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Jump in the Ocean, Run All Night, or Burn a Statue: Start 2024 Outdoors With These Unique New Year’s Traditions

In the U.S., New Year’s celebrations often consist of indoor parties, eating, drinking and staying up until midnight. As the clock strikes 12:00, we pop champagne bottles, kiss our sweethearts,  and watch the ball drop. 

What if you could be outdoors to ring in the New Year instead? We rounded up some unique and exciting New Year’s traditions from around the world, and hopefully after reading this, you’ll be inspired to head out with your family and friends and give one or two of these a try. 

Wearing White and Jumping in the Ocean (Brazil)

Brazilians wear white attire on New Year’s Eve to symbolize peace. They then jump into the ocean at midnight to offer flowers and candles to Yemanjá, the goddess of the sea.

Throwing White Flowers in the Ocean (Philippines)

In the Philippines, people throw white flowers into the ocean on New Year’s Eve as an offering to bring good luck and fortune for the coming year.

Midnight Run – Run into the New Year (Many countries)

In several countries, including the U.S. and Canada, people participate in Midnight Runs on New Year’s Eve, where they “run into the new year” as a symbolic and often festive way to welcome the coming year with energy and enthusiasm.

Carrying Around an Empty Suitcase (Mexico)

Mexicans believe that carrying an empty suitcase around the block at midnight on New Year’s Eve will bring travel and adventure in the coming year.

Building a Sculpture of an Old Man and Burning it Down (India)

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Image by Oleg Nikisin

In certain parts of India, particularly in the state of Goa, people construct a sculpture or effigy of an old man, which represents the old year, and then they burn the sculpture at midnight to symbolize the destruction of the past and the beginning of a new cycle.

Throwing Old Plates (Denmark)

In Denmark, it is a tradition to collect old and unused dishes throughout the year and then throw them against the doors of friends and family on New Year’s Eve as a sign of camaraderie and a sign for starting the new year with a clean slate.

Planting Underwater Trees (Russia)

In Russia, it is customary to plant a New Year’s tree underwater in Lake Baikal. This unique tradition symbolizes hope and growth in the face of challenges. Divers dress as Father Frost and Snow Maiden and head underwater to plant and decorate the tree. 

Burning Scarecrows (Ecuador)

In Ecuador, people create scarecrow-like figures that represent the past year. They then burn them at midnight to ward off any negative energy and welcome a fresh start in the New Year. 

Ice Fishing and Polar Bear Swim (Canada)

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Image by Scott Olson

In Canada, particularly in colder regions, some people celebrate the end of the year by participating in activities like ice fishing or taking a polar bear swim. These activities emphasize resilience and embrace the winter season as part of the New Year’s festivities.

No matter where you live in the world, we hope you get a chance to head outdoors this New Year’s and give one of these traditions a try. Maybe you’ll find something you enjoy and want to add to your family’s yearly celebrations for years to come. 

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