What would normally be considered vandalism, the Danish have a very old tradition of breaking dishes on the doorsteps of family and friends on New Year’s Eve. In fact, this tradition is carried out in many European countries, and ultimately measures your good fortune in terms of the amount of friends you have!

The more dishes that are broken and piled up at your door on January 1st, the more friends and good fortune you have. In Denmark, the dish and porcelain manufacturers empty their warehouses of seconds in the weeks leading up to New Years Eve.

Trucks arrive at towns and villages days before December 31st, and residents stockpile cracked, chipped or broken plates. As the clock strikes midnight, people run around smashing plates against each other’s doors. While the original custom involves the satisfaction of hurling the dish at someone’s front door or at their stoop, nowadays, some less violent people pre-break their plates and put the fragment or fragments at the doorways of family, friends and neighbors. The bigger the pile you end up with, the more luck you will have in the upcoming year!

The origin of this tradition is unknown. It’s most closely associated with Denmark, but is practiced in other European cities as well.