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Some Europeans eat grapes while others keep fish scales or predict their future

How different countries ring in the New Year

How different countries ring in the New Year

One nation believes keeping the scales of a carp in your wallet will bring you good fortune and money

Every year on 31 December, people all over the world dress up in their best – and most sparkly – clothes to welcome the New Year. They celebrate with their loved ones and embrace one another once the clock strikes midnight, always hoping that the new year will be better than the last.

Hoping, however, is not enough as people generally dislike feeling as though matters are out of their hands. For this reason, many nations practice traditions that they believe will guarantee them a prosperous new year filled with good fortune. Not surprisingly, these practices stem from age-old superstitions.

Eat grapes to have a lucky year

Golloping 12 grapes is a well-known Spanish New Year’s Eve tradition, although not everyone understands why. The number of grapes is not arbitrary but rather significant, symbolising the 12 months of the year.

For each strike of the clock at midnight, people practising the custom must eat one grape. If they finish all 12 grapes in time, they will have luck in all 12 months. If they are too slow, they may have a few unlucky ones.

Cook a carp and keep its scales for wealth

Many German families eat carp on New Year’s Eve. The meal, in itself, is not surprising as many countries in central and eastern Europe eat this fish during the holiday season on either Christmas or 31 December.

What makes this tradition special, however, is keeping the scales of the carp. Believing that the round and coin-shaped scales will bring them good fortune and heaps of money, many people keep them in their wallets for the entire year.

Use molten metal to predict your future

Not satisfied with simply hoping for luck and waiting for the year to unfold, Finns take part in a complex practice to find out what will happen over the next 12 months. More specifically, they melt a little piece of metal – typically a small horseshoe – then toss it into cold water. The molten metal then hardens and takes a unique shape that holds the secrets of the new year.  

If bubbles appear, the coming months will be filled with luck. If the molten metal breaks up into many pieces, one must be wary of what’s to come. Taking on the shape of a heart or ring bodes well for those seeking love and forming a ship symbolises travel.

This year, instead of only wishing for good fortune, try out a new tradition as you never know what a centuries-old custom can bring.  

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