How do you ring in the New Year?

By: Scott Nordlund
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

In this quiz, you will travel around the world and see how New Year's is celebrated in different countries, cultures and communities. How much do you already know?

What country is the first to observe New Years?

Samoa (Apia) and Kiribati- Christmas Isl (Kiritimati) observes New Years first each year as it is located in the Pacific Ocean

In what year did New York City, USA start hosting the legendary "ball drop" to welcome in the new year?

Since 1907, every New Year's Eve a speciality designed ball is dropped at 11:59pm amidst cheers of millions of spectators

Since 1907, how many times has the New York City New Year's Eve ball failed to drop?

With the exceptions of 1942 and 1943, when the ceremony was suspended due to the wartime "dimout" of lights in New York City, the ball has dropped each year since 1907.

The United Kingdom welcomes the New Year in accordance with the ___ calendar

The Gregorian calendar is internationally the most widely used civil calendar.

China welcomes the New Year in accordance with the ____ calendar

According to it, the Chinese New Year, known as "Yuan Tan" may occur any day between mid- January and mid-February

In what country do people collect dishes all year and throw them at the front door on New Year's Eve?

The more the broken pieces; the more friends one shall have in the New Year

In what country are mistletoe leaves placed under one's pillow to try and find a Husband before going to bed on New Year's Eve?

The single women of Ireland wait desperately for the New Year’s night because it is the night that can bring them the love of their life. They place mistletoe leaves under their pillow hoping to catch their future husband. It is also believed in Irish culture that it helps them get rid of bad luck.

In what country do people try and talk to spirits on New Year's Eve?

Talking to spirits is a part of Mexican belief. Mexicans strongly believe that they can communicate with the souls of their dead loved ones. New Year eve is considered the best time to communicate with the dead spirits to convey a message or ask for guidance. And this is not done at home on individuals basis but is practiced legally.

In what country do people celebrating New Year's Eve typically dress in poka dots?

Imagine streets full of people wearing polka dots and dinning table full of round shaped food and fruits on one single day of the year. This all actually happens in the Philippines on the New Year eve every year. Philippines believe that this will bring them prosperity by associating the round dots to coins and wealth.

What is the name of the famous New Year's Eve celebration held annually in Edinburgh, Scotland?

The Hogmanay Festival is a New Year celebration with a dash of Scottish flair. This festival takes place on the 31st of December every year. Men parade through the streets holding blazing balls of fire.

What country has a unique custom of making scarecrows and burning them at midnight on New Year's Eve?

They dress up and fill the scarecrows with newspapers and pieces of wood. As mid night approaches, everyone gathers outside their home and each family burns their scarecrow. The tradition says that this destroys all the bad things that took place in the past 12 months. The scarecrow also scares bad luck. This fills their New Year with luck and happiness.

Talca is a small town in ____ where they celebrate New Year's Eve with dead relatives in the local cemetery

Talca is a small town in Chile with a very strange, weird and freaky New Year custom. The people of Talca are celebrating the new year with their dead relatives for the past 15 years. The doors of the cemetery are opened for the local public by the Town’s mayor at 11 pm sharp. People are welcomed in the cemetery with light classical music and dim blinking lights making the cemetery are perfect party place. I don’t know if it’s fun or not. For me it just sends chills down my spine. They believe that their loved ones wait for them in the cemetery and they should start the new year with them. The tradition began in 1995, when a local family jumped the cemetery fence to spend New Year’s near their father’s grave. Now over 5,000 people have adopted this tradition.

In what country do people celebrating New Year's partake in telling fortunes by looking at the shapes made by molten lead once it is dropped into cold water?

Called Molybdomancy (Bleigießen)

In what country do people drink "hot pint" to celebrate New Year's Eve?

Spiced “hot pint” is the Scottish version of Wassail. Traditionally, the Scots drank to each others’ prosperity and also offered this warm drink to neighbors along with a small gift.

In what country does the custom of first-footing mark New Year's Eve?

In Scotland, the custom of first-footing is an important part of the celebration of Hogmanay, or New Year’s Eve Day. This practice holds that the first foot to cross a threshold after midnight will predict the next year’s fortune. Although the tradition varies, those deemed especially fortunate as “first footers” are new brides, new mothers, those who are tall and dark (and handsome?) or anyone born on January 1.

