How to Ring in the New Year in 20 Languages
When it comes to welcoming in the new year, the possibilities are endless. Below, find a celebration cheat sheet full of phrases and traditions from around the globe so you can say Happy New Year in 20 languages.
Burn effigies in Ecuador.
If you’d like to remove toxic people and memories from your life in the New Year, might we recommend the Ecuadorian tradition of burning effigies. As you set fire to the papier-mâché dolls representing what went wrong in the previous year, try speaking Spanish by saying “Feliz Año Nuevo” Spanish for “Happy New Year.”
(Oh, and if you wish you could untag yourself IRL from that polaroid your mom insisted on taking, that’s fair game for burning, too.)
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in Spanish
Clink glasses in France.
We have the French to thank for the tradition of drinking champagne, a symbol of abundance and joy, to celebrate New Year’s. Remember to say “Bonne année,” French for “Happy New Year,” as you toast the new year.
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in French
Enjoy a countrywide inside joke in Germany.
We all have that one Youtube video we can’t stop watching, no matter how many years go by (looking at you, Kittens inspired by Kittens.) In Germany, that one video is Dinner for One and it’s enjoyed every New Year’s Eve. When you finally catch your breath from laughing, “Ein glückliches neues Jahr,” is the German translation for “Happy New Year.”
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in German
Save the dishes for later in Italy.
Tired of doing dishes? This one’s for you. The Italian tradition of tossing plates, bowls, and more out the window to show readiness for the new year means you get a free pass on dishes for the night.
Remember to sweep up the mess and say, “Buon Anno,” Italian for “Happy New Year.
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in Italian
Ring the bell in Japan.
“Is that my phone going off?” you may ask as 108 rings thunder throughout Japan. Actually, it’s a temple bell rung 108 times to represent and reject the 108 human desires.
Welcome in the new year with a “あけましておめでとうございます”
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in Japanese
Break out the red in China.
You may want to save Living Coral for another day in 2019. On Chinese New Year (celebrated February 5,) red decor symbolizes wealth and good fortune. Try saying, “新年快乐!” Chinese for “Happy New Year.”
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in Chinese
Take the unconventional route in Russian
Need a reminder to water your plants in the new year? Take cues from the Russian tradition of submerging a decorated tree underwater. Though the water is often freezing, champagne is involved so it’s sure to be a good time. Remember to say “С Новым годом!” Russian for “Happy New Year.”
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in Russian
Declutter and deep clean in Iran.
“Spring cleaning” music to your ears? Partake in the Persian tradition of Nowruz (celebrated March 21) where homes are deep cleaned and decluttered in the three weeks before the big celebration of rebirth and renewal.
To Translate “Happy New Year” into Persian, say, “سال نو مبارک.”
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in Persian (Farsi)
Get friendly in Sweden.
We can embrace this Swedish tradition with open arms. When the clock strikes midnight, be prepared to hug everyone in the room. At a loss for words? Try, “Gott Nytt År!” Swedish for “Happy New Year.”
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in Swedish
Live colorfully in Brazil.
Color coders can rejoice in the Brazilian tradition of pairing the color of their accessories with their resolution. Use white for peace, green for good health, yellow for money, red for romance, and purple for inspiration. Don’t forget to say, “Feliz ano novo,” Portuguese for “Happy New Year.”
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in Portuguese
Take a nice ice bath in Poland.
If you see someone dumping a bowl of icy water on their head in Poland, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the ice bucket challenge is seeing a resurgence. Dumping a bowl of ice water with a silver coin in it is said to bring good luck in Poland, though we may just stick to saying, “Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!” Polish for “Happy New Year.”
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in Polish
Break bread in Ireland.
One beloved tradition in Ireland gives new meaning to the phrase “breaking bread.” Stale bread is slammed against a wall or other hard surface to bring good luck. This tradition is also perfect for the friend who has seen that “get this bread” meme one too many times. Don’t forget to say “Happy New Year” in Irish, which is “Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit.”
Hang onion in Greece.
Why, yes. That is onions you smell. Greeks traditionally hang onions, a symbol of fertility, on their door after Church to welcome blessing and good luck in the new year. If you see someone with onions on their door, try greeting them with “Καλή χρονιά,” Greek for “Happy New Year.”
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in Greek
Sort out your finances in the Philippines.
Do you have any open Venmo requests you haven’t repaid yet? You may want to get on that. In the Philippines, it’s important to pay all debts before going into the new year. You could make the subject line, “Maligayang bagong taon,” Tagalog for “Happy New Year.”
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in Tagalog
Take a dive in the Netherlands.
Care for a swim? We hear that in the North Sea, the water’s far from fine. But that doesn’t stop the Dutch from jumping in. Try greeting them with a “Gelukkig Nieuwjaar,” Dutch for “Happy New Year” (and maybe a warm towel, too).
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in Dutch
Embrace your sweet tooth in Israel.
In Israel, eating sweet food symbolizes the hope for a sweet new year. While sharing apples dipped in honey with a local, be sure to say, “לחיים,” Hebrew for “Happy New Year.”
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in Hebrew
Opt for fruit in Vietnam.
Overindulged this holiday season? The Vietnamese traditions of preparing five-fruit trays and planting peach trees (north) or apricot trees (south) may help jumpstart your cleanse.
While you’re there, say “Chúc mừng năm mới” or “Happy New Year” in Vietnamese.
Smash pomegranates in Turkey.
Fruit not your thing? Celebrate the Turkish tradition of smashing pomegranate against the front door at the stroke of midnight to bring in good luck in the New Year (something tells us you’ll have much better luck if you smash it against your own front door, as opposed to your neighbors).
Don’t forget to say “Yeni Yılınız Kutlu Olsun!” or “Happy New Year” in Turkish.
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in Turkish
Perfect your aim in Korea.
Family bonding often takes the form of Yut Nori, a traditional board game that involves throwing four wooden sticks. Because the game is relatively easy to learn, everyone can get in on the action. You could talk smack, but we think folks would much rather hear “새해 복 많이 받으세요!” Korean for “Happy New Year.”
LISTEN: How to say “Happy New Year” in Korean