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New Year’s Traditions From Around The World

When you think of New Year’s, you likely think of the countdown to the ball drop at midnight, followed by a champagne toast and maybe a special kiss at midnight. While this is common and customary for folks who grew up or live in the United States, a look at New Year’s traditions around the world may make us scratch our heads. While these practices may seem taboo, most of the reasons behind them make sense.

Chile – Sleeping With The Dead

Though a fairly new tradition (said to have originated in 1995), this practice of sleeping in graveyards is common in the small town Talca, Chile. It is said that a family jumped the fence of a cemetery to celebrate New Year’s Eve with their deceased father. Since then, the practice has caught on and you’ll find many locals at the cemetery on the eve of the New Year. While the act may seem creepy in itself, the sentiment is sincere.

Denmark – Smashing Plates

Smashing plates doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary, but the significance is a bit confusing. People in Denmark smash plates against their neighbor’s doors, and those with the most broken plates on their doorstep are said to be the most popular. Quite an interesting way to show affection, if you ask us.

Romania – Talking To Animals / Bear Dancing

Romanians have two bizarre traditions. On New Year’s Eve, farmers in Romania often talk to their livestock in order to bring them good luck in the coming year. Elsewhere in Romania, some people dress up in bear costumes, or brightly colored clothing, and dance at various houses in order to ward off bad spirits and demons. These dancing bears may also earn tips for their community service.

Estonia – Eating Too Much

In Estonia, on New Year’s Eve, it is customary to consume a total of seven meals for that day. These seven meals are supposed to ensure abundance throughout the New Year. In the US, I think we call this Thanksgiving.

Panama – Burning Celebrity Effigies

Burning effigies, celebrity or not, seems like a crazy practice. But in Panama, the act of burning celebrity effigies is said to bring good luck for the New Year, so locals gather to celebrate on New Year’s Eve.

Scotland – Balls Of Fire

On New Year’s Eve in Scotland, you’ll find men walking around in their kilts swinging fireballs over their heads. This is part of their Hogmanay (last day of the year) celebration, and a somewhat dangerous way to celebrate. Please don’t try this at home.

South Africa – Throwing Furniture

This is a practice banned by law, yet some still partake in it. On New Year’s Eve, some people may throw their old furniture out of their windows. It is said to be a way of symbolizing “out with the old, in with the new.” Unsafe and illegal, it may be best to avoid this practice all together.

Siberia – Underwater Tree Planting

In Siberia, trees are planted in freezing cold water on New Year’s Eve. This is done as a sign of peace for the New Year. This should only be carried out by professional divers as obvious health and safety risks are present.

Peru – Beating Each Other Up

Though celebrated on Christmas Day rather than New Year’s Eve, this tradition is just as outrageous as the aforementioned. In Peru, the Takanakuy fighting festival is a way to settle conflicts from the year in a battle of fisticuffs. Men, women, and children participate in order to enter the New Year with a clean slate.

Have we missed anything? Let us know! Share your unique New Year’s traditions with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Pinterest!

At, your safety is important to us. However you choose to celebrate the New Year, please do so responsibly. Enjoy a safe & Happy New Year! We’ll see you in 2015!

Tips To Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

With the New Year comes resolutions, many of which are dropped early in the year. But why not make this year different? Prove everyone wrong and stick with your resolutions. Here are some helpful tips to achieve success in 2014.

Resolutions are often the same every year. Some popular ones are losing weight or quitting smoking. The problem is people usually use the same approach every time, but fail to realize that it doesn’t work. Try to take a different approach and change your behavior. It takes about 21 days to form a habit, so if you can stick it out for that long, you’re one step closer to your goal.

If you’re working toward a broad goal, such as “losing weight”, you won’t get far. Your goal needs to be specific with a time-frame. Setting up small and realistic goals to reach the ultimate goal may work better too. Try to set a weekly or monthly goal, and modify as needed as you go along.

Another important aspect is to track your progress. For weight loss, there are countless apps out there to help you monitor your improvement. You can also keep a journal or use a calendar to keep track. These can help identify what helps and hinders you. And seeing your successes along the way may serve as motivation for you to continue.

Outside support is helpful too. Friends and family can help you stay on track. They can praise you for doing well or they can help point out when you’re slacking. Figure out who you can trust to help you and not embarrass you and this can work to your advantage. You may even recruit someone to work toward a goal with you. Some friendly competition can add an incentive to “win”.

The most important thing to remember is that it’s okay to make mistakes, no one is perfect. Slipping up in the process is not the end of the world and does not give you the excuse to quit completely. Improving yourself is a process; if or when you slip up, it is important to look at how far you’ve come. If you were able to do it before, you can do it again.

Perspective is key – if you think positively, you will get positive results. If you have any other tips we haven’t mentioned, please share them. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

We would like to wish you a happy new year, may your year be filled with love, happiness & prosperity! We also wish you luck with all your new year’s resolutions – you can do it!

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