Larry Martino

Larry Martino

Larry Martino

Do you, or does your family, have any weird New Year’s superstitions?

The reason I ask is that when I met my wife many years ago, she introduced a very strange New Year’s superstition to me. She and her family are from West Virginia, and her Grandmother had a New Year’s superstition that had been passed down through her family for generations. In order to make it a profitable or successful year, her Grandma would cook corned beef and cabbage on New Year’s Day, and she would put a cleaned and disinfected dime coin, wrapped in cheesecloth, into the pot of boiling cabbage. Whichever member of the family got the cheese-clothed wrapped coin in their bowl of cabbage would supposedly have good fortune in the new year. Kinda weird. right?

I was thinking about her Grandmother’s tradition and I thought I’d do an internet search to find out if there are other strange New Year’s superstitions and traditions. Turns out, there are! Plenty of them. In fact, I found an article written by Greta Heggeness on which lists 17 New Year’s superstitions from around the world. Before we get to the seven most wacky, weird, and wonderful, (in my opinion), here are some that did not make the top 7.

According to the article by Heggeness, folks in Germany and Sweden eat herring on New Year’s Day for good luck. Spaniards created the tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight for good fortune. Residents of the South American country of Colombia are famous for carrying around an empty suitcase on New Year’s Day to prepare for a year of adventures. In the Phillipines there is a legend that if you open your doors a crack at midnight, it will let out all the bad stuff from the year past, and welcome in the good for the upcoming year. In Bolivia, people are very careful to wear a certain color of underwear on New Year’s Day. For example, red undies will bring you love and romance, gold undies will bring wealth, etc. Romanians know how to read the skin of an onion to determine the events for the coming year. Brazilians wear white on New Year’s Day to ward off evil spirits. Here in the USA, southerners like to make corn bread on the first day of the year because it is the color of gold. And, many people believe that babies born on New Year’s Day are destined for good luck throughout their lives.

Now, let’s get to the seven New Year’s superstitions that I thought were the most wacky, weird, or wonderful from the article by Greta Heggeness.


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Larry Martino is the long-time Afternoon Drive personality on 96.3 KKLZ. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of Larry Martino and not necessarily those of Beasley Media Group, LLC.

  • 7) Long Noodles

    Long noodles on a drying rack

    Some cultures, particularly those of Asian countries, incorporate long noodles into their New Year’s Day meals since it is a sign of longevity. And, it is bad luck if you break the long noodles before putting them in the pan.

  • 6) Throwing Unwanted Items Out Of The Window

    Person throwing an old chair out of the window

    Locals in Johannesburg, South Africa celebrate the New Year by throwing unwanted household items out of their windows. I have no idea who picks up all of this trash, but apparently, if you’re not too proud, you may be able to find old televisions, furniture, and kitchen appliances. Score!

  • 5) Banging Bread

    Baker serving loaves of bread

    I’m not sure if this New Year’s superstition is for fun, for relieving stress, or for good fortune, but in Ireland, they take loaves of bread and bang them against the wall. Now that’s “Wonder Bread!” Apparently, the goal is to ward off evil spirits from your home.

  • 4) Burning Photos

    Person burning a photograph

    You may have torn up or burnt a photo of an ex-partner who dumped you, but the people of Ecuador prefer to burn photos on New Year’s Eve to rid themselves of the memories that they don’t want to bring with them in to the New Year.

  • 3) Breaking Dishware

    Broken dishes on floor

    Someone from Denmark needs to explain this one to me, but the Danish break plates, glasses, and assorted dishware on the front porches of their neighbors and friends. I am assuming it will bring their friends and neighbors good fortune in the coming year, but I’m not sure how or why.

  • 2) Throwing Ice Cream On The Floor

    Ice cream cone on floor

    On New Year’s Day in Switzerland, residents are fond of taking a scoop of delicious ice cream…and they throw it on the floor instead of eating it! This superstition is supposed to bring the dessert-tosser abundance in the coming year.

  • 1) Kissing At Midnight

    Couple kissing at midnight on New Year's Eve

    This is a New Year’s tradition with which many of us in the USA are familiar. Kissing the one you love when the clock strikes midnight on the first day of the year. It began as a superstition among the people of England and Germany. They believed kissing the one with whom you are enamored at the start of the New Year will strengthen a budding romance. Conversely, no kiss at midnight could mean a loveless future. I just think its a fun way to start the year! Happy New Year!

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