friends and family. The more shards there are in front of your home the next day, the luckier and more well liked you are (unless you're the one who has to sweep). But try to keep it on the doorstep: “I once threw a cup at my friend’s house," a reveler told the University of Copenhagen's University Post. "The cup didn’t break – his window did instead!”

Eat 12 Grapes
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Yes, exactly 12, one at each stroke of midnight. That's what they do in Spain — pop one grape for every month of the New Year. According to Atlas Obscura: "Eating one grape at each of midnight’s 12 clock chimes guarantees you a lucky year — if and only if you simultaneously ruminate on their significance. (Each grape represents an upcoming month.) If you fail to conscientiously finish your grapes by the time the clock stops chiming, you’ll face misfortune in the new year." Now, that's a lot to chew on!

Smooch a Loved One
New Year's Eve Good Luck Traditions - Kiss a Loved One
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You've heard of this one before: When the clock strikes midnight, you're supposed to kiss someone you love. It's not just about stealing a smooch: According to the Washington Post, this is borrowed from English and German folklore, which stated that it's "the first person with whom a person came in contact that dictated the year’s destiny." Choose your partner wisely!

Find Your Love
delicate green leaves and white berries of mistletoe plant for new year traditions in ireland
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No one to kiss? It's said in Ireland that if you put a sprig of mistletoe (or holly or ivy) under your pillow on December 31, you'll dream of your future partner. Sweet dreams, to be sure!

Decorate Your Front Door
hanging an onion on the door is a greek new year tradition
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To Greeks, onions are a symbol of good luck and fertility, because they sprout even when no one is paying attention to them. On New Year's Eve, families in Greece hang bundles of onions above their doors as a means of inviting that prosperity into the home. It's also said that, on New Year's Day, parents wake up their children in the morning by gently bonking their kids on the head with the onions that were outside.

Jump Into 2020
new year's eve good luck traditions  jump off a chair
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In Denmark, people stand on their chairs and "leap" into January at midnight to bring good luck and banish bad spirits. Couldn't hurt! (Unless you break the chair.)

Buy a New Lucky Charm
lucky charms, new year's eve marzipan pigs 2004
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In Germany and Austria, there are a few different lucky symbols that you'd gift to friends and family to bring them good fortune. These include pigs, mushrooms, clovers and chimney sweeps. You can buy little tokens of these lucky charms at a Christmas market — or get edible ones in fun combinations made out of marzipan. Yum!

Wish *Everyone* a Good Year
cow in belgium new year tradition
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Walloon and Flemish farmers in Belgium make sure everyone can get in on the festivities — even the livestock. They rise early on January 1 to wish a "Happy New Year" to all the cows, horses, pigs, chickens and other farm animals. That way, they'll have a good farming year.

Swing That Bread
traditional irish new years tradition is to bang bread against the walls
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While lots of countries have food-related traditions, Ireland's most interesting tradition doesn't involve eating. Instead, the Irish bang on the walls of their homes with Christmas bread. It's said to chase any bad spirits out of the house to start the new year off with a clean slate. (A good house-tidying, presumably after bread-banging, is also an Irish tradition.)

Pack Light
New Year's Eve Good Luck Traditions - Carry a Suitcase
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In fact, pack nothing at all. In Colombia, people take empty suitcases and run around the block as fast as they can. It's supposed to guarantee a year filled with travel. One writer for the Tampa Bay Times tried it with her Colombian husband in her Florida neighborhood: "Upon seeing two silhouettes tearing down the street at midnight with backpacks in their arms, our neighbors who were outside to watch fireworks made a beeline to their front doors. We worried they were calling the police." The writer did, however, travel to Colombia that year.

Hide a Surprise
rice pudding with cinnamon, new year ornaments in blue color in new year traditions
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In Greece, New Year's dessert isn't just a treat, it's a game of chance: Guests are served vasilopita, or a cake or sweet bread that has a coin baked into it. Whoever finds the coin will have good luck for the next year! In Scandinavian countries, they do something similar with rice pudding, served either at New Year's or Christmas. One portion will have a peeled almond in it, and whoever finds it in their bowl is assured of luck in the new year (and might also win a prize).

Keep the Windows Open. Doors too!
New Year's Eve Good Luck Traditions - Open Windows and Doors
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It's a common superstition that opening the doors and windows will let the old year out, and the new year in unimpeded. (Let's hope this old year goes out as quickly as possible, please.)

