15 New Year’s Day Traditions From Around the World

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15 New Year’s Day Traditions From Around the World

It’s officially December, which means you have full permission to blast Mariah Carey, write down your resolutions, and make your plans to ring in 2021 with New Year’s Day traditions from around the world. 2021 has truly been a year like no other, but one thing has been clear—certain practices are now more important than ever, as they keep us grounded and remind us of the future ahead (and what to look out for, if you’re superstitious). 

While we can’t travel, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day traditions from cultures all over the globe. Pick one that lends itself to virtual celebration, ask a few friends to join in the fun, and send out that Zoom invite. We all need all the good luck we can get! May 2021 be a year of good fortune with a generous dose of sanity. 

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1. United States: Watching the ball drop

Millions of Americans gather around their television sets (or on the streets of Times Square, despite freezing temps) to watch the ball drop at the stroke of midnight each year. Kicking off in 1907 to ring in January 1908, New York Times owner Adolph Ochs created the event to draw attention to the Times‘s new headquarters, and it’s been an annual spectacle ever since. This year there won’t be any crowds lined up (to keep in line with social distancing measures), and most of the events will be virtual, save for a few celebrity appearances and performances that will be broadcast. 

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2. Brazil: Heading to the beach

“In Brazil, people usually go to the beach since it’s the summer there. Immediately after midnight, you’re supposed to jump seven waves while making seven wishes,” says Hudson Bohr, a Brazilian photographer based in NYC. The tradition is rooted in paying homage to Yemanja, the goddess of water. “Before you get in the water, you’re supposed to wear all white, as it symbolizes purity.”

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