Why you might need an empty suitcase at your New Year's Eve celebration

Countries ring in new year in unique ways

ORLANDO, Fla. – The annual ball drop Americans watch to ring in the new year with tradition is just days away from welcoming 2019. 

Americans aren't the only ones with traditions on that day, though. When it comes to celebrating the new year, many people around the world do peculiar things, like eating grapes at midnight or wearing underwear of a certain color. 

Some people, like Evangelina Santiago, bring out a bucket full of water before midnight.

"We go around the corners of the house, saying, 'Please, clean this house. Bring good things for the new year,' and then we put it in a corner. At 12, you open the windows, you open your sliding door and you throw it out," Santiago said while laughing about the tradition. "And you hope for the best!" 

Sheila Segura also believes in that tradition.

Why does she clean her house with water?

"To clean the house from bad spirits or bad luck -- start the new year fresh," Segura said.

She said her family also tries to wear new clothes.

In countries like Ecuador, Colombia and Panama, effigies known as año viejo or muñeco viejo in Spanish, are lit up, turning a celebration into an explosive festivity that's supposed to burn away all the bad things the old year brought.

Then, there's wearing colorful underwear to welcome the new year.

"Yellow to get money, or red to get love. White for peace, and all that kind of stuff," Felipe Andre, from Brazil, said.

In Andre's country, they also add a splash to their celebration by jumping into the ocean seven times.

"Normally, it's because of the Yemenja, the goddess from the oceans, and you choose some gifts for her, too, like flowers or food in the ocean, and you jump the seven waves and it's for luck," Andre said.

Others run around the block with an empty suitcase.

"That means next year, you're gonna travel a lot," Javier Venegas, a Colombian living in Orlando, said. 

Venegas said he's certain that one has worked for him.

The tradition piqued the interest of Frederik Miles, who says he typically just enjoys fireworks on the holiday.

"The running around with the luggage sounds like an interesting thing. Maybe I'll have to check that out," Miles said. 

Right before the stroke of midnight, people from Latin America eat 12 grapes, a tradition that started in Spain.

"Twelve seconds before it dings at twelve o' clock, you have to sit there and pop them in," Jessica Ellis, from Spain, said.

Federico Rodríguez, a supermarket store manager, said it's a celebration for each month of the new year.

"One for each stroke of midnight, as they represent the good months that are to be coming ahead," Rodríguez said.

He said he makes sure the store doesn't fall short on grapes this time of the year. 

"We order more in advance, and if that were to happen, there would be panic because now people are gonna believe that it's gonna be a horrible year because they won't be able to fulfill their tradition," Rodríguez said.

What about American traditions?

"Black-eyed peas with cornbread. That's how we always did bring the new year in -- with black-eyed peas, because I guess it's been a tradition from my grandmother down to my mother, and I don't really ask a whole lot of questions. I just eat," Herman Baker, from Louisiana, joked as he reminisced on growing up. 

Whatever unique tradition you follow, if any, News 6 wants to wish you a happy new year.

About the Author: