Different New Year's Celebrations And Traditions Around the World

When the clock strikes 12 on December 31st, you’ll want to give yourself the best chance possible at making 2024 your best year yet. If you’re an avid traveler like we are, you likely will be traveling around the New Year, it's good to know about what might be happening in that current country. Some countries have one main NYE tradition and other countries celebrate in various ways, with a variety of superstitions and traditions.

NYE New York

United States

  • Watching the ball drop - Millions of Americans gather around their screen (or on the streets of Times Square, despite freezing temps) to watch the ball drop at the stroke of midnight each year. In the early American colonies, the sound of pistol shots rang through the air.
  • New Year Resolutions - making resolutions for the new year seems like a relatively recent trend, historically speaking, but the tradition is very old — and likely dates back more than 4,000 years.
  • Families and friends gathering - Parties, family gatherings, NYE events are all ways that Americans celebrate on New Years Eve. It is also commonly believed that if you kiss someone on New Year's Eve as the clock strikes midnight, you will have good luck in love for the rest of the year.
Ice Fishing in Canada

Canada

Freezing temps don’t keep Canadians from starting the new year with a winter favorite sport—ice fishing. It is common for families to rent heated huts and cooking equipment so that they can enjoy their feast on the fishing spot. 

Denmark
It is customary for residents of Denmark to celebrate New Year’s Eve by throwing old plates and glasses against the doors of their family and friends to banish bad spirits. The Danish collectively stand on chairs and jump off them at midnight to ‘leap’ into January in hopes of good luck. 

Colombia
In a hope for a year filled with travel and adventure, it is a tradition for Colombian residents to walk around the block on New Year's Eve with an empty suitcase.

Spain
In Spain, people attempt to eat 12 grapes during these 12 strokes of midnight! Tradition says that if they succeed before the chimes stop, they will have good luck for all 12 months of the coming year.

France NYE

France
The French up the ante and go all out for the New Year by having feasts with entrees and Champagne. Much like America, there is usually plenty of dancing and party hopping too.

Scotland
Scotland’s New Year’s Eve celebration is called Hogmanay, known as “first-footing.” It goes like this, the first person who crosses the threshold of a home in the New Year should carry a gift for luck. Scots also hold bonfire ceremonies where people parade while swinging giant fireballs on poles, supposedly symbols of the sun to purify the coming year.

Russia
In Russia, it's customary to write a wish for the new year on a piece of paper, burn it, and then mix the ashes into a glass of champagne before drinking it at a minute past midnight. Although this might cause indigestion they will not leave out yelling Cheers!

New Years in Greece

Greece 
In Greece it is called St. Basil's Day. On January 1st, people from Greece celebrate by baking a coin into a cake known as "Vasilopita," a cake which contains a single coin. The person who finds the coin is believed to be blessed with good luck for the new year.

Japan
In Japan, they welcome the new year by eating bowls of soba noodles, or noodles made from buckwheat flour. The nickname is "year-crossing noodles," and while the origins of this tradition aren't exactly known, generally, Japanese people believe that the long noodles represent a long life.

Germany
Germans call their New Year’s custom "Glücksschwein," which translates to "lucky pig." Pigs appear as marzipan treats, and noshing on them can foster good fortune in the new year.

Singapore
An artsy tradition and visually stunning sight to see, people go to the Singapore River and decorate it with the wishing spheres containing the hopes and dreams of a New Year. In the past, tens of thousands of spheres have floated down the river. 

Australia

  • Fireworks displays: The city’s skylines are lit with fireworks while people gather to watch.
  • Family-friendly celebration: Enjoy an evening of entertainment and activities for all ages while watching the fireworks on Sydney Harbor.
  • Parades: Sydney holds a parade on New Year’s Eve. Enjoy the pageantry and excitement of this all-day celebration that is filled with music, dance, and entertainment for people of all ages.

Lantern Lighting

Thailand

  • Tying the knot: In Thailand, New Year’s Eve is celebrated by tying a knot. This tradition symbolizes family and friendship and represents love and happiness for the coming year.
  • Praying to Buddha: Praying to Buddha provides Thai residents with an opportunity to come together as one community and express their gratitude during New Year’s Eve.
  • Rice cakes: Families and friends get together to enjoy a traditional New Year’s Eve rice cake called Khao Niao, which means “sticky rice cake.” This ritual marks the end of one year and welcomes in another as people eat sticky rice around the dinner table.
  • Dancing: The New Year is a night for dancing and celebrating. Families and friends get together to celebrate by dressing up in festive clothing, exchanging gifts, and enjoying entertainment provided by the community.
  • Lantern: This Thai cultural tradition is also a very popular event in the US. People light up the night with paper lanterns to brighten the path of the coming year. Decorated with pictures, good wishes, and messages, these lanterns are lit at midnight.

Copacabana Beach, Brazil

Brazil
Copacabana Beach hosts the world’s largest and wildest New Year party which receives more than two million people on that two-and-a-half-mile stretch of sand. The celebration is usually marked by a tradition of wearing white and tossing flowers into the sea. Head to this place to enjoy one of the best New Year Eve parties in the world 2024.


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