Weird New Year’s Traditions From Around the World

New Year’s Eve is a popular holiday celebrated all over the world with fireworks, cannon-fire, counting-down the clock and all sorts of other fun-filled activities. But there are other, less conventional ways of greeting the new year. Here’s a look at five of the world’s most unusual New Year’s traditions:

New Year under water

New Year Dive

New Year Dive

Baikal, the world’s deepest lake and Earth’s largest freshwater reserve, is host to one of the strangest, most dangerous New Year’s traditions. Professional divers will cut a hole in the ice covering the lake, dive down 40 meters and take part in a ritual carried out every year since 1982.

One of the divers gets to carry the New Year tree to the bottom of the lake, wearing equipment over 100 kg-heavy, while others will dance around the tree. The Ice Maiden and Father Frost, two popular figures in Russian culture, will also be present for the festivities and the divers will get to have their pictures taken with them.

Scuba-divers from the Siberian city of Novosibirsk have become famous for performing the dangerous dive.

New Years at the cemetery

New Year Cemetery

New Year Cemetery

For the past 11 years, the people of Talca, a small Chilean city, have been spending New Year’s with their dead relatives, at the municipal cemetery.

After the town’s vicar finishes mass, around eleven o’clock at night, the mayor opens the doors to the cemetery and people are welcomed with dim lights and classical music. Those who enjoy waiting for the New Year near their loved-ones’ graves can do so in a peaceful atmosphere.

The tradition began in 1995, when a local family jumped the cemetery fence to spend New Year’s near their father’s grave. Now over 5,000 people have adopted this tradition.

New Year spiritism

Spiritism session

Spiritism session

Mexicans believe they can communicate with the spirits of the dead and they are famous for their “day of the Dead” celebration. Apparently New Year’s is also a great time to contact people who have left our realm and, if you’re willing to spend $15, the Taos Inn, in New Mexico offers 15 minutes session of spiritism and meditation.

New Years soap-opera

New Year Soap-opera

New Year Soap-opera

What do you think most Germans do on New Year’s Eve? I bet you would say anything but “watch an obscure British television skit”. As strange as it might seem, watching “Dinner for One” has become Germany’s most popular New Year’s tradition.

This is nothing like Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” is for Americans during the Christmas season. We’re talking about a television skit that has never been aired in Britain or any English-speaking country, but is extremely popular in a country so proud of its national culture.

New Year with new energy

Inca city

Inca city

In places like Cusco and Machu Picchu people still practice the ancient rituals of the Inca. One of these, Temascal, has become very popular among the tourists that visit Peru on New Year’s. Temascal involves a small, wooden chamber covered by cloth and that signifies a womb, the womb of Mother Earth.

During Temascal, the person steps into the wooden chamber where his aura is cleansed and they come purified, as if they are reborn.

Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

4 Comments for "Weird New Year’s Traditions From Around the World"

bali beaches says on March 8th, 2010 at 8:38 pm:

A few other things to note: outside the Mataram/Senggigi area on Lombok, emergency services may be nonexistent, or a long time coming. Don’t expect an ambulance to collect injured surfers from the southwest coast. The Gili Islands don’t have a formal police force. Bangsal, Mawi and Kuta have problems worth noting.


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