Three fun New Year’s traditions from around the world

Burning effigies is a tradition in Ecuador to welcome a new year. (Photo courtesy of @赤道的一半-厄瓜多旅遊/Facebook)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — For Taiwanese, the most iconic New Year’s Eve events are the Taipei 101 building’s mesmerizing fireworks and countdown concert! However, have you ever wondered how people from different parts of the world celebrate their New Year’s Eve? Here are three fun New Year’s tradition from South America to Europe!

Quemar Año Viejo, Ecuador

Quemar Año Viejo, or “burning effigies”, is a long-time tradition that signifies incinerating the “old year” and bringing about good fortune.

Ecuadorians create large effigies, usually in a colorful manner, that bear close resemblance to pop figures, cartoon characters and sometimes politicians!

On the night of Dec. 31, families and friends gather together to set those effigies on fire as a cleansing of awful memories from the past year and to celebrate the coming of a promising new year.

Cartoon figure effigies are burned to symbolize doing away with the old and welcoming a new, promising year. (Photo courtesy of @赤道的一半-厄瓜多旅遊/Facebook)

Vasilopita, Greece

Eating Vasilopita is a New Year’s tradition celebrated in Greek. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

The Greeks observe the new year by eating Vasilopita, a sweet homemade bread. Eaten at midnight, Vasilopita will be served in the total portion of family members, the family as a whole, God, and those in need.

To clarify, if there are four people in your family, then Vasilopita will come in seven slices.

What’s special is the coin baked into Vasilopita. The person who gets the share containing the coin will embrace a new chapter of life with luck!

It’s said that the person who gets the share containing the coin will embrace a new chapter of life with luck. (Photo courtesy of @ Taiwan in Greece 駐希臘代表處/Facebook)

It is believed that Vasilopita is made in honor of Vasilis, who is the Greek version of Santa Claus.

When he served as the bishop, the area was about to be attacked by intruders. To avoid being ransacked, Vasilis ordered the citizens to contribute their wealth. After all the valuables were collected, the invaders abandoned their original plan.

Not knowing what to do with the unmarked gold and coins, Vasilis decided to return them to the public by baking them into loads of bread. In this way, everyone had an equal chance to receive the coins.

Kransekake, Norway & Denmark

Kransekake is the must-eat dish on New Year’s Eves or wedding parties.(Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Kransekake, or the so-called “wreath cake,” is definitely the signature dessert when it comes to Northern European countries, which is the must-eat dish on New Year’s Eve or wedding parties.

Made from almond paste, icing sugar and egg white, the biscuits are rather chewy and sugary with a fragrant smell.

The Norwegians and the Danish traditionally pile biscuits as tall as 18 layers! Occasionally, they will creatively decorate the Kransekake with national flags, cream, chocolate, and even a bottle of wine hidden in the middle of the cake.