While we like to think of ourselves as rational and logical creatures, the truth is that we all hold some superstitions. For example, have you ever knocked on wood or crossed your fingers for luck? Those are all superstitions that are so ingrained into our culture that we don’t even notice when people do them. It’s only when we run into someone of a different culture with its own distinct traditions and superstitions that we view them as odd.
One holiday that almost every culture has superstitions that involve New Year’s Eve, and it makes sense why: it is the symbolic end to the old and the ushering in of the new. This makes it a lightning rod for all kinds of traditions and superstitions, so we’ve gathered 6 of the most interesting and unique New Year’s rituals from around the world that focus on bringing wealth and good fortune in the new year.
We’re focusing on wealth specifically, because we know the end of the year can be a rough time financially, and you may have had to resort to pulling money from your savings or using payday loans to survive the holidays. If you feel like you need a little extra luck this coming year, these fun traditions from around the globe could be just what you’re looking for.
In the Philippines, round objects are thought be a symbol of prosperity. Because of that, wearing polka dots or carrying beads or coins in your pocket on New Year’s Eve is thought to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year. Eating round fruit such as melons or apples is also considered good luck.
Some of the stranger prosperity superstitions come from Chile, where it’s believed that the combination of putting money in your shoe, eating a spoonful of lentils at midnight, and placing a ring at the bottom of a glass of champagne will bring your great financial prosperity in the year to come. The idea is if one doesn’t work, then maybe the other two will make up the difference.
This one comes from right here in the United States. Basically, it is believed that the state of your wallet throughout the year will mirror the condition it was in on New Year’s Eve. So, if you don’t have money in your wallet when the clock hits midnight, you’ll supposedly find yourself struggling financially throughout the upcoming year.
In some parts of Latin America, including Brazil in particular, the color underwear you’re wearing when the old year gives way to the new will bring luck in different parts of your life depending on the color. Red for romance, white for happiness, blue for health, and green for well-being. Most importantly, yellow is for wealth, so if you want a raise or an investment to do well this coming year, you’d better grab a pair now.
This superstition comes from Ecuador, where they believe that hiding money throughout the house will bring wealth in the new year. This sounds like less of a superstition than just a good way to keep discovering pockets of money throughout the year depending on how drunk you were when you hid them.
Our last tradition is one from the American South. Sometimes it’s lentils, but most commonly eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Eve is believed to bring you good luck, since the peas allegedly look like coins. They’re also commonly paired with collard greens, which are believed to represent dollar bills, and cornbread which is symbolic of gold.