It’s just not New Year’s Eve without a few certain activities, like watching the balldrop, making some noise at midnight, and singing iconic New Year’s Eve songs like “Auld Lang Syne,” for starters. But did you know that some of the things you do before the clock strikes 12 are longstanding traditions, derived from New Year’s superstition and folklore from around the world? Yes, there’s more to a midnight kiss than you might think (so choose your partner wisely!), and blowing horns and setting off fireworks are for more than just a cute Instagram photo.
We’ve rounded up a ton of other New Year’s superstitions right here that you may not have ever heard of either. If you’re planning to host a New Year’s Eve party, you may want to leave any lobster and chicken ideas off the appetizer menu. (But if you happen to like collard greens, black-eyed peas, and other lucky New Year’s lunch ideas, you’re looking at a great year!) Superstition says that it’s important to keep your cupboards and wallet full too, and to be very particular about people coming and going from your house close to midnight. But even if you’re feeling auspicious no matter what you do on New Year’s Eve, know that lots of cultures agree that how you spend New Year’s Day will set the precedent for how your year will go. Here’s to 2020!
1 Kiss at Midnight
It may just seem like kissing someone at midnight is a way to show your excitement for the new year. But actually, it’s thought that if you kiss someone you love as the clock strikes midnight, those sentiments will continue for the next 12 months.
2 Eat 12 Grapes at Midnight
This food superstition that originated in Spain is meant to bring you luck for the year ahead. Just eat 12 grapes at midnight—one for every month—or put them on a skewer and serve as a fun New Year’s Eve cocktail garnish.
3 Fill Your Cupboards
Check and see what grocery stores are open on New Year’s Eve, because it’s considered bad luck to start the new year with bare cupboards (signaling poverty and hardship).
4 Put Cash in Your Wallet
Want to enter a year full of financial prosperity? Then make a run to the ATM so you can fill your wallet with cash. Also, don’t loan out any money on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, and don’t start the year with any unpaid debts, or you could set a precedent for the months aheads.