World’s weirdest New Year’s Eve traditions – from red undies to empty suitcases

New Year's Eve is a time for celebrations and to party with loved ones, a potential love interest or a group of friends – but for some, the special night means honouring the dead, predicting fortunes and peculiar feasts.

As the UK prepare to see in the new year with fireworks, champagne and a midnight kiss, other countries plan to mark the end of 2021 in more unconventional ways.

So here at the Daily Star we have decided to list seven of the most unusual traditions which are practised across the world in preparation for the new year – but believe us, there are plenty of them out there.

Grapes at midnight

Fancy a grape anyone? While some may link the fruit to healthy eating or a tasty glass of wine, Spain relies on the food for good luck.

The country believes that the fruit can help bring prosperity to the new year, reports The Greeley Tribune.

And not just a handful either, the exact amount one must eat is 12.

The tradition has been around since the late 19th century and comes into effect when people eat one grape for each stroke of the bell after it strikes 12.

Red undies


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Wearing red underwear is a big custom for Italy, but not for love and lust like you may think.

In Italy, the colour red is linked to fertility, which is why it is believed that red underwear will bring good luck.

The tradition applies to both men and women looking to plan a pregnancy or to conceive in the new year.

Trees under lakes

This tradition is rather unique and has been around for the past 25 years.


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In Russia, two divers venture into the frozen Lake Baikal to plant a New Year Tree to bring positivity into the new year.

The divers have to swim more than 100 feet below the surface for the tradition to work.

The tree is normally decorated with things that are associated with good luck to help bring cheer to the community in the new year.

Service at cemeteries

One may not usually think to hold a church service among the dead, but in Chile remembering loved ones is a common theme in the holidays.

New Year's Eve church services take place in cemeteries so that families can include their deceased in the festivities.

Smashed plates at door


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In Denmark, it's usual to find a smashed plate or glass on your doorstep, and the bigger the pile, the luckier you'll be.

The Danish tradition sees friends through plates at each others doors to help release aggression or let go of ill-will.

Fortune apples

When most people think about predicting fortune, they think of tarot cards, a glass ball or even a hand reading.

But in the Czech Republic, apples are used to predict people's fortune instead.


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On New Year's Eve, the fruit is cut in half to have a deeper look at the apple's core, which is thought to determine the fate of those looking at it.

It is believed that if the core looks like a star, those around the apple will have a great year ahead of them.

But if the core looks more like a cross then those surrounding the fruit will fall ill.

Doorstep onions

As a symbol of rebirth ahead of the New Year, people living in Greece will hang an onion or two outside of their homes.

The next day, parents usually wake up to their children tapping them on the head with the onion as a new years welcome.

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