Global New Year's Ideas to Make this Year's Celebration More Eclectic

If you’re looking for New Year’s ideas to make this year’s celebration more special, you can take some inspiration from many of the traditions and customs practiced around the world at this time of year. Looking at some of the most popular New Year’s traditions can help party planners think about some of the events, foods, themes and activities that have made up so much of our collective past.

Clocks, Bells and Guns

All over the world, people celebrate New Year’s as the end of one era and the beginning of another one. Different cultures do this in various ways, but some common themes show through. Many countries have a tradition of using clocks to chime in the new year, where other parts of the world may use church bells or other loud sounding instruments. In some places, locals like to shoot off guns to mark the beginning of the year, although laws and safety standards apply to this particular tradition.

Dropping the Ball

Some cultures celebrate the new year by dropping a tangible object from great height. In some places, this is a ball or sphere. Other localities have their own object signifying something distinctive about a cultural identity.

Good Luck Grapes

In different countries from Spain to Peru and Portugal, locals celebrate the new year by eating twelve grapes. These twelve grapes symbolize the twelve months of the year. Just for extra good luck, some traditions include thirteen grapes instead of the usual twelve.


Money is something that some cultures identify with the new year. In some parts of the world, residents bake coins into bread or other baked goods, and the person who “finds” this item has good luck – unless they end up breaking a tooth! Take care to warn people if you are thinking about adding this age-old custom to a party or celebration.


Various colors are associated with New Year’s celebrations in the countries that tend to celebrate this holiday on January 1. Among those colors most likely to be associated with the new year are green, gold and silver.

Fatty Foods

Various countries celebrate the new year by eating pork or other rich cuisine. This is supposed to represent prosperity for the year ahead.

Any of the above world conditions can inform your specific New Year’s party or celebration. It’s important to keep in mind that many countries celebrate New Year’s day on different dates. There’s a particular strong tradition in countries all over the world of celebrating New Year’s, not on January 1, but on a spring equinox, according to a solar calendar. You can still include New Year’s customs from these cultures in your winter celebration if they apply. Making a New Year’s party more cosmopolitan gives it a vibrant character and helps people to remember their time as they mark the new year and look forward to good times ahead.