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21 Unique New Year’s Superstitions You Should Know

Saying goodbye to a previous year can be a relief but starting a new one can be filled with anxiety. It’s normal to feel anxious about beginning a new year, everybody wants to start it right. It’s a new clean slate, after all.

There are many traditions around the world that people do to welcome a new year. A lot of them include doing certain things during December 31st to prepare for the New Year. Others require you to do something the moment the clock hits midnight.

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Whether it’s with the hope to find love, to thrive at work or to travel a lot, many people keep this folklore alive all around the world. Some may tell you these traditions are useless, and some may tell you that it’ll work if you do any of them. In the end, it comes down to whatever you believe.

If you’re thinking about trying out a different New Year ritual, we’ve rounded up some of the most popular traditions, so you can have more options. You might find some you know, but surely you’ll find something new to put to the test.

Wearing Underwear in Certain Colors

Weird as it may seem, there are actually two popular New Year’s underwear superstitions that come from Latin America. One of them tells you that you should wear yellow underwear if you want to attract good things and have good luck in the coming year.

Somewhat along the first one, the other belief tells you to wear red underwear to greet the year to come if you want to attract passionate love. It’s thought that since it is the color associated with love and passion it may influence your odds in that area.

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Putting Cash in Your Wallet or Pocket

Money in wallet

It’s very common to wish for more money on any occasion, especially in the upcoming year, which is the closest representation of the near future. People believe that if you put cash in your wallet or your pocket during New Year’s Eve, you’ll draw in a lot of money the next year. Given how easy it is, it wouldn’t hurt to try, right?

You Shouldn’t Lend Money to Anybody

There’s nothing like another New Year’s Eve superstition related to money. This one states that if you lend money out during December 31st or January 1st, it can seem that the universe will take it as a bad omen when it comes to your finances. So, if you want to avoid having money troubles in the New Year, you should keep this one in mind!

Hide Under a Table

This amusing tradition is very common among the Latino community. This New Year’s tradition consists of hiding under any table when the clock marks that the New Year is here. Generally, people, especially women, do it with the belief it’ll help them find love or a partner this coming year. Even if it doesn’t work, you will at least have a laugh while doing it.

Burning a Scarecrow

While some people choose to wear colorful undergarments as their go-to tradition, other people choose to burn something. In this case, there’s a belief that by burning a scarecrow you’ll be burning away all the bad vibes from the soon-to-be previous year. It sure sounds like a lot of fun!

Cleaning Your House

cleaning house

In some parts of Asia and Latin America, people believe that you should clean and organize your house on Dec. 31st. The idea behind this tradition is that by cleaning your living space you’ll be cleansing all the negative energy you’ve accumulated. According to this, you’d only have positive energy around you when you welcome the new year. Neat, right?

Wearing Clothes with Polka Dots

Filipinos have the tradition of wearing polka-dotted clothes on New Year’s Eve to welcome the new year. This is because they have the idea that the dots look like coins. Thanks to this resemblance, there’s the thought that it’ll bring good luck and prosperity in the year that’s to come if you wear this pattern.

You Shouldn’t Eat Chicken or Lobster

An Asian New Year’s superstition tells you that you should avoid eating things like chicken or lobster. If you are someone who loves any of these foods, by all means, do eat them. But for those who believe in this tradition, they’ll undoubtedly avoid it because it means bad luck and a lot of upcoming setbacks.

The reason why they say you shouldn’t consume these foods has to do with their behavior. In the case of chickens, people think that it’s bad luck because they scratch moving backward in the dirt. This symbolizes bad luck because in the new year you should only want to move forward.

Similarly, in the case of lobster or crab, people avoid eating it because lobster and crab move sideways. This, again, gives the idea that you will not move forward with your plans in the year that’s to come.

Not Cleaning Your House

Strange as it sounds, unlike the last superstition, this one instructs you to notclean on New Year’s Eve. While some people decide to clean, there are others who just leave it be. In certain regions of Asia, there’s the notion that you shouldn’t clean up your house before the new year comes because you’ll only be washing all your luck away.

