Back in the day, residents of Ireland would bang loaves against doors and walls just before midnight to ward off any angry apparitions or problematic phantoms that might be lurking. Whacking bread against the wall is also believed to send bad luck packing and ensure that your family won't go hungry for the next 12 months.
Some people believe that if you clean clothes on January 1, you'll be "washing for the dead" and a member of your family will die at some point in the coming year. It will also send a year of good fortune spiraling down the drain.
According to this New Year's superstition, nothing—be it leftover pizza, empty wine bottles, you get the idea—should be removed from your house until after New Year's Day. The idea is that it'll set the tone for a steady stream of people and things to leave you in the year to come.
Homeowners in the Philippines open all the doors and windows just before midnight to serve up an eviction notice to any bad juju that might be lingering around and usher positive auras into their abodes. According to Filipino tradition, the more noise you make on December 31, the better, as it's also believed that a big ruckus helps to drive away evil spirits.
In small villages around Japan, young men dressed as the Namahage (a.k.a. ogre-like demons) go door to door to frighten lazy people. They also threaten to snatch away misbehaving children but back off once the head of the household offers sake and rice cakes. These terrifying figures are also believed to bring protection from illness and disasters once appeased, as well as a good harvest and plentiful food year-round.