I’ve concluded that every New Years tradition originates from a lunatic. No joke. People do really bizarre shit when they celebrate. Here in America, we drink, make out, blow things up in the sky, and generate obnoxious noises with pots and pans. Perhaps worst of all, we watch a ball drop (which sounds like we’re watching puberty).
But the United States is only the beginning. Nut jobs have established odd traditions and customs all around the globe. For your amusement, I’ve drafted a short list of bizarre, world-wide New Years rituals that strike my fancy. Enjoy.
1. Wear Bright Underwear
Residents of Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, and other South American countries welcome the New Year by wearing colorful panties. The specifications for these underwear tend to vary, but most traditions encourage bright, radiant colors. Those who want to find love wear red underwear, and those who seek luck wear yellow. I’m assuming if you want to get lucky with someone, you wear orange?
The tradition comes from an old belief that people can catch good fortune in their drawers… but this makes NO sense to me. Usually when my underwear catches something, it ends up being shitty.
All joking aside, this tradition could be a lot of fun. Simply writing about it makes me happy. Nothing is closer to a smile than tight underwear… they both make your cheeks go up.
2. Burn A Scarecrow
Ecuador has a unique custom of burning scarecrows on New Year’s Eve. On the last day of the year, young guys gather giant bamboo poles and dress them up like dolls. After stuffing them with newspapers and wood shards, the dolls are placed in their yards. As midnight approaches, families gather outside and burn them down.
Now, if a pile of burning bodies doesn’t ward off those pesky crows, it might be time to move.
According to tradition, the burning of these scarecrows represents the passing away of the old year. It destroys all the negativity that has taken place and provides a fresh, brighter start. However, if this act leads to more bad things, like, say, your house catching on fire, you might want to put the lighter away.
Perhaps even more bizarre; as the scarecrows burn, the young men of Ecuador dress up as women. [Insert flamer joke here]. Nothing says celebration like a drag show! You can’t blame them for being a little confused, after all, considering they devote their entire day to life-sized Barbies.
3. Throw Dishes At Neighbors
A fun Danish tradition involves throwing breakable dishes at your neighbors’ doors. People start by spending their entire year collecting dishes. As soon as the year ends, these dishes are viciously launched at the homes of friends and family. I bet I can predict the most popular Danish New Years resolution: buy new kitchenware.
Strangely, this outlandish custom makes the victims happy. The family with the biggest tower of broken plates, glasses, bottles, and cups (and maybe even a few windows) at their doorstep is considered to be the luckiest. They are crowned and honored for having the most loyal friends. But are they loyal enough to clean that shit up?
If you’re planning on picking up this tradition, it might be advantageous to first consider your own customs and traditions. I mean, I can only imagine how expensively dangerous a Greek New Years wedding would be…