The first New Year's was celebrated _____ years by the ancient Babylonians.

They were also the first to hold recorded celebrations in honor of the new year—though for them the year began not in January but in mid-March, when the crops were planted. During a massive 12-day religious festival known as Akitu, the Babylonians crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king. They also made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. These promises could be considered the forerunners of our New Year’s resolutions.

In ____, people wear red underwear on New Year’s Day to bring good luck all year

Traditional custom

_______New Year is called Rosh Hashanah

Apples and honey are traditionally eaten during celebrations welcoming the New Year

The traditional New Year’s song, “Auld Lang Syne,” means, ________

Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788

Using a ____ to signify the New Year began in ancient Greece around 600 B.C.

Historians note that Greeks believed Dionysus, their God of fertility and wine, was reborn every New Year as a spirit of fertility and luck. Greeks would celebrate with parades featuring a baby in a cradle to represent the birth of Dionysus.

The top 3 New Year's resolutions are usually to

A New Year's resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice

It’s ______ luck to eat foods like black eyed peas, ham and cabbage on New Year's Eve because it is thought they bring prosperity.

If you want to have a happy new year, don’t eat lobster or chicken. Lobsters can move backward and chickens can scratch in reverse, so it is thought these foods could bring a reversal of fortune

In _____, rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is served on New Year’s Eve

It is said that whoever finds the nut can expect 12 months of good fortune.

In ancient times, _____ would celebrate January 1st by offering sacrifices to Janus in the hope of gaining good fortune for the New Year, decorating their homes with laurel branches and attending raucous parties.

This day was seen as setting the stage for the next twelve months, and it was common for friends and neighbours to make a positive start to the year by exchanging well wishes and gifts of figs and honey with one another.

In _____, if you want to ward off evil spirits, wear all-white clothes on New Year's Eve.

Other Brazilian traditions include jumping over seven ocean waves (one for each day of the week) and throwing flowers into the sea.

In ______, it is believed that eating a spoonful of lentils at midnight on New Year's Eve and putting money at the bottom of your shoe is supposed to bring you prosperity for the next 12 months.

Eating lentils on New Year’s Eve ensures prosperity in the coming year.

It's also customary to dress in red and to give children allowance money in red envelopes while celebrating New Year's Eve in this country

But like many other Asian countries, the Chinese celebrate the lunar year as well — so double the fun.

In ______, new year's carols are common, and children often sing them to receive money from family and neighbours.

When the countdown begins, families turn off the lights so that they can start the new year with fresh eyes.Another important tradition is eating Vasilópita, a cake with a coin or another small object hidden inside. Whoever receives the slice with the coin gets good luck for the next year.

For ______, the zodiac calendar is important when celebrating New Year's. Many people celebrate that year's animal.

It's also important to clean the house and to resolve conflicts from the past year, so that you can start the new year with a clean slate.

In _____, people write down New Year's wishes on a piece of paper, burn it, put the ashes in a glass of champagne, and drink it down

Other traditions include a New Year's tree, and a Santa-like figure named Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost), who distributes gifts to children with his granddaughter, Snegurochka (Snow Maiden).

In ______ they ring all of their bells 108 times on New Year's Eve in alignment with the Buddhist belief that this brings cleanness.

It’s also considered good to be smiling going into the New Year as it supposedly brings good luck.

In North America, clocks strike midnight first in _________ on New Year's.

This time zone exists because of the location of the island and the fact that it was a separate dominion when the time zones were established

______ on New Year's Eve is believed to have originated in ancient times, when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck.

The Chinese are credited with inventing fireworks and use them to spectacular effect in their New Year's celebrations.

In the _______, they burn bonfires of Christmas trees on the street and launch fireworks on New Year's Eve.

The fires are meant to purge the old and welcome the new.

About 75 percent of people keep their New Year's Eve resolutions through the first _____ of the year, but only 46 percent keep it up for _______.

About half of those who will make New Year's resolutions, promise to change something about themselves.

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