Years ago, my son decided he wanted to do something fun to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I was sure there had to be more kid-friendly traditions than watching the ball drop and kissing your partner. So I did some poking around on the internet, and found kid-friendly traditions from around the globe. Then we thought: Why limit ourselves to enjoying just ONE New Year’s Eve? Wouldn’t it be fun to celebrate in spirit with other countries around the world as their clocks turned over into the New Year?! So we did some research, and starting at 8 PM Pacific, every hour on the hour, we celebrated a different country as their clocks struck midnight. Below are the places we chose and their traditions, starting at 4 hours ahead of our midnight here in the Pacific Northwest.
- San Juan, Puerto Rico – clean the house during the day, reserving the cleaning water. Then throw the dirty water out the front door at midnight to drive away evil spirits and any negativity from the previous year. You could also sprinkle sugar outside your house for good luck.
- Bogota, Colombia – Walk or run around the block with an empty suitcase to guarantee travel in the coming year. Be sure to take the first step with your right foot to make sure your travels are happy!
- Mexico City, Mexico – leave lentils outside your door, put a handful in your pocket, or snack on a spoonful right before midnight. Lentils are associated with abundance and good fortune.
- Edmonton, Canada – Clapping and roaring to scare away negative energies
- Arizona, USA – Calling his grandparents in Arizona to count down the new year with them
- Denmark – jump off a couch, table, or chair into the New Year to bring good luck. Or for kids, jump as high as you can to help you grow taller this year.
Some other fun traditions:
Philippines – open all the doors, windows and cabinets in the house to welcome in good luck. Then as the clock strikes midnight run around shutting them to drive away bad spirits or energy with loud noises.
Venezuela – wear yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve to bring good luck.
Guatemala – Toss 12 pennies behind your back to bring wealth in the New Year.
Of course you could also design your own family New Year traditions. If your family loves art, try collaborating on a huge illustration of all the good things you hope for your family in the coming year. Or if your family loves games and competition, try making a list of different traditions or tasks and compete with family members to see who can get through the most between 11:45 and midnight. New Year’s Eve can be about much more than just counting down the ball drop in Times Square. Make it your own!