Break a leg! In boca al lupo! Schwein gehabt! The world is obsessed with getting lucky in any way possible, even if it means looking a little neurotic. We drops balls, throw pennies in wishing wells and wish upon stars but we’re not alone when it comes to peculiar New Year's traditions. As we creep into the next calendar year, the final moments of 2015 will be met with billions of superstitious people coordinating their delicates and jumping off chairs in hopes of a New Year just a little better than the last. Here’s a round-up of how 8 different countries get lucky on New Year’s Eve – and not that kind of luck, ya filthy animal.
Life’s a real beach in Rio de Janeiro on New Year’s Eve. As hordes of people in white flock to the nearest ocean, it’s a lucky custom to jump 7 waves as you make 7 wishes. We’re having heavenly visions of Christmas in July meets Blue Crush. We’re mildly jealous.
The Scottish truly embrace the meaning of putting your right foot forward on New Year’s Eve celebrated on the Scottish calendar’s New Year period called Hogmanay. Known as “first footing”, your house will be bestowed with good luck depending on the first person to enter your humble abode at midnight. The “first foot” should be a dark-haired male with a small item; most popular items include whiskey or shortbread. Rumored for bad luck, red-headed females should avoid the doorway at all costs as the clock strikes midnight. Patriarchal, much?
In Argentina, just because you coordinated your knickers on New Year’s Eve doesn’t necessarily mean “things are going down”. Wearing a certain color underwear at midnight will supposedly decide your fate into next year. For health, wear blue. For love, wear pink. For luck, wear yellow. Choose your intimates wisely, my friend.
Don’t be startled if you’re lost in ashes and flames at midnight in the streets of Quito. An age-old tradition on the brink of pyromania, “Ano Viejos” is an Ecuadorian custom where locals purchase hand-crafted dolls and set them on fire as a representation of getting rid of the old and embracing the new. It gets better – you can find life-size paper mache Homers, Shreks, and even your all-time favorite political figures (who shall not be named). It’s said that jumping over your burning effigy 12 times will bring you luck. We strongly advise you not to try this at home.
This country literally jumps for joy. It’s quite simple in Denmark.
Step 1: Grab a chair.
Step 2: Stand on top of it.
Step 3: Jump.
*Tip: Don’t drink and jump.*
While we’re wasting our time downing that glorious carbonated stuff in the form of fermented grape juice, people in Spain are stuffing their faces with the actual fruit. A much healthier alternative – as long as you can avoid the Heimlich maneuver – finishing 12 grapes within the first 12 seconds of the New Year will symbolically mean 12 lucky months ahead of you.
Similar to Scotland’s first-footing, the Greeks practice their own right-foot-forward tradition called Pothariko. Grab a “good” person (translation: not your creepy uncle), and have them enter the house with their right foot only. This is followed by smashing a pomegranate, symbolic for bringing wealth and abundance into the home. Opa!
New Year’s Day in Canada calls for ibuprofen, greasy breakfasts, sleeping in and jumping into freezing pools of water. Talk about a wake-up call. Many Canadians have made it a tradition to participate in the polar bear plunge, a charitable event where thousands of participants gather to dive into the nearest icy body of water. Some go brazenly bare in bikinis, whilst others opt for costumes from Batman to Smurfs.