As the clock rolls over, what are different countries doing to celebrate?

While traditions like a countdown and fireworks are popular across the globe, many countries have their own unique spin on how to ring in the new year. Below are just a handful of the customs – and superstitions – of some of the European countries you can visit on an AmaWaterways river cruise.

Spain

In Spain it is customary to eat 12 grapes, one at each stroke of the clock at midnight on New Year’s Eve. That’s a serious mouthful! Each grape is meant to represent good luck for one month of the coming year. Pro tip: those who are successful with this custom often choose smaller grapes!

Explore Spain with AmaWaterways as a part of our Enticing Douro and Flavors of Portugal and Spain cruises as well as Taste of Bordeaux’s and Colors of Provence’s land programs.

Germany

Many Germans celebrate the idea of sending their loved ones good luck in the new year. Glücksbringer, or good luck charms, are therefore given as gifts. Some of the most popular forms are objects containing four-leaf clovers, pennies or horseshoes; ladybugs, said to protect children and those who are ill; and little chimney sweeper figurines associated with good fortune.

See Germany along the Rhine River or sail through it on the Danube River aboard our Romantic Danube, Melodies of the Danube, Legendary Danube, Grand Danube and Blue Danube Discovery itineraries.

France

Did you forget to send your Christmas cards out this year? This wouldn’t be a problem if you lived in France, because the French prefer to send greeting cards out in January wishing friends and family a Happy New Year. On New Year’s Eve, many also gather to watch the president’s address on TV.

Visit France on our Taste of Bordeaux, Paris & Normandy and Colors of Provence itineraries.

Hungary

There are many unusual superstitions that some Hungarians adhere to. In addition to scaring off evil spirits with a loud racket on New Year’s Eve, those who avoid doing laundry or sewing on New Year’s Day are believed to have good luck throughout the year. Fish and chicken are also avoided during meals on New Year’s Day because they might swim away with – or scratch away – one’s luck.

Experience Hungary on board our Romantic Danube, Melodies of the Danube, Legendary Danube, Grand Danube, Blue Danube Discovery, Gems of Southeast Europe, Magnificent Europe, Iconic Christmas Markets and Christmas Markets on the Danube itineraries.

Austria

In Austria (and Germany and Switzerland, for that matter), the tradition of molybdomancy, or predicting the future, is common at the new year. To do so, lead-pouring kits with small tin figures are sold. The figures are then melted into a bowl of water. The resulting shapes of the cooled metal become the predictors of what will happen in the new year. For instance, a basket shape means you’ll be lucky in love, but an apple shape means a trust will be broken.

Adventure through Austria on our Romantic Danube, Melodies of the Danube, Legendary Danube, Grand Danube, Blue Danube Discovery, Gems of Southeast Europe, Magnificent Europe, Iconic Christmas Markets, Magical Christmas Markets and Christmas Markets on the Danube itineraries.

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