New Year’s Eve party is probably the biggest global party and the idea of spending it in some other country excites everyone from the North Pole to the South Pole from East to West. So which of the 11 Best New Year Celebrations around the world is your favourite? What will you wear – a nice dress, a suit, your best pair of shoes? And what about your underwear?
Well, you wouldn’t raise an eyebrow at this question if you were living in Latin America or any Spanish speaking country. People here don brightly coloured underpants to ring in the New Year—red if you’re looking for love, and yellow for money.
Across the world, revellers celebrate New Year’s Eve in a similar fashion: fireworks and parties. Still, each destination has its unique rituals. Some walk around with suitcases in their houses at midnight, some eat a spoonful of lentils, some eat 12 grapes for 12 wishes for 12 months, some wear white clothes, some throw away their old stuff at neighbours, some predict the future with molten lead, some chime a bell 108 times to welcome New Year God, some send hundreds of paper lanterns up into the night sky. The list is endless.
So as you get ready for your New Year’s Eve party, here is a list of the 12 best New Year Celebrations around the world and their strange traditions:
Table of Contents
1) Tokyo, Japan
Japan is the first place to welcome the New Year. In Tokyo, festivities start as early as the 29th, with spectacular fireworks displays every night until the 4th of Jan. Two great party areas are Shinjuku and Shibuya. New Year’s Eve celebration in Tokyo is both a time of family events as well as lively nightlife experiences. ‘Bonenkai’ (forget the old year) parties are held in December to bid adieu to past problems. A popular ritual called “Hatsumode” is followed where locals visit temples for the first time in the year. Once a temple bell rings 108 times at midnight, the crowds begin to celebrate the arrival of the New Year.
2) Sydney, Australia
Sydney has earned a reputation as the New Year’s Eve Capital of the world, thanks to the spectacular fireworks at Sydney Harbour. For a day, Sydney becomes the melting pot for travellers across the world. Revellers start filling up the Opera House forecourt and every inch of open space around the harbour from early morning. The formalities officially kick off at 6 pm, with an aerial show. At 9 pm the family fireworks amaze the kiddies. The main attraction at midnight, the Harbour Light Parade, has made the city famous as a New Year’s Eve destination. This is one show for which preparations start two years in advance. In Sydney, the entire January is dedicated to New Year Celebration – fireworks are held every Saturday at Darling Harbour.
3) Hong Kong
There is never a dull moment in ‘Pearl of the Orient’ and the New year in Hong Kong is as exciting as it sounds! This city knows how to celebrate every moment, especially new year’s eve. You start feeling the party vibes right from Christmas and lasts until the Chinese New Year, which is celebrated in February. So imagine a new year party that lasts for almost two months. Hong Kong is the city to be on New Year’s Eve. The whole city looks like a giant party place when the fireworks go up at Victoria Harbor. Other must-visit places are Hong Kong Times Square for New Year’s Ball Drop, Tsim Sha Tsui to attend Live Concerts, Lan Kwai Fong for attending Lit New Year Parties and don’t forget to ride Hong Kong’s Observation Wheel Ride to see the aerial view of the city.
This year the Hong Kong New Year Countdown Concert will be in the Art Park, West Kowloon Cultural District where several popular local artists such as AGA, Alfred Hui, Gin Lee, Jay Fung, Joyce Cheng, MIRROR and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra among others will be performing live. Also, a countdown clock will be displayed on the gigantic facade of the newly opened M+ so that the public can welcome 2022 in unison. And, for the ones like me who won’t be able to make it to the venue, the concert and countdown moment will be live-streamed online.
New Year celebrations in Singapore is stunning like the city itself. While the year-end celebrations can be enjoyed all across the island, the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown is one of the city’s largest and grandest celebrations. Packed with a gamut of activities like a giant carnival, art markets, a visual projection showcase and, of course, spectacular fireworks showcase at the stroke of midnight, this is one countdown event that I can never forget. Before the pandemic hit the world Singapore celebrated the ‘Star Island Singapore’ – the celestial-themed spectacle – to The Float @ Marina Bay on 31 December 2019 through a 90-minute extravaganza of firework displays and electrifying performances. Besides Marina Bay, other great vantage points to enjoy the breath-taking fireworks were the ArtScience Museum™, Ocean Financial Centre and The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.
The celebrations were not limited to New Year’s Eve alone. Art projections were beamed on the facades of key iconic landmarks around Marina Bay such as the ArtScience Museum™ and The Merlion at Merlion Park, and onto The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. The best part about this ‘Build a Dream’ campaign was that while we enjoyed the projections, someone’s life was getting illuminated too – it was a collective effort to support the less fortunate and contribute to their personal growth. Besides the fireworks and light projects, there were a lot of kid-centric activities going around like carnivals, rides, games, food trucks and roving performers.
Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2022 – Due to COVID restrictions there will be no fireworks display at Marina Bay on New Year’s Eve. But Singapore will celebrate the new year albeit in its own safe style –Shine a Light display, Share the Moment and Waterfront Promenade Light Installations.
