Put down those noisemakers! Instead, try these foreign rituals—at home or, better yet, on location. All of them promise a late bedtime, and many auspicious days ahead.
At midnight, those who hope to travel run in and out of the front door 12 times, suitcase in hand.
Villagers bang loudly on pots and pans to drive out evil spirits.
Clans who live on the coast jump seven waves and make seven wishes.
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.
Just after midnight, everyone bites into jelly doughnuts. Whoever gets the one with mustard in it (blech!) enjoys 12 months of good luck.
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.
Young and old alike slurp toshikoshi soba (buckwheat noodles), a symbol of longevity.