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The start of a new year is definitely something to celebrate. It’s a fresh start, a new beginning with more unbound hope and limit-less potential than the previous calendar year. And what better way to show our excitement for the next chapter in our lives than gathering together all across the world to mark this important date with some festivities and surrounded by our loved ones. So how do the locals do it? Read on to find out!
Held in the heart of Manhattan and then simultaneously broadcasted across the nation, the ball drop is the epitome of New Years for many Americans. This brilliant light show was first introduced in 1908 by the owner of the New York Times and over a hundred years later, the famous ball of light can be still be seen in Times Square. To fully partake in the New York festivities, you’ll need to join in on the countdown chant and celebrate midnight with a kiss.
New Year celebrations bring large crowds of people to major metropolitan cities for fireworks celebrations, live concerts, and dances hosted by Bollywood stars. Tourism is high during this holiday with hotels selling out along the coastline to see the famous fireworks shows.
In Guatemala, all businesses close at noon on New Year’s Eve in preparation for the busy night ahead. People traditionally wear new clothing as a sign of good fortune and like many other Central American countries, Guatemalans eat 12 grapes during the New Year’s countdown. Fireworks are held at the Plaza Mayor in Guatemala City and festivities are wrapped up with some gift-giving among the adults.
In the UK, all eyes are on the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster in London, otherwise known as Big Ben. This 315 ft tower has the largest 4 faced chiming clock in the world and stands as the most prominent symbol of England. Brits gather all around central London in local pubs and at the stroke of 12, they rejoice in singing the old time classic, Auld Lang Syne.
Most Japanese people spend their New Years welcoming Toshigami, the god of New Years, by cleaning their homes and placing traditional decorations like the Kodamatsu. Other festivities include the releasing of the helium balloons at Zōjō-ji, a buddhist temple in Tokyo. It is said that you must make a New Year’s wish before you let the balloon fly away.
Every New Year’s Eve or Saint Sylvestre Eve, people celebrate with a feast of French delicacies, know as the Le Réveillon de Saint-Sylvestre. Attend one of these and you’re likely to find champagne and foie gras. At midnight, couples kiss under mistletoe and offer well wishes to their friends and families.
Seoll-Nall or New Year’s day actually comes twice in North and South Korea because both the lunar and Solar New Years are celebrated. In South Korea, people gather in the city center and harken in the New Year with the ringing of the Bosingak bell, a huge bell originally constructed in 1336. In North Korea, people countdown with the local library clock in the capital city of Pyongyang. The traditional dish is Tteokguk, a soup made of broth and rice cakes and whether or not you eat this, holds much significance for the coming year.
The Notte di San Silvestro is full of rich and colorful traditions, such as only wearing red underwear, getting rid of old and unused items, tuning in to the president’s message, and of course, eating the traditional dish of lentils. Other festivities include outdoor concerts, fireworks display, and hitting up the local clubs.
Sydney and Melbourne are the places to be on December 31st. Sydney, home to the capital and Port Jackson, thousands of Australians gather here to watch the synchronized pyrotechnic firework shows. The most important part being the Sydney Harbor Bridge, which gets lit up every year with a new lighting effect. These shows are so well know that they are broadcasted all over the world.
In the Philippines, New Year’s is celebrated with a traditional holiday meal widely known as the Media Noche. This feast includes Lechon, a roasted suckling pig usually prepared over charcoal in a backyard pit. Common Philippine rituals include wearing bright colored clothing for good luck, throwing coins to increase wealth, and making loud noises to scare away evil spirits.
Feliz Año Nuevo! Nuovi Anni Felici! Bonnes Années! नव वर्ष! Let us know how you ring in the New Year in the comments below.