European New Year’s Eve Traditions

 European New Year’s Eve Traditions

From eating twelve grapes to talking with animals, find out the weirdest European New Year’s Eve traditions you’ve ever heard!

The year is ending and we’re entering a new decade. The 20s! It sounds like it should be good and so you have to celebrate it with style. It doesn’t matter if it’s with family, friends, or your partner; this year we’ll give you the best ideas of how to celebrate it, ensuring a prosperous new year full of love, fortune, and good luck.

Depending on the country and even the region, there are a thousand different ways to celebrate the new year in Europe. Here are 10 of the weirdest.

1. Practice throwing things at your best friend

Where: Denmark

For the Danish, New Year’s Eve is for making mischief. Normally in Denmark the dishes that are broken during the year are stored to throw them at the doors of your best friends and show them all the affection you feel for them. The more broken dishes you have at your door the next day, the more friends and good luck for the new year.


2. Forecasting the future with science


Would you like to know what the new year holds for you? Well, you’re in luck. The Germans, Austrians and Finnish know the formula; melt some lead or tin and you will have your DIY answer. The method is to melt the metal and then pour it over hot water. Depending on the shape the metal takes, you can interpret your future.

If it’s a ball – good luck

If it’s a crown – money

If it’s a cross – death

If it’s a star- happiness

If it’s a heart or ring- a wedding

If it’s a pig – lots of food

If it’s a ship – adventures or trips!

3. Bye wallapop, hello window.

Where: Italy

In southern Italy, they have a weird New Year’s Eve tradition of getting rid of old junk by throwing it out the window as a symbol of new beginnings. Today, as a precaution, most of the objects that are thrown are soft, although if you find yourself in Naples a helmet for your head would be a wise precaution…


4. Eastern European Doctor Doolittle 

Where: Romania and Hungary

Yes, in Europe there are also people who can talk to animals, but not all the time, only on New Year’s Eve. In many areas of eastern Europe there is a belief that animals have the ability to communicate at midnight. Therefore, many farmers and shepherds speak with their flocks. If they get a clear answer it means that the new year will be full of luck.

5. Eat 12 grapes to the son of the bells

Where: Spain and Portugal

In Spain it is a tradition at midnight, to meet in front of the television or at “Puerta del Sol” in the capital (Madrid) where they have the countdown to the new year. At the rhythm of the last twelve bells that indicate the new year, you must eat twelve grapes respectively. If you finish them it means you will have good luck that year. 

In Portugal this tradition is also shared but raisins are eaten instead of grapes.


6. Cross the door threshold at midnight with gifts

Where: Scotland

Have you ever heard about not opening the door to strangers? Well, if the person has dark hair, on New Years’ Eve in Scotland an exception can be made. When midnight arrives in the Scottish houses, no one can enter before a tall man with black hair and gifts, shortbread or whiskey to ensure the best of luck. The tradition dates back to the time of the Vikings where blond and armed men with axes and swords meant, in most cases, problems.

Also, fire plays a big part on NYE to scare away bad things. Torch parades are held to the sound of Scottish bagpipes.


7. Knocking doors with bread

Where: Ireland

Knocking on the door is polite. In Ireland, if you knock on the door on NYE with a loaf of bread, it means good fortune. This is how the Irish chase away evil spirits and attract good luck for the coming year.

Another strange Irish tradition is to predict the political situation that the country will be in by interpreting the direction in which the wind blows at midnight.

8. Lucky charms! Miraculous Bulgaria

Where: Bulgaria

The new year celebration host makes a Batnista and cuts it into slices. There are is some kind of lucky charm hidden inside, most commonly a silver coin. People hide papers with good fortune rhymes in them. These are some of the classic rhymes but the new generations reinvent them every year:

“You will have an opportunity to grab you are gonna get a new job!“, 

“More suitcases and bags to carry, you are gonna get married”,

“No visits to pubs and bars! You are gonna drive a new car!“ 

And finally the one who gets the coin, will be the luckiest of the group and be showered in wealth and health.


9. Men dressed up as women

Where: Ukraine

Ukrainians like the new year so much that they celebrate it twice. Once on January 1st and again on the 14th following the Julian calendar. It is tradition to go from house to house singing Christmas carols or acting out a small play. The only odd thing is that a single person has to lead the group dressed in women’s clothing as if it were a bachelor party.

10. Seven, nine or twelve dish banquets

Where: Estonia

7, 9 & 12 are the good luck numbers for the new year in Estonia so the Estonians have to celebrate it by eating the same number of dishes to attract good luck. There is a belief that the number of dishes you eat on New Year’s Eve will equal the strength of how many men you will have next year. Ensuring you health and good luck.

These are some of the weirdest European traditions for New Years Eve. Do you have some of these in your country or some that are even more weird?  We want to hear about them. Tell us below in the comments!



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