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Japan: Ring a bell 108 times

Japan: Ring a bell 108 times
TATIANA AYAZO/RD.COM, SHUTTERSTOCK

Take full advantage of the fun, interesting customs that come with Japanese culture. For those ringing in the start of a new 365 days in Tokyo, Kyoto, or any other region in Japan, listen for the bells at midnight. Here, tradition dictates that Buddhist temples ring bells 108 times, based on the belief that it brings cleanness. And no, not via that junk drawer you should have cleaned out a decade ago, but in your heart, mind, soul and body. It’s called joya no kane, and the reasoning behind the specific number is attributed to the 108 types of earthly desires humans are thought to have. By ringing the bells, you are said to leave your old, sad or frustrated self behind and sing in your new year with a clear mind and happier resolutions.

South Korea: Soup for the soul

South Korea: Soup for the soul
TATIANA AYAZO/RD.COM, SHUTTERSTOCK

There’s nothing like a hot bowl of soup to warm the soul in the winter, but South Korea’s tteokguk dish made of broth, rice cakes, meat and vegetables, is imperative to the country’s New Year traditions. South Korean New Year, known as Seollal, usually falls in late January or early February, and the soup is believed to bring those who eat it good luck in the new year, according to Culture Trip.

Turkey: Smash pomegranates

Turkey: Smash pomegranates

This one feels festive but messy. In Turkey, locals smash pomegranates on their doorways for New Year’s. The belief is that your good fortune in the coming year is directly proportional to the number of seeds that fly out of the fruit upon impact, so put some aggression behind that throw!

Finland: Cast some metal

Finland: Cast some metal

If you’re feeling crafty, do as the Finnish do to predict what is to come in the year ahead. In Finland, locals cast molten tin into water, carefully inspecting the shape it takes once it has hardened. An animal might mean there will be an abundance of food, while a heart could forecast love in the coming year.

Germany: Eat a sugar pig

Germany: Eat a sugar pig

Germans believe that pigs equal wealth, so for New Year’s, it’s commonplace to eat glücksschwein, a pig-shaped candy, for a dose of luck in your wallet. Made from marzipan, they’re both adorable and sweet, and they’re thought to bring good luck for the year ahead.

Romania: Toss a coin

Romania: Toss a coin

It might seem counterintuitive to literally throw your money away, but in Romania, that’s exactly what they do for good luck at the start of a new year. Don’t worry – they aren’t emptying their bank accounts. However, it’s believed that tossing a coin in a river will bring you luck throughout the year.

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Bolivia: Bake coins into sweets

Bolivia: Bake coins into sweets
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Bolivia has a sweet (and profitable) New Year’s tradition. Coins are baked into cakes for a festive activity. The person who receives the slice with the coin is thought to have a prosperous year ahead. Baked goods and good luck? That does seem like an embarrassment of riches.

Avoid setting yourself up for failure, here are 14 ways you could be starting the new year on the wrong foot.

Italy: Eat lentils

Italy: Eat lentils
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Move over, pasta. It’s lentils that take centre stage on New Year’s in Italy. These legumes are thought to bring good luck for the coming 365 days, thanks to the fact that they resemble coins. According to Culture Trip, the lentils are typically paired with pork sausage, a fatty meat rich in flavour that also evokes a prosperous sentiment.

Burma: Wash away bad luck

Burma: Wash away bad luck
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The Burmese take part in the Thingyan Water Festival at the start of their new year, which occurs in April, to wash away any bad luck they may have previously experienced. During the Buddhist holiday, the streets of Burma are busy with revellers basking in sprinklers to ensure plenty of good fortune in the future.

Estonia: Eating for seven

Estonia: Eating for seven
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If you think Christmas consists of a gluttonous meal, wait until you hear what Estonians do for good luck on New Year’s Eve. Their tradition is to eat at least seven meals on December 31 (though some consume even more). According to custom, this means that they will harness the strength of seven men in the new year. Plus, if you celebrate with a bounty of food, the abundance is thought to carry into the next rotation around the sun.

Here are 11 days historically unluckier than Friday the 13th.

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