Finally, an excuse to stay in for New Year’s. While all of us anti-social, claustrophobic, early-to-bed folks are rejoicing, the end of 2020 and the beginning of a new— hopefully, better— year is still cause to celebrate with your family. Since gathering with the families of your kids’ friends won’t cut it this year, we literally scoured the globe for some fun, creative NYE traditions from around the world. All of these activities are quick, easy, and should mostly only require things already in your house. These small celebrations should bring about some laughter because of their newness and an opportunity to teach your kids a little bit about other cultures.
Ireland: Banging Bread
Carbs are the enemy, right? Gather the family and participate in a nice group vent session. Surely smacking loaves of bread against a wall should help relieve some of the 2020 stresses like missed birthday parties for your kids and dropped Zoom calls for you. The Irish believe that this practice will fend off back luck and evil spirits for the year ahead, something we can all agree on would be a good idea. This should be a fun way to spend a few minutes, especially because a baguette makes for an awfully good faux-lightsaber.
Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia: Colored Undies
Perhaps it is a surprise that this is such a widespread tradition around the world, but it definitely should draw a few giggles from the little ones. The tradition is really quite simple, wearing different colored underwear on New Year’s Eve is supposed to bring about various kinds of fortunes for the upcoming year. Some of the more common options are yellow for more money—or a higher allowance— and red for love.
Spain: 12 Grapes
What kid doesn’t love grapes? Well now on New Year’s Eve you can turn their snack into a fun story and activity. On New Year’s people in Spain will eat 12 grapes at midnight, one for every time the bell tolls. This is believed by the Spainards to bring a year of prosperity and good fortunes. Our pro tip would be to not worry about making it to midnight and just letting the kids try this tradition at any hour of the day. Besides, it’s 12 o’clock somewhere.
Colombia: Suitcase Parades
In Colombia, each year many people will rummage through their closets, grab their empty suitcases, then take them outside for a walk around the block. Taking this traditional stroll is supposed to symbolize the travels you hope to take the following year and will help achieve those vagabond dreams. Is there any better year for this tradition? We think not. Sure, traveling with kids is a pain, but admit it, you missed going somewhere in 2020.
Myanmar: Splashing Water
Locals in Myanmar often will splash each other with water on New Year’s. This is said to purify and cleanse the soul. While this tradition seemingly has some spiritual connotations, we’re pretty sure that if a simple splash turns into an all-out family water fight, no one will mind.
Brazil: Hopping Over Waves
This Brazilian activity is geared towards our coastal audiences. On New Year’s those living on the Brazilian coast will head to the beach and jump over seven waves while simultaneously making a wish for each wave. Many people will also bring white flowers to scatter in the water for additional good luck. We think this would be a great way to do something out of the house on New Year’s Eve that is fun for the kids and avoids any kind of worrisome crowd.