SG-- we did the pots and pans thing too! The noise is supposed to drive away evil spirits.
I was raised by my grandparents who came from "The Old Country" and were more than a little religious and superstitious so New Year's was a pretty big deal-- more so than Christmas.
In the Jewish faith you prepare for Rosh Hashanah by making sure your house is in order-- pantry stocked, bills paid, and most importantly you begin the time of self reflection where you forgive those who have trespassed against you and ask their forgiveness in return (this does not have to be done in person-- it can be something you just do internally). The idea being that however you leave the previous year, is how you will spend the next one. So I carry the same traditions over to the calendar year. It really does work. Some quirky things my family has always done:
Make sure you have some cash in your wallet (must be cash, even if it is a few singles)-- this ensures you have money for the upcoming year.
Eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight NYE for luck
Eat round food New Years day-- donuts, citrus fruit-- it symbolizes unity and luck
Eat pork-- because the pig is low to the ground it is considered a steady animal and lucky
Eat greens or cabbage-- they symbolize wealth
Have a good looking dark haired man be your first visitor in the new year -- this also assures luck- we had a neighbor who fit the bill and would go to everyone's house new year's day.
Put coins under your doormat so wealth comes to your home in the new year.
Always wear new clothes on New Year's Day
Do not eat chicken-- it is considered unlucky since chickens "scratch" backwards. To eat chicken on New Year's day is to move back, not forward. Chick Fil Et on New Year's Eve, however, is OK
The oddest tradition my family has comes from my grandmother and I don't know where this comes from. But every year on New Year's Day she would go to the store and buy all new underwear-- everything. Then she would go home and throw out all her existing unmentionables. I always found this odd since she is a woman who recycles tea bags at least 4 times. But this was her tradition. Sad to say I have adapted it and cannot seem to break the habit.