Running With an Empty Suitcase Around Your Neighborhood

Running suitcase

Latin American New Year’s Eve traditions are the most entertaining of all. In this case, this ritual consists of getting any suitcase you have around and going out after the clock cues that the new year has come and run around your neighborhood with it.

Apparently, people believe that by doing this, you’ll be seducing the universe so it grants you more opportunities to go on trips. You wouldn’t want to miss out, would you?

Stepping With Your Right Foot into the New Year

In many cultures all around the world, there’s a belief that the first step you take once it’s New Year’s Day has to be with your right foot. Doing it with your left foot might be a bad omen that alludes to a bad or difficult year. Start Jan. 1st with the literal right foot, and a world of good luck will be sent your way!

Staying Inside Your House

Weirdly enough, there’s a tradition that specifies that you have to stay inside your house during New Year’s Eve. You don’t have to do it forever though, just until somebody else comes through the door. If you are spending NYE with family or friends, this should be an easy thing to do.

Breaking Dishes

Danish people have the belief that if you break some dishes at the doorstep of family or neighbors, you’ll be wishing them good luck. In turn, you’ll also be drawing in good luck for you and your family.

It looks like a lot of fun. But, if you think you want to try this out, you should definitely talk it out with your family and friends if this tradition isn’t common where you’re located. Better safe than sorry!

Waking Up Early on January 1st

Wake up early January first

Among the most interesting New Year’s superstitions, there’s a Polish one that says you should wake up early on New Year’s Day. If you have trouble waking up early in general, you should definitely try this one out. Polish people think that by making the effort to wake up early on the first day of the year, you’ll find it easy the rest of it.

Eating Soba Noodles

Japanese people have the tradition of eating soba noodles made of buckwheat at midnight. They think that the noodles bring prosperity and longevity to you if you have them at that moment between the previous year and the next one. Delicious and lucky, you should definitely try this one!

Throwing Things Out of The Window

In Italy, there’s this tradition where you’re required to throw things out of the window. It’s very probable that if you are in Italy during the New Year festivities, you’ll see people throwing out their stuff, including pieces of furniture and clothes, out of the window. There’s a reason for it though, they think they’re making space for good things to come occupy the space they are making.

Making a Lot of Noise

No matter what your neighbors might say, making noise during New Year’s Eve is actually a good thing according to this superstition. In some cultures, there are people that think that being loud scares away bad spirits or energy. So, party away unashamedly on New Year’s Eve!

Kissing Somebody at Midnight

A very popular New Year’s superstition is kissing somebody when the clock hits midnight. Some do the countdown with their significant others waiting for the moment to kiss, while others do the countdown trying to find somebody to kiss. Usually, people do this with the idea that the feeling will carry on onto the next year.

Similarly, there’s the belief that whatever you are doing or whoever you are surrounded with during the start of the new year, will be what you’ll be doing the most or who you’ll be with the most during this fresh new year. Do you agree?

Opening Your Door at Midnight

This popular New Year’s superstition says that you should open your door when the clock hits 12 o’clock. The reason why this tradition exists is that some people think that by doing this you’ll wave the old year out and welcome the new year in. As a consequence, you’ll be also letting in prosperity and luck with the new year.

Eating 12 Grapes at Midnight

This tradition has its origins in Spain. It consists of eating 12 grapes at midnight and people believe that if you do it you’ll have good luck in the new year. Each grape represents one month of the year and some people start eating them way before the countdown because during it is sometimes impossible. Nevertheless, it’s very tasty!

Running Seven Laps Around Your House

Starting a new year with a workout has never been more appealing. There’s a popular New Year’s ritual that says you should run around your house seven times, so you are able to attract good luck and prosperity in the coming year. Make sure to stretch!

Wrapping Up

As you have seen in this article, there are plenty of New Year’s superstitions all around the world. While they may or may not help your luck in the coming year, it definitely can be really fun to do any of them.

If you are interested in doing any of the traditions you have discovered in this article during New Year’s Eve, you should absolutely go for it. Don’t let anybody deter you from making extra sure you get good things directed your way. Good luck!

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Dani Rhys
Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.