We’re all waking up this afternoon from last night’s New Year’s Eve celebrations to reflect on how our night went – or didn’t go – as well as possibly kick an errant bedfellow out and maybe clear some vomit out of our bin. Decried as the English are for being a nation of booze-swillers on December 31st – as well as during the rest of the year – looking around the globe turns up some more provocative and interesting New Year’s Eve traditions, ranging from the whimsical, to the decadent, to the downright bizarre. Whatever the means, we’ll give them credit; their traditions are a might more imaginative than our own attempts, which usually consist of trying to break a new blood-alcohol record.
Here are the 10 most bizarre New Year’s Eve celebrations from around the world.
10. Burning Effigies – Ecuador
Ecuador has a fantastic end of year tradition that’s plenty imaginative, though we fear it’s also an absolute health and safety nightmare, especially if alcohol is thrown into the mix. In Ecuador, the citizens create complex, artistically ambiguous effigies referred to as Años Viejos (translation: “Old Years”), which come to represent both people and events of the last year – often politically motivated – that have been particularly significant.
Usually these are people or institutions that have been a source of frustration or anger over the last year; the effigies are filled with straw and newspaper, which are promptly lit, also often stuffed with fire-crackers to make for a more impressive explosion. At midnight, the burning comes to represent a purgation of all of the previous year’s foibles.
This article was first posted on January 1, 2013