What are Some Unique New Year Customs?

For women in Spain, Mexico, Italy and several other countries, wearing red underwear on New Year's Eve is a way to bring luck with love in the new year. Yellow underwear is supposed to be good for bringing money and happiness, green is for prosperity, pink is for friendship, and white is for hope or peace. Also, it's more lucky if the underwear is given to you as a gift, but it's still OK if you buy it for yourself.

Other New Year's traditions:

  • There are many regional foods associated with good luck in the new year — in the southern United States, it's black-eyed peas and collard greens; in the Philippines, it's roasted pig and circular fruits; in Italy, it's sausage and lentils; and in the Netherlands, it's oil dumplings and apple fritters.

  • People in Ecuador often create effigies to represent the old year, which they set on fire at midnight to burn away the old year. Danish people traditionally throw crockery and cutlery at others' doors; apparently, the person with the most broken dishes in the morning is the most popular one. In Japan, people clean and sweep out their houses and prepare traditional decorations.

  • Alcohol also plays a big role in New Year's Eve celebrations no matter which country you're in. Although champagne is by and large the most popular New Year's drink, sekt, which is German sparkling wine, as well as mulled wine, cider and hot chocolate are also popular celebratory beverages.

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