11. Mexico: Giving the gift of homemade tamales
In Mexico families gather to make New Year’s Eve food—specifically tamales, which are corn dough stuffed with meat, cheese, and veggies all wrapped in husks—and then hand them out to loved ones on New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Day, the warm pockets are often served with menudo, a traditional Mexican soup made from cow’s stomach.
12. Greece: Hanging an onion outside the door
Not only are onions a kitchen staple, they can also bring you good luck for the new year ahead. In Greece it’s tradition to hang an onion outside your door. Believed to symbolize fertility and growth (thanks to its ability to sprout on its own), the onion is hung on the door after church service on New Year’s Day.
13. Colombia: Placing three potatoes under the bed
On New Year’s Eve, Colombian households have a tradition, called agüero, of placing three potatoes under each family member’s bed—one peeled, one not, and the last one only partially. At midnight each person grabs for one with eyes closed and depending on the potato they select, can either expect a year of good fortune, financial struggle, or a mix of both.
14. Ireland: Banging bread against the walls
To ward off evil spirits, families in Ireland make way for a healthy and prosperous new year by banging loaves of Christmas bread against the walls and doors throughout the home.
15. Norway and Denmark: Celebrating with a towering cake
Kransekake, a traditional ringed cake often made with at least 18 layers, is eaten in both Denmark and Norway on New Year’s Eve. The sugary layers, which look like cookies, are held together with a tasty royal icing.