Whether you are celebrating New Year’s in a foreign megacity surrounded by partying strangers or at home with friends, family, or other people you care about. You’ll undoubtedly take part in New Year’s traditions that will help you reflect on the past year and perhaps get inspired to make changes in the new year with New Year’s resolutions.

Photos, taken on New Year’s Eve, look amazing – as long as you know the main rules for the perfect New Year’s Eve picture! Not sure about that? Find the tips here.

Celebrating New Year’s Eve worldwide

New Year’s Eve is a global festivity celebrated all around the globe. From carrying empty suitcases to hitting sleeping kids with onions, the different traditions around the world on this magical evening are freaky, to say the least. Let’s take a look at some of the most flabbergasting new year’s tradition and the one that unites us all: Setting our New Year’s resolutions.

Carrying empty suitcases in Colombia

Colombian’s love to travel. To summon a hopefully year full of epic travel, some Colombians carry their empty suitcases around the block!

A smile in Japan

In Japan, people eat a snack called Mochi on NYE. It is a delicious filled candy featuring an incredibly soft texture. Munching on this powdered, white delight will secure good luck for the coming year.

In a Buddhist tradition, ringing a bell 108 times is believed to banish all your sins. Smiling as you transition into the New Year is also thought to bring good luck in Japan.

Tapping children with onions in Greece

On New Year’s Eve in Greece, people hang onions on the front door of their home. This symbolizes rebirth in the new year. On actual New Year’s Day, the children are woken up by their parents, as they tap their young ones on the head with the very same onion.

Burning sculptures in Panama

People in Panama burn sculptures or puppets of prominent personalities, such as TV personalities or political figures. These represent the old year, which needs to be burnt to make space for something new and better.

Polka Dot Pesos in the Philippines

Filipinos value their Peso on NYE. Round shapes are placed all around the house, as these remind them of coins, which are a symbol of prosperity. Some households even display piles of round fruits and eat exactly 12 round fruits, such as grapes or oranges at midnight. Some also dig through their wardrobe to find a polka dot shirt.

More decoration ideas for New Year’s Eve you can find here.

Spaniards also eat on 12 grapes

One grape for each stroke of the clock at midnight. Each grape consumed translates to one month of good luck in the next year. In bigger cities, people gather on the street to eat their grapes together and flush them down with plenty of cava (a sparkling white or rosé wine).

The Evolution of the New Year’s resolution

When the new year approaches and people start reflecting on their past year, most of them feel like they want to improve something within the coming year. These New Year’s resolutions come in all shapes and sizes, whether its spending more time with family or losing half your body weight. While many of us don’t manage to meet our goals, setting these goals, and talking about them with others is a great way to get motivated for the new year.

The rich history of the annual resolution

While New Year’s resolutions are a tradition that is most prevalent in Western cultures, they have globalized over the past decades. You may think that New Year’s resolutions are a modern phenomenon, but they are, in fact, an ancient tradition that dates back at least a couple of millennia. 

It is believed the Babylonians started setting New Year’s resolutions around 4000 years ago. They used to celebrate New year during the first new moon after the spring equinox. This new year’s festivities lasted 11 days. The Babylonians made New Year’s resolutions during this festival in order to satisfy their gods. Their goals were set on returning borrowed equipment or getting out of debt.

Farmers in the Roman empire were urged to make a “good gesture” on the 1st of January by getting started on tasks they intended to get done throughout the year.

While there is no definite link from ancient Roman New Year’s traditions to our modern New Year’s resolutions, the aspiration to make a change or step out of your comfort zone at the beginning of the new year is repeatedly present. 

Keeping the New Year’s resolutions

Even though this is kind of obvious, you might be shocked at just how few people keep their New Year’s resolutions. According to a study from 2007 with 3000 participants, only a mere 12% of people who make these resolutions actually kept them.

Are you one of those people? 😉 Then we’ve got an idea for you! Send a postcard as a reminder to your future self. Write down your 2020 goals on a postcard and use our new scheduling function to send the card just when you need the motivation the most!

The top New Year’s resolutions

There are, of course, a variety of New Year’s resolutions but some of them are particularly common. You can find a collection here, get inspired:

  • Diet, weight loss and fitness
  • Reading more
  • environmentally responsible
  • Learn something new (like a language)
  • Save money
  • Strengthen mental well-being
  • Be a kinder human
  • Get a better job
  • Travel more
  • Spend more time and money on charity
  • Drinking less
  • Sleeping more
  • Make new friends


Hiya, I’m Maud. I’m an English girl who's moved to Berlin - because who wouldn’t fall in love with a country which has words like ‘Kummerspeck’ hidden around every corner... I love traveling and finding out the quirks of each country - and what better way to remember them than on a postcard?

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