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New Year Around the World
How to Ring in The New Year Around the World
The holidays are upon us, and while that means travel for many because of Christmas, the New Year is also a big draw for people to board a plane and ring in the New Year in an exotic locale.
The common thread for New Year’s celebrations around the world is new beginnings and fresh starts. There are certainly differences in how and when those celebrations take place. You see big city wide celebrations, small traditions, and everything in between. Many places celebrate with fireworks, loud parties, parades, and light shows, but cities around the world each do things a little differently.
Below is a closer look at some traditions for ringing in the new year around the world.
In America, New Year’s Eve is typically spent with friends and family. Private parties and public fireworks displays can be found across the country. At the stroke of midnight, gatherers traditionally toast and kiss a loved one (or whoever is standing within reach). In New York City, you can find one of the biggest, and most notorious, parties on the planet. Thousands and thousands of people come to Times Square from all over the world to watch the six-ton LED light covered, crystal ball drop right in the middle of the square.
In China, the Gregorian New Year, which is what most of the world celebrates on January 1st, isn’t typically celebrated. Instead, the larger celebrations take place on the Chinese New Year’s Eve, which follows the lunar calendar (falling on February 7 this year). Celebrations include cleaning the home and buying new clothes, eating dumplings, staying up all night, watching a nationwide televised gala, setting off fireworks at midnight, and gifting children with red envelopes full of money. It is a family-oriented celebration that is celebrated by the entire country.
Australia is one of the first countries in the world to celebrate the New Year, due to it’s geographic location, so New Year’s there is often watched worldwide. The celebrations that take place in Sydney are quite impressive and culminate in two large fireworks displays over the harbor. Traditionally, Australians celebrate for six days and, as it is the start of summer, spend much of the time outdoors.
In Japan, there are the typical concerts, fireworks displays, and parties, the biggest taking place at Shibuya Crossing. However, there is also a little more tradition to this day for the Japanese people. On New Year’s Eve, the people of Japan ready their homes for the New Year’s God, Toshigami. Most families will clean their homes and prepare traditional Japanese dishes as a symbol of a clean start to the year.
The New Year in Turkey is marked by family celebrations, gift exchange, houses covered in beautiful light displays, and indulging in traditional Turkish dishes. In Istanbul, one can find the largest public gathering in Turkey. This party includes, concerts, dancing, light shows, and, of course, a fireworks display.
In France, New Year’s Eve is celebrated on an intimate level with a feast for one’s family and friends. The French celebrate the holiday over several days and usually indulge in champagne and foie gras. The final day brings the eating of several cakes. On a larger scale, there are more public parties and celebrations which take place in the city of Paris. Most popularly, the celebration at the Eiffel Tower involves music and fireworks.
Brazilians don’t typically need much reason to throw a big party, so when something as momentous as the New Year comes around, the people of Brazil know how to show the world what a party looks like. When it comes to traditions, Brazilians like to eat lentils, often in the form of lentil soup, on New Year’s Day. Lentils look a bit like coins, so eating them represents wealth in the upcoming year. Additionally, if there is a beach nearby, Brazilians will jump seven waves so that the goddess of the sea will grant their wishes. One for each wave. Not a bad way to start the year off!