5) Reykjavik, Iceland
New Year’s Eve celebration in Reykjavik is unforgettable – a show of fire and ice. Fireworks are quite magnificent but what makes this place unique is – The Northern Lights. Every year global travellers and locals combat polar cold to view this natural phenomenon. The Mars-like landscape of Reykjavik creates a breathtaking backdrop for the lights. New Year’s Eve is a prime time to see Northern lights and this is the only time of the year when fireworks are allowed. Locals have family dinners, attend the local bonfire, watch an annual TV show and at midnight entire population indulges in fireworks. But Iceland is not for the faint-hearted. Go only, if you can bear the extreme cold. Here’s a wonderful Iceland in winters guide
6) Berlin, Germany
Thanks to the Oktoberfest, Berlin has earned a worldwide tag of a party city and it doesn’t disappoint you on New Year’s Eve. Germans have a tradition of participating in the annual pancake race – Berliner Silvesterlauf. Locals run in fancy dress for 2 to 15 km, flipping pancakes all the way. In the evening, Berlin’s biggest party takes place at the Brandenburg Gate. The 2 km stretch between the Victory Column and Brandenburg Gate is the place to celebrate Silvester (New Year’s Eve in German).
7) Barcelona, Spain
The Spanish eat twelve grapes at midnight, one grape for each chime of the clock. Symbolic of twelve wishes for the twelve months of the year. Eating twelve grapes at midnight and wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve is said to bring good luck. People gather in town squares eating grapes together, drinking cava (Spanish champagne) and waiting to welcome the New Year. New Years time is a family get together time.
8) Vienna, Austria
New Year’s Eve in Vienna is about music, mulled wine, balls, parties, and traditions. The Silvesterpfad (‘New Year’s Eve Path’), an annual grand street party, is the main event. The event lines up several free open-air concerts where you can listen to everything from folk music, waltz, and operetta to pop and rock tunes. Vienna’s best classical orchestras like the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra perform New Years Eve concerts. At midnight people kiss one another and feast on suckling pigs, which are a symbol of good luck. Future predictions are made by reading the shapes formed by pouring molten lead into the water.
9) London, England
London is a place that takes pride in marrying modernity with tradition. And the same is reflected in its New Year’s Eve celebrations too. A three-hour extravaganza along the River Thames comprises performances by thousands of artists, fireworks show at the London Eye, a midnight countdown alongside the chiming of Big Ben, and a massive group sing-along to “Auld Lang Syne.” Until last year this was a non-ticketed event but this year for the first time the event has been ticketed to prevent overcrowding, and tickets cost £10. If you are looking for some good deals on hotels, do check out حجز فنادق لندن (London hotel reservations).
10) Edinburgh, Scotland
Sub-zero temperature cannot tone down the enthusiasm of Scots to celebrate the New Year. The ‘Hogmanay’ celebration lasts four days and includes a torchlight parade through the city, concerts, and a massive street party on Princes Street. Scotsman Robert Burns wrote “Auld Lang Syne”, and it is a tradition to sing it on the streets of Edinburgh holding glowing torchlights. ‘Midnight Moment, the world-famous fireworks light up the skies above Edinburgh from the iconic Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill. The Scots follow the tradition of “first-footing,” in which the first guest of the New Year should bring gifts.
11) New York, USA
Since 1907, the famous ‘ball drop’ – in which a 12-foot-wide crystal ball weighing nearly 12,000 pounds descends atop Times Square in New York on New Year’s Eve. The Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration features star-studded musical performances, balloons, confetti and a colourful pyrotechnic display. Every year, visitors from around the globe write their wishes for the New Year on colourful pieces of official Times Square New Year’s Eve confetti. These wishes are posted on the New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall called “Hopes and Dreams”.
12) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio is the place for the partygoers who love to dance with the sea waves in the summertime of the southern hemisphere. The fantastic fireworks are held at Copacabana Beach. People attending the event come dressed in white and bring flowers, which they throw in the water as a ritual offering to the sea goddess. Champagne literally flows like water. Eating grapes and lentils are considered a good luck ritual.
There are many more interesting and strange New Year’s Eve rituals like in Ireland Maids place mistletoe under the pillow to find future husbands. In Denmark Dishes and crockery are broken against neighbours’ doors; the bigger the debris, the greater the luck. In the Philippines: Most people wear polka dots and eat round-shaped foods for good luck.
In Ecuador Scarecrows made of wood and newspaper bits are burnt to destroy the past and bring in the new. In Chile New Year is rung in with the dead. People head to the cemetery and start the year at the graves of their departed ones.
Related: If you have time and don’t mind travelling to a different country during holidays, check out the 15 Best European Christmas destinations filled with unexpected surprises.
Hope this article helps you decide which out of the 12 Best New Year Celebrations around the world will be yours this year. Additionally, when you visit any of these New Year’s Eve Destinations do follow the traditions of that place. Be rest assured you’d make some amazing new friends. And, don’t forget to book in advance because due to high demand it gets very difficult to find good accommodation at an equally good price.
I would love to know how you celebrate new year’s eve. Please do share your feedback in the below-given comment box.