In the United States, people all over the country watch the ball drop in Times Square, New York City. Interesting to know, the tradition started on New Year’s Eve 1908 when Adolph Ochs, owner of the New York Times, introduced the event to highlight the Times’ new headquarters.

How do other countries ring in the new year?

In Spain, they eat a grape with each strike of the clock at midnight.

In Japan, they eat a bowl of soba noodles. The tradition dates back to the 12th century when Buddhist monks would give out noodles to the poor.

In India, they build and burn a wooden sculpture of an old man to symbolize the letting go of grievances from the previous year and making room for the new year to be born.

In Denmark, you throw plates at your loved one’s door step. The more broken plates you have, the better your new year will be.

In Greece, it is tradition to hang an onion outside your door to symbolize fertility and growth.

In Columbia, you place three potatoes under the bed. One potato is peeled, one is unpeeled and the third is half peeled. At the stroke of midnight, with eyes closed, each person grabs a potato. Depending upon the potato, they will be in store for a year of good fortune, financial struggle or a combination of the two.

In Ireland, people bang loaves of Christmas bread against the walls and doors to ward off evil spirits.

In Italy, folks welcome the new year by wearing red undergarments.

In England, friends and family gather to listen to the bells of Big Ben to strike midnight.

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