Celebrating New Year’s Around the World: Diverse Traditions and Festivities

Adnan Zai
2 min readJan 5, 2024

A Global Tapestry of New Year’s Celebrations

As the clock ticks towards midnight on December 31st, the world gears up for New Year’s Eve, each region with its unique traditions and festivities. These customs, rich in cultural significance and historical roots, offer a fascinating glimpse into how different societies welcome the new year.

Spain: A Grape for Each Gong

In Spain, the tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight is more than just a culinary delight; it’s a symbol of good luck for each month of the coming year. Originating in the late 19th century, this practice reflects the Spanish ethos of combining festivity with hope and aspiration​​.

Scotland: First-Footing for Fortune

Scotland’s Hogmanay is a blend of communal joy and age-old superstitions. The ‘first-footing’ tradition, where the first person to cross a threshold after midnight dictates the year’s fortune, particularly if they are dark-haired, resonates with the Scottish spirit of welcoming and warmth​​.

The Netherlands: Oliebollen’s Ancient Roots

In the Netherlands, New Year’s Eve is marked by devouring oliebollen, deep-fried dough balls. This tradition, rooted in ancient Germanic folklore to ward…



Adnan Zai

As an Advisor-In-Residence, Adnan particularly focuses on strategy, deal pipeline, and structuring.