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16 New Year's Superstitions That May Or May Not Be Legit

Personally, I'm not willing to call 'em kooky.
PHOTO: Raydene Hansen

Folks, another year has come and gone, and I'm happy to report we can finally move on from the dumpster fire that was 2019. Seriously, this past year was a doozy. Between the endless saga of the Jordyn WoodsKhloé Kardashian drama (yes, that was THIS year) to Taylor Swift's ongoing feud with Scooter Braun, I, for one, cannot wait to be rid of all that toxic energy. (Yeah, I'm purposely not mentioning the unspeakable horrors that happened to real people in the real world. Just too...much.)

Now that the return of the roaring '20s is finally here, it's time to take the appropriate measures to ensure the bad juju from the 2010s won't follow you into the new decade. Cut ties with anyone who isn't sparking joy in your life, make sure you aren't still paying for any subscription services you never use, and it's probably time to restock your makeup brushes because I doubt you washed them in the last decade (no judgment).

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And if you're a believer of superstitions—again, no judgment—there are plenty of popular traditions from around the world that claim to help bring you good luck and positive energy in the new year. You're probably familiar with some of these—kissing at midnight is basically a worldwide law at this point—but I've also included a handful of superstitions from cultures outside the U.S., like the Italian custom of throwing furniture out the window (sure) and the Japanese tradition of eating soba noodles (yum). So read on and start visualizing happiness for the months to come. It can't hurt, right?

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Kiss someone at midnight

I'm guessing you're already extremely familiar with this superstition, since everyone makes such a big freakin' deal about it every year. But apparently, the midnight smooch is more than just an excuse to lock lips. Superstition says that if you kiss someone who gives you goosebumps when the clock strikes 12, your love will last all year long.

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Carry an empty suitcase

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to use your passport more often, listen up. In Colombia, people walk around with an empty suitcase on New Year's Eve, as it's believed to ensure you'll travel throughout the next 12 months. Maybe this tradition will mean I promptly unpack my suitcase once I'm back home after Christmas? Still unlikely, but here's hoping.

Eat black-eyed peas and collard greens

Southerners will probably be familiar with this New Year's Day menu. Eating black-eyed peas and collard greens on the first day of the new year is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity (aka that $$, honey). Honestly, it doesn’t sound like a bad combo for your hangover either.

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Don't clean your house

Looking for an excuse not to tidy up? China's got you. According to Chinese lore, tidying on New Year's Day is thought to clean away the good luck you've stored up for the new year. Seriously, you're not supposed to sweep the house or even do your laundry. Finally, a superstition that gives back.

Eat 12 grapes at midnight

If you’re in Spain for New Year's this year, don't be surprised when everyone tosses back a dozen grapes at 12:00 a.m. The midnight snack is supposed to bring good luck for every month of the new year.

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Toss some dishes at your neighbor's house

This Danish tradition is low-key a popularity contest, as the superstition encourages you to break dishes on the doorsteps of all of your friends and family for good luck. The more doorsteps you have to hit up, the luckier you'll be. But if you live in America, I'd give your loved ones a heads up before you bring this custom across the pond—they might not, uh, appreciate it otherwise.

Throw furniture out of a window

In Italy, people toss their belongings—including furniture—out the window (literally) as soon as the clock strikes midnight on January 1, as it's thought to help make room for only positive vibes in the new year.

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Snack on some soba at midnight

Calling all noodle fans! In Japan, it's traditional to eat buckwheat soba noodles at midnight because the long skinny noodles signify prosperity and longevity.

Make sure you don't loan your friends any cash

People think that loaning money out on New Year's Eve serves as a preview of what the rest of your year will look like. So if you don't want to be shelling out cash to your friends all year long, wait until January 2 to lend them a few bucks.

And make sure your wallet is full too

Full wallet on New Year's Eve = rolling in the dough all year long. It's probably not actually an indicator of next year's wealth, but hey, do you really want to risk it?

Get loud

Firecrackers and noisemakers became part of New Year's Eve celebrations around the world because folklore says the loud sounds will ward off evil spirits. This superstition is cool and all, but it probably won't work on your neighbors if they want you to turn down your music.

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Stock your cupboards

Tradition says that empty cabinets on New Year's Day could indicate you'll struggle in the next 12 months, particularly financially, so hit up the grocery store before everything closes for the holiday just in case.

Pop the door open at midnight

In the Philippines, people open all the doors and windows in their homes at midnight so the bad vibes clear out and good luck can come inside. Sure, letting a bunch of cold air into your home in the middle of winter might not sound super fun, but just do it for a minute to make the magic work.

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Steer clear of lobster and chicken

As delicious as they are, eating lobster and chicken on January 1 might mess with your luck in the new year. The thinking goes that because chickens have wings, your luck could fly away, and since lobsters walk backward, consuming 'em might hold you back. It sounds a bit kooky but can't hurt to stick to a vegetarian menu, just in case.


Eat King Cake when the clock strikes 12

King Cake is that delicious donut-like dessert famous in New Orleans (or in France, where it's called galette des rois), and eating it signifies you're satisfied with the end of the Christmas season and ready for a new year. If you're lucky enough to get served the slice with a gold coin (or in some cases, a tiny plastic baby) tucked away in the batter, you'll have an especially wealthy and prosperous new year. In other words, eating this cake could make you lucky. Do it.

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Whip out your red underwear

If you're hoping 2020 will be a ~spicy~ year for you, make sure to slip on some red panties before heading out for any celebrations. In Latin America, wearing rouge underwear on New Year’s is believed to bring passionate relationships for the next 12 months. It's up to you if anyone else gets to know you're wearing them ;).


This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.