When the clock strikes twelve: 12 unusual ways to ring in the New Year

New year"2014" with sparklers ahead of New Year’s Eve in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, on December 30, 2013. Reuters

Here are some of the ways people from around the world employ in their New Year's celebrations:

1. In Ecuador, people dress up a scarecrow to represent all the bad things that have happened over the year. The effigy is burnt close to midnight to destroy bad luck.

2. In nearby Puerto Rico, people throw buckets of water out of the window to wash away the old year.

3. In certain parts of Chile people celebrate the New Year with relatives who are no more with them. So hundreds of people sit on chairs near the graves of their deceased relatives waiting for the New Year to dawn.

4. In Poland, there is a tradition of having pickled herring at the stroke of midnight. This is because the silver scales of the fish is expected to bring in prosperity.

5. In Spain, it is customary to have 12 grapes at midnight with each bell strike. Called  Las doce uvas de la suerte, or the the twelve grapes of luck, this tradition owes its origin to wily vine growers who wanted to sell more grapes.

6. In Ireland, unmarried women are known to sleep on New year's Eve with a mistletoe under their pillow in a bid to find love in the coming year.

7. In Austria, all radio stations broadcast the tolling of the St Stephen's Cathedral. This is followed by a rendition of the Blue Danube or An der schönen blauen Donau, a waltz by composer Johann Strauss II.

8. In Hillbrow, Johannesburg, people throw furniture out of windows of tall  buildings to ring in the new year. 

9. In Siberia, there is a custom where revelers dive into a frozen lake  carrying a tree. The tradition has been going on for generations.

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