World

Unusual New Year party traditions

Updated 1335 GMT (2135 HKT) December 20, 2012
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Every year around a 1000 New Year revellers brave freezing conditions in the River Forth in front of the Forth Rail Bridge during the annual Loony Dook Swim.

Similar sub-zero New Year soaks are found across the chillier corners of the northern hemisphere from Sweden to Siberia.
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
A crowd of people gathered in Puerta del Sol in Madrid stuff their faces with 12 grapes to celebrate the New Year, each representing a month in the year ahead. Similar grape-related larks are practiced in Mexico, Chile and Costa Rica PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images
In the Swiss ski resort of Klosters, the first day of January is celebrated with a piglet race in which 10 tiny porkers sprint through the snow for the enviable prize of being spared from the sausage factory. FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
Perhaps in tribute to their nation's industrial might, some Germans celebrate New Year with a drop of molten lead. A spoonful is melted over a candle and dropped into a bucket of water. Shapes formed by the droplets are used to divine signs of fortune to come. Fred Morley/Getty Images
Revelers take part in the 30-year-old 'San Silvestre' New Year's race in brightly colored underwear at La Font de la Figuera, Valencia, Spain. In Italy, Spain and South and Central America, color-coded underpants take on special meaning at New Year with red or yellow auguring luck or romance. DIEGO TUSON/AFP/Getty Images
In South Africa, police have had to issue regular warnings following the development of a somewhat hazardous tradition of throwing fridges out of household windows during the New Year's holiday.

A similar practice of chucking unwanted goods out windows, including old TV sets, was common in Italy but is now, gratefully, extinct.
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Not everyone is prone to raucous outbursts of New Year cheer. In a surprising survey last year, it was revealed that over a third of Britons prefer to be tucked up in bed on the stroke of midnight. Chaloner Woods/Getty Images