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New Year’s Eve Rituals Around the World

Mexico

At midnight, those who hope to travel run in and out of the front door 12 times, suitcase in hand.

Philippines

Villagers bang loudly on pots and pans to drive out evil spirits.

Brazil

Clans who live on the coast jump seven waves and make seven wishes.

China

The Chinese, who use the lunar calendar, will celebrate New Year’s on February 7, 2008. Burn some play money and be blessed with good karma in the Year of the Rat.

Germany

Just after midnight, everyone bites into jelly doughnuts. Whoever gets the one with mustard in it (blech!) enjoys 12 months of good luck.

Colombia

Families make, and then burn, an Old-Year Doll stuffed with worn-out clothes and—oh, yeah—fireworks!

Finland & Sweden

Finns and Swedes pour molten tin into water and interpret the hardened shapes. A ship means a trip, a ring a wedding. Both?Maybe a honeymoon.

Japan

Young and old alike slurp toshikoshi soba (buckwheat noodles), a symbol of longevity.

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