9 Booze-Free Ways To Celebrate New Year’s Eve Around the World

How often do you swear you’ll kick off the New Year right, and wind up waking up with a hangover instead? New Year’s Eve has become synonymous – in America, anyway – with drinking booze, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Other parts of the world mark the occasion in other fun, unique and sometimes downright strange ways, so why not skip the alcohol and try to enjoy some of their traditions this year.

1. GRAPE IT UP

Picnic Fun

A long-held Spanish tradition dictates that Spaniards gobble down 12 grapes as quickly as possible at the strike of midnight. Accomplishing the feat supposedly gains you good luck for the year, but it’s more than a superstition in that it’s also a game you can lightheartedly play with your friends.

 

2. TALK TO YOUR ANIMALS

Life is good with a faithful friend by your side

In Romania, lore is that New Year’s Eve is the one day of the year that animals can talk, so farmers often go for a chat with their animals. Why not put a twist on that and spend some quality time with your pets to see if you can establish a line of communication? Oddly, Romanians consider bad luck if you’re able to understand what your animal is saying, but that sounds like a total success to me!

3. SHATTER DISHES

white broken plates on a wooden floor

Denmark has a cathartic New Year’s tradition that encourages people to round up their old and broken plates and dishes (not the good/usable stuff) and shatter them against their friends’ doors. Who doesn’t like to smash things occasionally? Don’t worry, your friends won’t be upset to see shards on their front steps – it’s considered a sign of good friendship and popularity to find a lot of broken pieces when you wake up the following morning.

 

4. A SOLID CLEANING

I won't leave a spot behind

Chore might not seem festive, but I can get behind Puerto Rico’s tradition of doing a thorough cleaning both inside and outside of the house. Get that grime and bad energy out of your living space to start the year on a good foot – you really want to put all that off until spring for a spring cleaning?

 

5. TOTING A SUITCASE

Full body young woman walking with travel bag and mobile phone

Want a year full of adventure? Colombians believe that if you roll a suitcase around the block around midnight, you’ll be blessed with a year full of travel. As it is not a custom in the U.S., you might very well weird your neighbors out with this one, but the good news is you won’t be home enough in the near future for it to matter!

 

6. POTATOES UNDER THE BED

Peeled potato

Another fun custom popular in Colombia is a game that involves placing three potatoes under your bed: one peeled, one unpeeled and one only half peeled. At the turn of the New Year, you reach under the bed and grab for a potato. The potato you select is supposedly reflective of the type of year you’ll have: unpeeled means good financial luck, peeled means bad financial luck and the half peeled is somewhere in between.

 

7. RINGING A BELL

Hand  with brass bell

Buddhist temples throughout Japan mark the strike of midnight by ringing giant bells 108 times-exactly 108 times. That’s a precise number because it symbolizes the 108 “earthly desires” Buddhists believe humans are susceptible, and each clang of the bell helps ward off the problems in the new year.

You don’t have to be visiting a Buddhist temple to participate, it’d be easy to modify this by foregoing the traditional noisemakers and getting a bell to (literally) ring in the new year. Plus, counting to 108 is a meditative way to spend your initial minutes of the year.

 

8. HITTING THE WALLS WITH BREAD

Organic Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

Irish residents spend their New Year’s banging their walls with pieces of bread because it is believed to ward off evil as well as bad luck. Plus, you have a snack in hand once you’re done!

 

9. GORGE YOURSELF

Cuisine Culinary Buffet Dinner Catering Dining Food Celebration

If you think you’ll be missing out by not drinking to excess, you could always pursue excess by eating far too much instead. In Estonia, some people eat seven, nine or twelve (depending on the region) meals over the course of New Year’s Eve. Legend says that consuming this much will provide you with the strength of that many men in the coming year. The good news is you don’t have to finish off every plate – you’re encouraged to leave some as a token to your ancestors.

 

Take Action

On behalf of those who will be drinking on New Year’s Eve and those who will be sharing the road with them, sign this petition encouraging the CEOs of Lyft and Uber to offer free rides that night in areas with high percentages of drunk driving fatalities.

 

73 comments

danii p
danii p4 days ago

TYFS

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danii p
danii p4 days ago

TYFS

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danii p
danii p4 days ago

TYFS

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Emma L
Emma L4 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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Shae Lee
Shae L7 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Jessica C
Jessica C11 days ago

thx

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John W
John W12 days ago

Thank you for sharing this with us

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Paula A
Paula A12 days ago

Thank you

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Michael F

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Barb Stuckel
Barb Stuckel16 days ago

So glad to see the promotion of things that doesn't include alcohol. Demise of our society.

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