New Year's Eve Traditions Around the World

Many tourists who visit Italy at Christmas time certainly wonder why all lingerie shops’ windows display dozens of red undergarments in all shapes, styles and sizes, for men and women. From boxer shorts to briefs, from lace trimmed thongs to sexy G-strings. All rigorously fire red.
There is a good reason.
From the North to the South of the Boot all Italians firmly believe that to wear red underwear on New Year’s Eve will bring good luck for the coming year.
The tradition requires that the red undies one wears on New Year’s Eve must be new and a gift, so they are a typical Christmas present. My mother, my grandmother and I always found red panties under the Christmas tree, and every year my grandma complained that hers were the dullest of all. She justly protested that she didn’t understand why grandmas were supposed to wear such dreary underwear.
Often at New Year’s Eve parties, after a few (or many) glasses of spumante, guests are loudly required to prove they respected the tradition. The least shy (or the drunkest) of them don’t hesitate to perform sort of amateurish strip-tease for the amusement of all the others.
The greatest success I remember was once a man, a friend of mine, who proudly exhibited some hot red briefs with a big black panther in strategic position. I swear I didn’t give them to him. :slight_smile:

Please share with us if there is a special tradition in your country to celebrate New Year’s Eve.


The traditions I know of (not specific to any country I guess) are:

  • The midnight kiss: I’m sure everybody knows this one LOL. At the end of the countdown when the clock hits midnight, couples always start the new year with a passionate kiss.

  • Hitting the casinos: Many go to the casino and gamble even if just a little, to test how their luck will be for the coming year. This one should be famous among poker players, although people play just about anything, from roulette to slot machines etc…

  • White cake: I think it’s a Greek tradition originally; people bake a white vanilla cake for New Year’s eve which is supposed to bring good luck and fortune (sorry chocolate lovers lol)

These are the ones I know of :grin:


In northern England and Scotland there is a tradition called “first footing.” The first person to enter the house after the stroke of midnight should bring gifts of a lump of coal, a piece of bread and a silver coin. This is to ensure warmth, food and wealth will be upon the household for the coming year. The first footer must be offered hospitality by the recipients to show their gratitude.


Black Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day

The practice of eating black-eyed peas for luck in the USA is generally believed to date back to the Civil War. At first, planted as food for livestock, and later a food staple for slaves in the South, the fields of black-eyed peas were ignored as Sherman’s troops destroyed or stole other crops, thereby giving the humble, but nourishing, black-eyed pea an important role as a major food source for surviving Confederates.
Served with greens (collards, mustard or turnip greens, which varies regionally, the peas represent coins and the greens represent paper money. Cornbread, often served with black-eyed peas and greens, represents gold. .


My family is Mexican American, and there are some Mexican traditions we keep, like tamales on Christmas. There’s one where you eat grapes one at a time to count down the last seconds of the old year before going into the new one. We never did this, but one year, when I was a teenager, my mom rushed in with a bunch of grapes saying that it was tradition to eat them, and I needed to eat them one at a time, every second, RIGHT NOW!! And I had no idea what she was talking about but I raced to put them in my mouth and when I started biting down, I hit a seed and there was a CRUNCH – I was SO jarred, because we NEVER got seeded grapes, and my mom rang in the new year laughing at me.

We never partook of the grape tradition again, though whenever my mom recalled it, she couldn’t even get through the story because she would cry laughing about it. My mom liked to prank me a lot.