10 Unique Family New Year Traditions From Around the World

2020 is here! And this New Year is particularly special because it also rings in a new decade! Now, we all have our own family traditions for bringing in the new year and, all over the globe, families celebrate in their own fun and unique ways. So how do families from different countries welcome this event? Check out these unique New Year traditions from around the world and let us know what your family traditions are too in the comments below!

10 Unique Family New Year Traditions From Around the World


Armenian families visit as many people as they can during a week of New Year celebrations, starting with those relatives they value the most like parents and grandparents. Some moms even “compete” for the best meals by preparing each family’s specialty dish and ensuring every visitor leaves their home full and happy.



Chileans have many good luck traditions to ring in the New Year, one of which is unique to families in the city of Talca who visit their departed loved ones on New Year’s Eve with food and drinks. They believe that starting off the year by spending time with the dead in their local graveyards will give them peace and good luck.



A truly unique way that Danes show their love for friends and family on New Year’s Eve is by smashing plates against their doors. If you’ve got a lot of broken dishes at your doorstep, it only means you’re very popular and you’ll be blessed with more luck in the new year!



One of the most remarkable family activities for New Year comes from Ecuador where families make dolls called “viejos,” often filled with old clothes, and set them on fire to them at the stroke of midnight to “goodbye” to the old year. These dolls are usually made to look like famous people or even friends and family. And we’re sure seeing this celebration is truly a sight to behold!



If you’re a foodie, you need to ring in the New Year in Estonia at least once in your life. People strive to eat a lucky number of seven, nine, or 12 meals on New Year’s Eve. The more meals you eat, the more strength and abundance you’ll have in the new year! And don’t worry about not being able to finish each meal, as leaving some food on the plate for ancestral spirits is encouraged.



German families will melt a bit of lead or tin melt on a tablespoon over a flame and then pour the melted metal into cold water. The shapes it makes supposedly tell what the New Year will bring you. A heart or a ball could mean luck and an owl could mean it’s time to get glasses!



The onion has long been a symbol of growth for the Greeks so to ensure a great new year, families hang on their front doors. And on New Year morning, parents take the onions and wake their kids by thumping them on their heads! Another tradition is hiding a coin inside a New Year cake called Vasilopita. Each family member gets a slice, starting with the eldest member of the family to the youngest. Whoever finds the coin starts the year lucky and gets a gift!



For a splashing good time, there is no New Year’s party like the Thingyan Water Festival in Myanmar. Everyone gets seriously drenched here as celebrations can last up to four days to wash away any negativity from the last year. And, while everyone is splashing each other with water, families often give out free food too! The festivities last the whole day and once it’s night, everyone gets ready to fill up with good food and music!



In the Philippines, families practice plenty of New Year traditions, even adopting some from other countries (like having fireworks to ward off evil spirits and eating grapes for good luck). But no where else on New Year’s Eve will you see as many round things as there are in the Philippines! Whether it’s the food we eat at home for the family’s Media Noche feast, the coins we keep in our pockets, or the prints on our clothes (polka dots are key!), circles are a must for good luck.


Puerto Rico

Puerto Ricans have quite a few traditions but being around family and eating some great traditional dishes are key! For good luck, families will also dust sugar outside their houses. And for those by the beach, jumping backwards into a wave at midnight keeps those pesky bad spirits away in the new year!


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