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In downtown Jo-burg, locals throw old appliances out the window. Heads up! —Melanie Lieberman
Hoping for a travel-filled year, residents tote empty suitcases around the block. —Melanie Lieberman
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The faithful wear a costume of the next year’s zodiac animal (in 2014: a horse) to the local temple, where bells chime a sacred 108 times. —Melanie Lieberman
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Effigies of well-known people—called muñecos—are traditionally burned in New Year’s bonfires in Panama. The figures can include everyone from television characters like “Ugly Betty” to political figures like Fidel Castro (in 2007, Panama’s first Olympic gold medalist, track star Irving Saladin, was burned as a muñeco). The effigies represent the old year; immolating them is meant to drive off evil spirits for a fresh New Year’s start.
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During the traditional celebration of Kaliady, still-unmarried women play games to predict who will be wed in the New Year. In one game, a pile of corn is placed before each woman, and a rooster is let go; whichever pile the rooster approaches first reveals who will be the first to marry. In another game, a married woman hides certain items around her house for her unmarried friends to find; the woman who finds bread will supposedly marry a rich husband; the one who finds a ring will marry a handsome one.