January 2019

Traditions & Ringing In The New Year

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2019 is here and we look forward to another exciting, adventurous and fun filled new year. This year, for our travellers, we bring some unique journeys, our travel & hospitality partners can look forward to some great branding & marketing tools to increase their footprints, and, for the others…just follow us to check out our signature holidays, curated events and special offers all through the year.

Bill Bryson said, “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” It is amazing how many of the everyday things we don’t know. As we wind up 2018, let us look at some of the unusual, yet, regular traditions that countries, communities and people follow to ring in the new year.

Twelve Grapes of Luck

Country: Spain

Twelve Grapes of Luck

In Spain and some Latin American countries, one New Year’s tradition is to eat 12 grapes, one for each month of the coming year, to secure prosperity. Sounds easy? Here’s the challenge: you need to eat one grape with each bell strike at midnight. The favoured way is to take a bite, then swallow the grape halves whole. A glass of bubbly afterward might help to flush it all down. The tradition dates back to 1909 when vine growers in Alicante came up with this idea in order to sell more grapes after an exceptional harvest.

Pouring Lead

Countries: Germany & Austria

Who doesn’t want to know what the next year might bring? In Germany, people melt small pieces of lead in a spoon over a candle, then pour the liquid into cold water. The bizarre shapes from the Bleigießen (lead pouring) are supposed to reveal what the year ahead will bring. If the lead forms a ball, luck will roll one’s way, while the shape of a crown means wealth; a cross signifies death and a star will bring happiness.

Wearing Colourful Underwear to Bring Luck

Countries: Mexico, Bolivia & Brazil

In Latin American countries like Mexico, Bolivia, and Brazil, the colour of your panties will determine what kind of year you’ll have, so choose carefully! People, looking for luck, are seen wearing yellow coloured underwear while those who want to find success in love, come out with red underwear. This weird New Year ritual is most popularly observed in the city of Sao Paulo, La Paz.

Burning Pictures to Leave the Past Behind

Country: Ecuador

Ecuador observes a tradition during New Year to bid adieu to the past year. Burning portraits is considered unpleasant but this seems to be the real fun in Ecuador on the eve of the New Year. People gather outside their homes with photos that remind them of their painful incidents or inglorious days from the last year. These pictures are burned by the locals with the belief that burning them would help them get rid of the past and make progress smoothly.

Break a Plate (maybe more…)

Country: Denmark

A Danish New Year’s Eve tradition is to throw plates and dishes against friend’s and neighbour’s front doors. It’s a bit of a popularity contest as the bigger the pile of broken china on your doorstep the next morning, the more friends and good luck you’ll have in the coming year. Another custom in Denmark is the jumping off chairs at midnight, symbolizing the leap into the New Year when the clock strikes 12.

Round Is A Shape & It Is Everything

Country: Philippines

In the Philippines, the start of the new year is all about the money. The locals believe that surrounding themselves with round things (to represent coins) will bring money or fortune. It is a special belief on the New Year that wearing something round or eating round fruits will bring good luck for the entire year. To really push Fortuna, coins are kept in pockets and constantly jangled, believed to keep the money flowing.


Country: Scotland

In Scottish folklore, the “first-foot,” also known as “qualtagh”, is the first person crossing the threshold after midnight. A tall, dark-haired male with gifts like coins, coal, bread, salt, and a “wee dram” of whiskey, is thought to bring the best luck for the house. The tradition probably dates back to the Viking days when big, blond strangers (commonly armed with axes and swords) at the door meant trouble, and in some places, first footing by a fair-haired male is still regarded as unlucky.

Leaves Placed Under Pillow To Get A Husband

Country: Ireland

Most single women in Ireland practice the strange New Year tradition of placing mistletoe leaves under their pillow in the hope of getting a good husband. Irish culture also finds this tradition useful in washing away bad luck.

108 Rings

Country: Japan

At midnight, Buddhist temples all over Japan ring their bells 108 times to dispel the 108 evil passions all human beings have, according to Buddhism. Japanese believe that “joyanokane”, the ringing of the bells, will cleanse them from their sins of the previous year. Traditionally, 107 bells are rung on the last day of the year and the 108th in the new year. Many people eat buckwheat noodles called toshikoshi soba on New Year’s Eve to symbolize the wish for a long life.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to experience some of these traditions in person? We invite you to plan your travel with us and allow yourselves to come back with some amazing memories. After all, you must have some special bragging rights with our signature journeys.

Wishing all you beautiful people a joyous & dream come true 2019!