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10 Ways People Around The World Celebrate New Year

Culture December 6, 2016 By Vincent

In the USA, New Year is usually celebrated with free flowing wine, gorging on food and cake and watching televised football games with the iconic ball drop in New York city becoming one of the most ingrained traditions of the period but how do others around the world celebrate the coming of the New Year?


Here we look at what countries around the world do in order to ring in the New Year and celebrate the coming 12 months.


1. England

Like the crowds that gather in Times Square in New York, huge crowds line the river Thames in London to see a magnificent fireworks display that happens at midnight whilst those who have decided to stay at home often watch a TV show called  Jools Holland's Annual Hootenanny and this is a musical revue with their equivalent of Dick Clarke.


An old tradition (not often practiced anymore) sees a tall, handsome, dark-haired man be the first to visit the house in the New Year bearing a loaf of bread, whiskey, salt and coal and this is called 'First Footing'.

2. Scotland

Calling their New Year's celebrations 'Hogmanay', the Scottish like to play with fire...and lots of it. Barrels of tar are e set alight and rolled through the streets in a belief that this way the old year is burned up and the new one is allowed to enter. The celebrations in Edinburgh usually have fire breathers and dancers as well.


Some areas may also incorporate a tradition of setting a Viking long boat aflame to celebrate their Nordic heritage and links.


3. China

Not following the Gregorian calendar for their New Year, the Chinese follow the Lunar calendar and so their New Year can occur at any time between mid-January and mid-February and is usually celebrated with people dressed up as dragons dancing through the streets and being 'fed' from various businesses in order to receive the dragon's blessings and luck for the coming year.


Fireworks are a big part of the celebrations and beating of drums and cymbals are believed to drive away the evil. Red is a color of luck and prosperity and so is daubed everywhere whilst paper lanterns are lit and red envelopes of money are given out to children.

4. Japan

Like China, Japan used to celebrate the New Year by the Lunar calendar but since 1873, the country switched to the Gregorian calendar and literally ring in the New Year when  Buddhist temples ring bells 108 times in order to ward off evil. People will visit these temples to pray for the departed and a good harvest.


Colorful rice cakes called mochi are made and consumed and many homes hang straw ropes above their entrances in order to bring in good luck. Japanese men may also be seen hugging large blocks of ice in giant ice tubs in a tradition that is seen as a washing away of the sins of the last year.

5. France 

Like most places around the world, France celebrates the New Year with food and drink but they go much further than others as they traditionally lay on a huge feast called ‘Reveillion’ which is one of the oldest festivals in the country and is a national holiday. The French believe feasting will bring in prosperity for the New Year.


Not content with any old wine, many households will stock up on champagne and let it flow freely.

6. Denmark

The Dames have a tradition that could end up costing a lot of money as they collect dishes throughout the year and when the New Year comes in, they throw the dishes at the front door with each broken plate signifying a friend you shall make in the coming year as you collect them like you had the dishes.


Another tradition is to stand on a chair and jump up and down as it strikes the twelve gongs of midnight in order to encourage good luck. However, jumping up and down on a chair may end up in bad luck.

7. Brazil

Beach parties are mixed with traditional Catholic rituals as well as festivities from bygone beliefs that have become mixed into the ceremonies. The New Year in Brazil coincides with the feast of Iemenja, the African Goddess of the Sea and on New Year's eve ear’s Eve, the Copa Cabana beach in Rio de Janeiro is lit up with candles.


People will often gather on bridges or along the coast to through offerings into the sea for the Goddess Iemnja.

8. Germany

Dropping molten lead into a pot of cold water is a German tradition to see how the metal takes shape in the water. This shape is then used to determine the future of the next year with certain forms representing various different aspects of life such as love or prosperity etc. Families often don't eat until midnight but will eat well when they do.


Food is always left over as a good omen that there is an abundance in the house for the coming year.

9. Spain

In Spain, as the clock strikes midnight, a grape is eaten with each bell toll so as to bring in good luck for the coming year. Often people will gather in squares and town centers to perform this ritual together before going on to drink cava throughout the night and dance away well into the small hours of the morning.


The grapes signify each month of the year so that you have luck all year round, so you best not miss one.

10. Phillippines

A tradition in the Phillippines is to have as many round objects about you so as to signify coins when the New Year comes in. This is to ensure riches and prosperity in the coming year as tables are laden with round fruits of which twelve should be eaten by the time the clock strikes midnight.


Some people even wear polka dots to maximize the number of circles around them and it is believed it best to start the New Year with a full wallet.

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