Life

5 beautiful New Year‘s Eve traditions and rituals from around the world

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Megan Murray
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Make this New Year extra special and try a tradition to say goodbye to the old, and hello to the new.

New Year’s Eve is a time for glitter, sparkle, music, dancing and drinking. A time for celebrating with friends and family and cheersing the stroke of midnight with an all mighty countdown. And there’s plenty of ways to do it, thanks to the hundreds of fabulous New Year’s Eve parties all over London (and sky-high restaurants).

But New Year is also about reflection. As another year comes to a close, it’s natural to think about what you would like the next one to hold and to start mentally preparing for it, something every culture does differently. 

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From Brazil to Thailand, so many countries have their own special traditions that help their people look forward to new opportunities. And we think these traditions could add another element of celebration to our New Year’s routine.

We’ve looked at five rituals from around the world as inspiration to make our New Year’s a little more reflective and to treasure the turning of the year. 

Argentina 

The people of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires shred old documents to help them look forward to the new year ahead. On the last day of the year they gather any papers, letters, notes or documents that symbolise the past year and at noon shred them into little pieces. 

To follow the tradition exactly, throw them from your window so that they fly out onto the streets and leave you free to embrace the future. We can only imagine how magical it looks at 12 midday in Buenos Aires as thousands of people throw paper confetti from their houses. 

Italy 

Italians have a reputation for passion, and if their New Year’s Eve tradition is anything to go by, we can see why. Shortly after Christmas many Italian shops start selling exclusively red underwear in order to get ready for the 31 December when tradition dictates that everyone wears something a scarlet underneath their clothes. Take it to the next level and theme your New Year’s Eve party to this emotive colour, we’re thinking little red dresses would make for a fabulous dress code.

Top tip from Stylist’s own picture editor Alessia Armenise, who is a native Northern Italian? Cook up a lentil storm in the kitchen for an authentic New Year’s Eve feast: Italians believe these pulses will bring you good fortune. 

Brazil 

Take a trip to Brazil for New Year and you’ll be privy to a wonderfully optimistic ritual, that’s supposed to welcome all sorts of prosperity into your life.

On the 31 December people in some areas of Brazil will walk down to their local beach and, surrounded by the stretching sands and the serene sounds of the waves coming in and out, think about what the next year will hold.

With hopes for peace, love and money they push candles into the sand and light them for good luck, which sounds like a beautiful way to spend the last day of the year to us. 

Thailand

It’s universally felt that the start of a new year brings with it feelings of regeneration as we try and forget the lows of the last 365 days and hope for something better in those to come. In Thailand, this ‘washing away’ of the previous year is done quite literally, as it’s custom to throw water over your friends and family to absolve them from any negativity in their lives.  

This sounds like a bit of a messy affair, but we like the idea in theory. Does running yourself the bath of all baths count? We think some luxurious bath oils, soothing candles and a contemplative playlist would make for a cleansing ritual – both mentally and physically.

France

For the French the festive period is all about decadence – which hardly surprises us, as is their naturally fabulous nature. For the final meal of the year it’s tradition for people all over the country to go big, indulging in all of their favourite and most lavish foods. 

Popular choices are foie gras, oysters and of course, lots and lots of champagne. Now, that’s a tradition we could definitely get involved with.  

Images: Getty 

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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