Most unusual New Year's customs

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Revellers in St Mark's Square in recent years have joined lips on New Year's Eve for the world's largest mass kiss. File photo: SEBASTIANO CASELLATI

The title of the world's “strangest New Year's custom” has been awarded to the practice of people gathering late every New Year's Eve in the cemetery of a Chilean city to welcome the coming year in the company of dead relatives.

Runners-up in the poll conducted by Badoo.com, a social networking site for meeting new people, included the Irish practice of banging bread on the walls and the custom in South Africa of throwing furniture out the windows of tall buildings.

Badoo asked 7,200 users in 18 countries to vote for both the world's “strangest” customs for celebrating the New Year and also those that are the “most fun”.

The top spot in the latter category went to Venice, where revellers in St Mark's Square in recent years have joined lips on New Year's Eve for the world's largest mass kiss.

Following are the poll results:

The most unusual New Year's customs:

1. Gathering in a graveyard to be with dead relatives (Talca, Chile)

2. Trying to hear animals talking; if you fail, it's good luck (Romania)

3. Banging bread on the walls to frighten away bad spirits (Ireland)

4. Throwing furniture out the window (Johannesburg, South Africa)

5. Diving into a frozen lake, carrying a tree (Siberia)

6. A “possum drop”: lowering a possum over a noisy crowd (North Carolina, U.S.)

7. A village punch-up with neighbours to settle old disputes (Peru)

8. Parading the street while swinging balls of fire over your head (Scotland)

9. Watching an old British TV comedy sketch about a lonely dinner (Germany)

10. A giant, three-day water-fight, with water balloons and buckets (Thailand)

New Year's customs that are the “most fun”:

1. A mass kiss, or “kiss-in” in a Venice piazza (Italy)

2. Wearing red underwear for good luck (Spain, Italy, Mexico)

3. A giant, three-day water-fight, with water balloons and buckets (Thailand)

4. Throwing furniture out the window (Johannesburg, South Africa)

5. A village punch-up with neighbours to settle old disputes (Peru)

6. Making homemade cannons from heated milk jugs with tight lids (Netherlands)

Source/Methodology: Badoo polled 7,200 users online across 18 countries - 400 per country - in November and December 2013. The 18 countries polled were USA, United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, Russia, Poland. - Reuters


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