14 Weird New Year’s Traditions

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We’re not mind readers over here at Men’s Fitness, but we’re willing to bet that your plans for New Year’s Eve are fairly normal. Maybe you’re heading out to a party with your buddies. Maybe you’re spending a quiet night in with your girl. But spending the evening in a cemetery or shoveling grapes in your mouth when the clock strikes 12? Pass. Turns out, there are dozens of weird ways to say out with the old and in with the new, and we’ve rounded up the weirdest ones.

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14. Banging Pots and Pans

Let’s start with a fairly normal one, shall we? Maybe you even did this as a kid, but what was the point of banging on pots and pans, other than annoying your neighbors? Long before ghost communicators had reality TV shows, the tradition served as a way to drive away evil spirits.

13. Dropping, Well, Anything 

Not everyone can be in Times Square for NYE, so other cities and towns have had to come up with their own New Year’s “ball.” Some out-there examples include a peach, a tangerine, a ruby slipper, a pinecone, and a guitar.

12. Wearing Certain Color Underwear

Legend has it that whatever color underwear you’re wearing when the clock strikes 12 influences your luck in the New Year. Don’t own any red (love/passion) or yellow (wealth/success) boxer briefs? More common colors have good fortunes, too–white means you’ll have peace and blue means good health.

11. Stepping With Your Right Foot

Many cultural groups believe in stepping with the right foot once it hits 12. Get it? You’re starting off on the right foot? Ehh…bad joke.

10. A Group Kiss

Sure, it’s common to kiss a loved one at midnight. What gets a little weird is when you feel the need to purposely engage in PDA with your loved one while being squished against a stranger. Yep, St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy is one big make-out fest for New Year’s – thousands of people gather there. They set records.

9. Wearing Polka Dots

It’s not always about metallic colors. People in the Philippines wear polka dots on New Year’s Eve in order to bring prosperity and wealth for the next 12 months. Why? The round shape kind of looks like a coin. We may try and start something new by wearing stripes to indicate dollars.

8. Polar Bear Plunge

All around the world people will be running into freezing cold lakes and oceans to kick off 2014. While some brave the frigid temperatures to raise money for charity, others just do it for “fun.” Sick, twisted, freezing fun.

7. Fireball Parade

In Scotland, locals celebrate NYE by building bonfires and swinging poles with fireballs on them. It’s supposed to symbolize the sun and purify the coming year. Sounds good in theory, but the whole playing with fire thing seems like an idea you’ll live to regret. P.S.: Do a lot of pyromaniacs live in Scotland?

6. First House Guest Determining the Year’s Luck

An old Irish superstition places a lot of importance on the first person who walks through your door in the New Year. If it’s a tall, dark, handsome man, you’ll have good luck. If it’s a red-haired girl, you’ll have hardship and grief. Yikes.

5. Throwing Furniture Out the Window

If you’re in Johannesburg, South Africa for New Year’s Eve, you’d better not go for a walk at 11:59 p.m. Everyone throws furniture, appliances–whatever they want to get rid of–out the window in order to get a fresh start. That’s actually a good idea. Easy clean up.

4. Eating Grapes at Midnight

How many grapes can you eat at the stroke of midnight? You’d better say 12 if you’re celebrating in Spain. There, it’s one grape for every time the clock chimes at 12. They say it’s for prosperity, but we’d like to suggest a simpler solution–wine.

3. Celebrating with the Dead

A city in Chile opens up its graveyard so that people can celebrate with their relatives and ancestors. It’s kind of sweet–in a really creepy way.

2. Interpreting Molten Tin

We’re not sure why you’d have molten tin sitting around, but a tradition from Finland requires you to throw it into water and interpret the shape it takes. Beware the crazy, single girl who gets a circle. That one means marriage.

1. Trying to Hear Animals Talk 

What does the fox say? In Romania, if you don’t hear animals talking on New Year’s Eve, that’s a good thing. As if it ever wasn’t a good thing to hear an animal talk to you.

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