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Breaking plates and binge-eating: People around the world celebrate New Years in different ways

Different cultures have different, odder, ways of ringing in a new year.

IT’S NEW YEAR’S Eve. Time to get cracking on a list of resolutions and look forward to a night of introspection and contemplation of the year just passed.

Or time to get blind drunk and yodel Fairytale of New York at the top of your voice. It’s a free country.

In Ireland, our traditions for New Year aren’t too far out of left field. But elsewhere around the world some slightly, well, odd practices are par for the course when it comes to ringing out the old and ringing in the new.

Such as:

Denmark – the breaking of plates

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The Danes store up their chipped and otherwise blemished crockery over the course of a year and then chuck it at the front doors of your friends and loved ones

South America – specific underwear colours for the new year

shutterstock_273079649 Source: Shutterstock/Veniamin Kraskov

In Peru and Argentina (and Mexico too) the colour of underwear worn as the New Year comes in is key to establishing what kind of year you’re about to have. If you’re looking for grá for instance, then red undercrackers are the way to go.

Spain – power-eating grapes at midnight

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Our European cousins believe that consuming one grape for each bell toll at midnight on New Year’s Eve will lead to a prosperous and bountiful year to come. And possibly a sick tummy.

Japan – the ringing of the bells. 108 times

shutterstock_364961684 Source: Shutterstock/Pavel Skopets

In Japan, New Year (“Omisoka”) involves all the country’s Buddhist temples ringing their (possibly tubular) bells a whopping 108 times. This is done to ward off negative mental states.

Switzerland – the dropping of the ice cream

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Yes, the Swiss not only eat ice cream at the coldest time of year, but also spend the eve of a new year dropping it all over the place. They also like dropping it on each other. The mad eejits.

Thailand – Grey talc

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New Year is a big deal in Thailand. To celebrate, they enjoy chucking water at each other, which is ok because at least it’s warm. They also smear each other with a sort of grey talcum powder. And why not.

Chile – sleeping in a graveyard

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The people of Talca in central Chile have a tradition of spending their New Year in a candlelit vigil with their departed loved ones at the local cemetery.

Russia – Icy baths

shutterstock_365792828 Source: Shutterstock/Anton Watman

The Russians are fond of dunking themselves in ice cold water at New Year to wash away the previous year’s sins and prepare for the year ahead. Bear in mind, temperatures in Eastern Russia on 1 January can be as low as -50 degrees celsius. Hardy bucks.

Estonia – eating for the year ahead

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The Estonians believe that someone who can manage between seven and 12 meals on New Year’s will be set for a year of plenty. Granted, most Irish people eat their own body weight in turkey on Christmas Day. Still, 12 meals sounds like a stretch, quite literally.

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