All round the world the arrival of the New Year is a cause for celebration, but it's not all Champagne and fireworks. While some burn effigies to welcome 2015 others are smashing plates or eating lentils
In Austria, New Year's Eve is called Sylvesterabend, the Eve of Saint Sylvester, and a punch made of cinnamon, sugar and red wine is prepared in his honour. On New Year's Day, dinner is a special occasion when roast pork is eaten as pigs symbolise good luck. Often the table is decorated with little miniature pigs made of marzipan.
As part of the festival, crowds wearing white gather on the Brazilian beaches to offer gifts to the goddess of the water, Yemanja, floating flowers and candles out to sea in the hope she will bring them good luck. As the lentil is believed to signify wealth, the locals then eat lentil soup or lentils and rice on the first day of the New Year.
In Denmark it's a good sign to find a pile of broken dishes on your doorstep on January 1. Old dishes are saved throughout the year to throw at the doors of friends and neighbours on New Year's Eve. The more broken dishes you have, the more popular you are.
In Germany, it was the custom to predict the future on New Year's Eve by dropping molten lead into cold water and studying the shape it made. A heart or ring shape meant a wedding, a ship a journey, and a pig meant plenty of food in the year ahead.
It is also the custom to leave a little food on the plate until after midnight on New Year's Eve as a way of ensuring a well-stocked larder in the year ahead.
In Hungary, a scarecrow like effigy stuffed with paper and known as Jack Straw is said to embody the evil and misfortune of the past year. He is carried round the village before being burnt on New Year's Eve.
The Japanese hang a rope of straw across the front of their houses to keep out evil spirits and bring happiness and good luck. At midnight on December 31st Buddhist temples all over Japan ring their bells exactly 108 times to drive out the sins of the previous year.
The Portuguese pick and eat 12 grapes from a bunch as the clock strikes 12 on New Year's Eve. This is done to ensure 12 happy months in the coming year.
In Northern Portugal children go carolling from home to home and are given treats and coins. They sing old songs, or Janeiros, which are said to bring good luck.
When the Communist party took power in 1917 they banned the open expression of religion and the celebration of Christmas. In response the people re-invented the New Year's Eve tradition to include a decorated tree and introduced a character called Grandfather Frost who looks very much like the western Santa Claus. Today Christmas is again celebrated but New Year remains the bigger event with feasting and the giving of gifts.
In Scotland, an old tradition that is still observed today is that of the first footer. The first person to set foot in your home on New Year's Day decides the family's luck for the rest of the year. The ideal guest brings a gift of bread or coal to ensure there is no lack of food or warmth in the household.
Children who have left home in Taiwan return for dinner on New Year's Eve. For those unable to make the journey a table setting is placed to symbolise their presence in spirit if not in body. To ensure the arrival of luck and wealth in the New Year, floors may not be swept on New Year's Day or the bins emptied for fear of casting riches out of the door.