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New Year Traditions from around the World To Bring Into Your Care Home

Christmas and New Year celebrations are now in full swing, with people around the world celebrating the festive season that will bring 2023 to an end. As with all festivities and events that involve a great deal of tradition, different countries and cultures mark the occasion in different ways. This year, why not bring some of these traditions into your own care home’s celebrations?

Some probably cannot be replicated in their entirety (see ‘scarecrow burning in Ecuador, for example…!). However, there are still plenty of ways that other countries’ celebrations can inspire some fun new traditions for your residents and staff. Join the Care Vision team now for a quick New Year’s Day tour around the world…


New Year in Scotland is almost as big as Christmas. It even has its own name – Hogmanay. Traditions include ‘first footing’, where the first visitor across the threshold of a home after midnight on New Year’s Eve should be a dark-haired male to ensure good luck. For even more surety, he should bring with him some salt, a piece of coal, some shortbread and, of course, the ubiquitous dram of whisky. Scottish revellers also enjoy fireworks parties and torchlight processions, thought to stem from ancient pagan celebrations of light.


Anything round takes centre stage, as Filipino people use round cakes and biscuits, coins and circular decorations to represent a wish for wealth and prosperity in the 12 months ahead. You could incorporate this theme into your New Year’s meal planning or hand out chocolate coins with lunch to help usher in a financially prosperous time for everyone in your care home community. Or hold a scavenger hunt around the home to search for as many round things as possible. A delicious, round doughnut could await the winner.


In Ecuador, scarecrows packed full of paper are burned at midnight on New Year’s Eve to banish bad luck and clear away the memories of anything unfortunate or unlucky that happened in the past year. People also burn old photographs associated with ill fortune or bad memories. While setting fire to scarecrows may fall foul of various health and safety rules in your care home, you could light a few candles instead. Encourage people to wish away bad luck and think about all the positive things they are looking forward to in 2024.


If you are looking for a bona fide reason to dodge the washing up, bring the Danish New Year tradition of breaking plates into your routine. Danish households save up plates throughout the year for this occasion, which they go and throw against the front doors of their family and friends to wish them good luck. Again, health and safety regulations doubtless preclude too much plate-throwing in care homes in the UK, but you could provide people with paper plates instead to decorate and give each other as a good wish for the year ahead.

South America

This one may not be something you can celebrate too publicly, but many countries in South America set great store by what colour underwear you put on to usher in a New Year. Many people in Mexico, Bolivia and Brazil choose their underwear colour very carefully, following a set of rules to decide their fortunes for 2024. Red underwear is said to encourage love, while yellow should be the choice for those seeking their fortune. White underwear is the best option for those simply hoping for peace. We’ll leave it up to you and your residents whether or not to follow this quirky New Year’s tradition…


Television lovers will enjoy this German New Year tradition. Every year on 31 December, Germans of all ages switch on their sets to watch Dinner for One, a British comedy sketch that first aired on TV in the 1960s and filmed entirely in English. It features a fine lady from the 1920s and her butler, who becomes increasingly drunk as the sketch progresses. The sketch holds the Guinness World Record for the most-repeated TV show of all time. Why not track this down via a TV streaming service and show your residents and staff what they have been missing out on for all these years?

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