Toshikoshi soba (年越し蕎麦), year-crossing noodle, is Japanese traditional noodle bowl dish eaten on New Year’s Eve. This custom lets go of hardship of the year because soba noodles are easily cut while eating. It is also believed that long soba noodles symbolize a long life.
In India, the New Year and the Harvest festival fall at the same time, and are celebrated with feasts, parades, and folk dancing.
In the days leading up to New Year’s, many Polish bathtubs will have a carp swimming around until it’s time for the New Year’s feast. Once the fish has been killed, the scales are distributed and kept in wallets to encourage good fortune.
The Irish believe that banging the walls of their homes with bread chases away evil spirits and bad luck. In times of hardship, it was often viewed as a way to ensure there would be enough bread in the year to come.
The bell at Bosingak Belfry, in Seoul, is rung 33 times to celebrate the coming of the New Year. Koreans also watch the sunrise of the New Year to make wishes.
Eating 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve is both a tradition and a superstition in Spain. Rare is the Spaniard who will risk poisoning their fate for the coming year by skipping the grapes, one for each stroke of midnight.
In Finland they melt a chunk of tin, and then pour it into a vat of cold water. The tin solidifies into some kind of shape- the shape and the shadow it casts are then analyzed, and are believed to dictate your fortune in for the coming year.
In China, people decorate their homes with lucky red items, and wear red underwear for celebration and good luck. Chinese families gather together on New Year’s Eve to eat dumplings, or sweet rice balls in southern China.
New Year’s Eve is called “Silvester” as a mark of honor to the Saint Sylvester.
New Year’s in the Philippines is money-focused. Everything is round (food, clothes) as they believe round things represent coins, and will bring wealth.