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New Year’s has always been my favorite holiday. It is always a fun time, and though I’ve never quite understood time, I love the idea of cleansing your plate and saying good bye to the burdens of the year prior. It is a way to start fresh and be thankful for what has happened, as well as what is to come. This year was so different that on New Year’s Eve, I found myself researching what New Year’s looks like around the world, and I found so many fun traditions to wish for luck, love, and call for celebration. 

United States

In the United States, New Year’s Eve is often celebrated by watching the New York Times Square ball drop as the clock strikes 12, fireworks, and celebrating with fun drinks.


There is a tradition in Mexico where you wear different colored underwear to symbolize the thing you hope to receive in the upcoming year. Here are their meanings:

Red: Love

Yellow: Happiness 

Green: Health

White: Peace

Pink: Friendship

Another Mexican tradition I love is to walk around the block holding a suitcase so the upcoming year is full of traveling! This is also common in other parts of Latin America.

Vineyard Grape Bunches
Alexandra R / Spoon

To celebrate the New Year, Spain holds a tradition where 12 seconds before midnight hits, they must eat 12 grapes. The tradition states that by not doing so, you are “poisoning your fate,” for the New Year. Managing to eat the grapes signifies good luck in the upcoming year.


According to the ancient Greeks, onions were a symbol of fertility and rebirth. The importance of the onion has since remained, so in Greece, it is a New Year’s tradition to hang an onion outside of your door to bring growth and rebirth in the upcoming year. 


In Rio, it is a common tradition to throw white flowers and float candles in the river as an offering to Goddess Lemanja, or the Queen of the Ocean. They are made in hopes that the goddess will grant their New Year’s wishes. The tradition is accompanied with samba music and fireworks.


Underwear, onions, grapes, but perhaps the most unique of traditions is this one. In Denmark, it is common to smash as many plates as possible on New Years, as they signify good luck. The more you smash, the luckier you’ll be.


On New Year’s, many people enjoy a cold glass of champagne. In Russia, they take this to the next level by adding ashes to theirs. No, not the ashes of a dead body. What they do is write down all of their goals for the upcoming year, burn it, and add those ashes to their glass. I love it!

New Years is a holiday celebrated internationally. No matter the traditions you follow, it is so cool to think that everyone everywhere is celebrating too! Kind of. Time zones are a thing and that is something I still don’t get. 

Ella Salazar

CU Boulder '23

Ella is majoring in International Affairs and Journalism. She loves books, makeup, and good food. In her free time she likes to find new coffee shops, watch good movies, and travel.
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