STREAM Activity: New Year’s Eve Traditions

How do you celebrate New Year's Eve?

Activity best for children age 2 and up

5, 4, 3, 2, 1! According to the Gregorian calendar, December 31st is the last day of the year, and tomorrow it will be the first day of 2022. Did you know that people celebrate the new year at 38 different times during 26 hours around the globe?

People all over the world enjoy fun, delicious, and silly traditions on New Year’s Eve. A tradition is a custom or belief that has been passed on from previous generations. Below are some traditions that children from Spain, Japan, Turkey, the Philippines, Brazil, and the United States follow. If you’d like to celebrate these traditions along with children from all of these different places, you can follow the time zones throughout the day.

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Materials you’ll need:

Green grapes

A bell


Guiding Questions:

What is a time zone and why do people celebrate the new year at different times?

What are traditions? 

Traditions Around the World


As the clock strikes midnight, people in Spain eat 12 green grapes for each chime, symbolizing one for each lucky month of the new year. If it’s too hard to eat grapes that fast, people and children can eat raisins instead!

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In Japan, it is customary to ring a bell 108 times at midnight. This is to help with cleanness in the new year.

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Sprinkle some salt on your doorstep like the Turkish do. This is to bring peace and abundance. They also like to go for a walk to symbolize safe travel.

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At midnight, Fillipino children like to follow the tradition of jumping as high as they can 12 times to pretend to grow taller. Another fun tradition in the Philippines is to turn on all the lights at midnight so that the year to come is extra bright!

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On New Year’s Eve, people in Brazil wear all white for good luck and peace. Also, as soon as the clock strikes 12:00am, you can jump over 7 ocean waves to make 7 wishes. 

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United States of America

In the United States, children make New Year’s Resolutions! What resolutions will you make this year?

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Grown Ups-Are you looking for more ways to extend your child’s learning? Check out these extension activities to build upon today’s STREAM activity!

Reading Connections:

“Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela!” written by  Alexandra Alessandri and illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda

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Math Connections:

Want to track exactly when countries will celebrate the beginning of 2022? Below is a helpful link to compare other cities and countries with your current local time. This is a fun, simple way to talk to your little one about time: New Year’s Eve Time Zones