Smash the Peppermint Pig
New Year's Eve Good Luck Traditions - Peppermint Pig
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In upstate New York, they sell special peppermint pigs all throughout the holiday season. Everyone gets to take a turn hitting it with a special candy-size hammer and eating a piece for good fortune in the coming year. The peppermint is very strong, so only take a small piece — but at least you'll start the year with fresh breath!

Buy a peppermint pig

Try to Predict What'll Come Next
bleigießen a german new year tradition
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In Germany, you can buy a Bleigießen (Bleigiessen) kit which will supposedly give you hints for what's to come in the year ahead. The tradition is to melt lead (now tin or wax, since lead is poisonous) on a spoon over a candle and then pour the metal into cold water; the resulting shape will tell your fortune. Round balls represent good luck rolling your way, for example, while swords predict risk-taking.

Eat Long Food for a Long Life
soba noodles in new year traditions
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In Japan, it's traditional to eat "toshikoshi soba," a dish with long, buckwheat noodles that's served hot or cold. The noodles symbolize longevity, and the hearty buckwheat plant represents resilience.

Choose Your Underwear Carefully
new year's eve good luck traditions wear red yellow or green underwear
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Certain countries, especially in Latin America, believe that the color of your underwear can bring good things to you in the next 12 months. Yellow is for luck, red is for love and white undies bring peace.

Break Fruit
pomegranates in new year traditions
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In Turkey, pomegranates are symbols of abundance. Eating them is great, sure — but if you really want a good 2022, you'll smash the fruit on your doorstep. It's said that the more pieces there are, and the farther they spread, the more prosperous you will be. And, for a little extra luck, sprinkling salt in front of your door will bring peace.

Sing "Auld Lang Syne"
auld lang syne in new year's traditions
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"Auld Lang Syne" is often credited to Scottish poet Robert Burns, who sent it to the Scots Musical Museum in 1788. But the writer himself admits that he didn't crate the lyrics, he was just the first to transcribe an old folk song. But no matter who wrote them, the words are beautiful, and singing them out as the clock strikes midnight is a time-honored tradition. If you really want to impress the other members of your party, learn the other verses (there are ten).

Send Your Wish Down the River
wishing sphere in new year traditions
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Singapore decorates its Singapore River with the wishing spheres containing the hopes and dreams of new year revelers. Illuminated and en masse, they make quite a statement. In the past, tens of thousands of spheres have floated down the river.

Throw Water out the Window
New Year's Good Luck Traditions - Throw Water Out the Window
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Look out below! In Puerto Rico, they believe that dumping a bucket of water out the window drives away evil spirits. If that seems a little too unfair to the people who might be passing by, Puerto Ricans also sprinkle sugar outside their houses to invite the good luck in, which is a little sweeter (if you can forgive the pun).

Listen for Bells
bell, kodai ji, kyoto, japan in new year's eve traditions
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In Japan, for ōmisoka, buddhist temple bells ring out 108 times as in the lead up to the new year. Each chime is supposed to root out a worldly passion, such as anger, suspicion or lust. The last toll comes at midnight.

Burn Up the Old Year
new year's traditions año viejo
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In Ecuador, the bad parts of the old year — or año viejo — are turned into effigies and burned. People make sawdust-filled dummies out politicians, pop-culture figures and other characters, and then burn them at midnight as a sort of cleansing ritual. For extra good-luck points, participants try to jump over the flames 12 times, once for every month.

Go for a Dip
polar bear club plunge in new year traditions
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Since the early 1900s, it's been a tradition to start off January 1 by submerging in freezing cold water, a ritual known as a Polar Bear Plunge. Often, participants — who have a high tolerance for the cold — use this as an opportunity to raise money for local nonprofits, so all of that teeth-chattering is not for naught.

Be Choosy About Your First Guest
two red doors for first footing in new years traditions
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The first person you allow through your doors in the New Year may set the tone. In Scotland, the Isle of Man and some other parts of Northern England, the "first footer," as it was called, was extremely important. Tradition in those parts of the world states to select a man who is tall and dark (as a protection against Vikings), who would come with simple gifts of coal, salt, shortbread and whisky, representing the basic needs of heat, food and drink. Choosing wisely meant good luck for the upcoming year.

Spice Up Your Champagne
champagne wishes in new year traditions
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In Russia, Champagne gets an extra ingredient on New Year's: Revelers write a wish down on a piece of paper, burn it, and add the ashes to the drink. Cheers!

Save a Wish for Next Year
wedding glass vase table decor
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Or, instead of burning the wishes, you can have everyone write down a resolution, goal, wish or note to their future selves, put it in a jar, then save it for the year. On the next New Year's Eve, you can retrieve the jar and read the notes to see how far everyone has progressed.

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