By Lanee Lee and Lindsay Taub / VoyageVixens.com
No matter what country we live in, the New Year brings a fresh start for everybody — and it’s the most universally celebrated holiday on the planet. Whether you’d like to don a bear costume, fling fireballs like a viking, or have a shaman spit on you, these are some of the unique (and fun!) ways people celebrate the New Year around the globe:
Gobbling Grapes, Spain
(Photo: AP/Larry Crowe)
At the stroke of midnight, cram 12 grapes in your mouth for good luck — one for each month of the coming year. For grapes on the go, pick up a can or champagne glass of 12 grapes at any Spanish grocery store.
Romance-Predicting Roosters, Belarus
Want to know if you’ll be lucky in love in 2015? Belarus roosters can tell you: Place a pile of corn in front of each single gal, then let the rooster strut his stuff. Whichever pile the rooster eats from first is who will marry first.
Suitcase Toting, Colombia
Want to travel more next year? Follow the Colombians’ lead and carry an empty suitcase around the block to ensure a travel-centric new year.
Wearing Colored Underwear, Brazil
To bring fortune, wear yellow; for love, wear red. This tradition is also practiced in Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Also in Brazil, revelers jump over seven waves at midnight for good luck.
Bell Tolling (108 times!), China
(Photo: Flickr/Shih-Chi Chiang)
In Suzhou, locals and visitors literally ring in the New Year at the Hanshan Temple Bell Ringing Festival. A bell rings 108 times to represent the 108 troubles of life, according to Buddhist scripture. Hearing all 108 tolls is believed to alleviate annoyances in the coming year and bring good luck.
Bear Dancing, Romania
(Photo: AP/Vadim Ghirda)
Sport a bear costume or animal fur for the bear dance performed during the parade in Comanesti. Dressed to scare (or is it their scary dance skills?), those performing the ritual in the costume is supposed to ward off evil spirits in the coming year.
Molten Tin Fortune-Telling, Finland
Some cultures read tea leaves to predict the future; Finland interprets the shape of molten tin when it hits the water. A ship means travel; a pig forecasts bountiful food; and a heart or ring indicates a wedding.
Furniture Throwing, South Africa
Look out for flying appliances and furniture. Starting the New Year afresh leads Johannesburg residents to toss out the old — literally.
Hurling Dishes, Denmark
It’s ‘breaking bad’, Dane-style. Plates and glasses are thrown at the doors of friends and relatives. They also jump off a chair at midnight to banish bad spirits.
Swinging Fireballs, Scotland
(Photo: Getty Images/Christopher Furlong)
A tradition dating back to the vikings as a symbol of purification, men swing balls of fire parade through the village of Stonehaven.
Possum Dropping, North Carolina
(Photo: North Carolina Tourism)
Georgia drops a peach, Pennsylvania drops a pickle, Wisconsin drops a fish and Brasstown drops a possum…for real. Not to worry, they don’t actually drop the animal. At Clay’s Corner convenience store, they gently lower it; no harm comes to the merry-making marsupial.
Wearing Polka Dots, Philippines
Round-shaped things signify prosperity in the new year, according to Filipino New Year’s traditions. In addition to wearing polka dots, revelers stuff their pockets with coins and eat 12 round fruits, like cantaloupe, tangerines and grapes, at midnight.
Abstaining from Washing Your Hair, China
To celebrate Chinese New Year beginning January 19, clean your house; but whatever you do, don’t wash your hair. It’s believed to wash away good luck.
Cemetery Camping, Chile
Similar to Oaxaca’s Day of the Dead festivities, in the city of Talca, locals head to the cemetery for a candlelight vigil accompanied by classical music to welcome the New Year in the company of deceased relatives’ spirits.
Shaman Spitting, Northern Peru
(Photo: AP/Martin Mejia)
To ward off evil spirits in the coming year, locals are ‘baptized’ in a chamomile concoction sprayed from the mouth of a shaman.
Floating Resolutions, Singapore
(Photo: AP/Wong Maye-E)
Write your hopes and dreams for the New Year on a wishing sphere and send it off in the Singapore River. At night, the white floating balls are especially beautiful reflecting the fireworks above.
Wishing you a happy 2016, from us, the Voyage Vixens!