Today is also known as Old Year’s Day or Saint Sylvester’s Day, New Year’s Eve is celebrated annually on December 31st.
As we count down the last hours and seconds of the old year, it is a good time to look back at the year and reminisce with friends and family.
In Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, it is tradition to eat 12 grapes during the countdown to midnight symbolizing hopes for the new year. Around the world, eating anything in the form of a circle or ring symbolizes coming full circle and is considered good luck.
- Some people wear adult diapers while celebrating New Year at Time Square due to the lack of toilets
- Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was introduced to Japan by German POWs in WWI (who played it for them), and it is now a national tradition to perform it every New Year’s.
- There is a music festival every New Year’s eve in the Antarctic called ‘icestock’
- Instead of lowering a giant ball of lights on New Year’s Eve, Brasstown, North Carolina lowers a possum. It’s known as “The Possum Drop”
- Hogmanay is the term for New Year’s Eve in Scotland. In a place called Stonehaven, it is honored through fireballs swinging and first-footing into a friend or neighbor’s threshold
- On New Year’s Eve, residents in a small neighborhood in Johannesburg, South Africa collect old appliances, carry them up to apartment building rooftops and toss them down to the streets far below.
- The Reykjavik (capital of Iceland) fireworks display on New Year’s Eve is one of the largest in the world, and most fireworks sales fund rescue operations in the country.
- Since New Year’s Eve 2008, the city of Mobile, Alabama raises a 12 foot tall lighted mechanical Moon Pie to celebrate the coming of the New Year.
- Did you know that the Time’s Square ball weighs nearly six tons, or that 360 million glasses of sparkling wine are consumed in the U.S. each New Year’s Eve?
Countries all around the world have their own unique New Year’s traditions. Many places feature customary cuisine, such as lentils (Brazil and Italy), suckling pig (Austria) and grapes (Spain). Others get a bit more creative. The Danish, for example, smash broken china on friends’ front doors, supposedly in a sign of affection.
With that in mind, in 2017, WalletHub went hunting for the most interesting factoids about America’s fourth-favorite holiday, New Year’s Eve/Day, to help people better understand and enjoy the occasion. You can check out our findings on everything from eating, drinking and spending habits to travel plans, midnight prayers, DUIs and hangovers in the infographic below.