10 Wacky Traditions to Improve Your Luck
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Lucky Charms1 of 11
By Kelly Mickle
Looking to bring a little luck to your life next year? From smashing dishes to melting metal and jumping over ocean waves, we scoured the globe to find the world's coolest—and strangest—New Year's Eve traditions to help bring you good fortune in 2014. Here, ten ways to make next year your best year yet.
Smash Hit2 of 11
The Danish loudly ring in the new year by smashing plates on the front stoops of their friends' houses. The more broken dishes on your doorstep, the more friends you have! Looking for a less destructive way to celebrate? Another Danish ritual is to stand on chairs and jump off at midnight to banish bad spirits and leap into the new year with good luck.
Guests of Honor3 of 11
According to Scottish folklore, the first person to cross your home's threshold after midnight determines your luck for the new year. The Scots now celebrate this tradition, called first-footing, by visiting each other's homes where they exchange food, drinks and small gifts for good fortune. And in Stonehaven, a town on Scotland's east coast, kilt-wearing locals parade through the streets swinging giant fireballs on poles to burn off evil spirits from the old year so the new year can begin anew.
Hue Knew?4 of 11
Forget boxers or briefs, it's the color of your underwear that matters in Latin American countries like Mexico and Argentina. The shade you choose on New Year's Eve signifies your resolution for the coming year. Wear red to attract love, yellow to reap financial success or crisp white to make peace your top priority for 2014.
Bear Fruit5 of 11
Hoping for a fruitful new year? At midnight in Spain and Portugal partiers scarf down 12 grapes, one at each stroke of the clock, to bring good luck for each month of the coming year—easier said than done!
Catch the Wave6 of 11
New Year's falls in the middle of Brazil's summer, making it the perfect time for holiday beach parties. After midnight, merrymakers head to the sea and jump over seven waves—one for each New Year's wish—to increase the likelihood that their dreams will come true. Talk about a refreshing way to start 2014!
Write On7 of 11
Russian revelers write their biggest wish for the new year on a piece of paper. Once the clock strikes midnight, they burn the wish with a candle, then dump the ashes in a glass of champagne and drink it before the chimes stop striking to make their dream come true.
Heavy Metal8 of 11
A hot New Year's Eve tradition in Germany: Lead pouring. Germans melt lead (in a tablespoon over an open flame) then pour it into a bucket of water. Once it cools and hardens, they interpret the metal's shape to see their future for the coming year. A heart or ring forecasts a wedding, a ship signifies travel and a ball means luck will roll your way.
Take the Cake9 of 11
To bless their homes and secure good luck for the coming year, Greeks bake vasilopita (aka, St. Basil cake). A coin or trinket is slipped in the dough before it's baked, then at midnight the cake is cut and shared with family and friends. Whoever finds the hidden treasure in their piece of cake will be especially lucky during the coming year!
Round Out10 of 11
In the Philippines, it is believed that round shapes (representing coins) symbolize prosperity and abundance. For the holiday, Filipinos decorate their dining tables with heaps of round fruits—even causing the price of spherical fruit to skyrocket in the country before the new year. Others dress in polka dots, another way to celebrate the lucky shape.
Soup's On11 of 11
The Japanese celebrate New Year's Eve with a bowl of soba noodles. The lengthy buckwheat noodles symbolize a long and prosperous life, so slurping an entire noodle without biting or breaking it will secure a long, fruitful life.