Just like with any other holiday, New Year’s Eve brings out some of weirdest (and most interesting) traditions in each city it’s celebrated in. I’m not going to say the American tradition of kissing someone at midnight is that interesting, but I would choose that over diving into a cold, Siberian lake to plant a tree (you’ll understand what I mean in a little bit.)
From smashing plates to kissing a lot of people at once, here’s 10 weird New Year’s traditions around the world you probably haven’t heard of before.
You’ll find the entire town of Stonehaven, Scotland whipping balls of fire through its street on New Year’s Eve. The tradition can be traced back to the days of the Vikings.
Apparently “animal whispering” is a real thing in Romania. Farmers attempt to hear their animals talk, which if you suddenly become Dr. Dolittle, it means good luck for the coming year. They also celebrate the New Year by getting dressed up in bear costumes and furs and dancing in them to rid away evil. You can bet I would 100 percent do this.
If you find yourself in Venice, Italy for New Years you might be kissing more than just one person. In St Mark’s Square, there’s more than just a giant firework show at night. There’s actually a mass kiss-in that takes place, so it’s basically college all over again.
Haven’t heard of ‘underwater tree planting’ before? Me either. Apparently in Siberia the custom of cutting out a giant hole in the ice of Lake Baikal and diving into it with a tree (which you know, you actually plant) is a tradition in this part of the world.
Stuffing 12 grapes in your mouth all at once is custom for those celebrating the New Year in Spain. Each grape equals the chime of the clock during the countdown. I could think of worst foods to do this with.
Hopefully you have some dishes you don’t really like in your kitchen if you’re in Denmark. The big New Year’s Eve tradition is to smash plates against your friends’ doors at the stroke of midnight. So yes, you can in a weird way measure your popularity by how many smashed plates you have outside your door.
Denmark throws plates, and apparently residents in Johannesburg like to throw old furniture out of their windows on New Year’s Eve. I feel like this has caused some not-so-great injuries. In recent years, reports of heavy appliances being thrown and looting have caused police to monitor the tradition more heavily.
In Key West, each year the 801 Bourbon Bar does an entirely different type of ball drop. Drag queen Gary “Sushi” Marion drops from the ceiling in a giant red slipper. Hey, only in Key West.
Towns in The Netherlands compete on NYE to create the biggest bonfire mountain. Seriously. The neighborhoods of Duindorp and Scheveningen see who can make the biggest bonfire every year, complete with cranes and a shit ton of crates.
Those crazy Aussies run around the streets banging super loudly on pots and pans once the clock hits midnight. I would have something large and heavy too in case I ran into any of the terrifying things that inhabit Australia.
Nicole Theodore is the Girls Co-Editor at Playboy.com. Follow her on Twitter.