How New Year’s Eve is Celebrated in Different Countries
Welcoming a new year is one of the celebrations that the whole world equally cherishes and anticipates at the same time. From the small Island nations of Tonga and Kiribati–the first places in the world to see the rise of the new year–to the American Samoa, Howland Island and Baker Island that are furthest behind to ring in the new year, every country welcomes it at different times and celebrates it in different ways too.
Sydney New Year’s Eve Fireworks
Having lived more than half my life in Sydney, I’ve always thought that my favourite New Year’s Eve celebrations were on Sydney Harbour. Mostly every time, I, along with fam, get aboard the New Year’s Eve cruises on the world-famous harbour to watch the marvellous fireworks. These cruises have given me some of the best memories about this beautiful city, and that’s why they remain my all-time safety net, if at all my other plans are cancelled. And again, of all the Sydney New Year’s Eve cruises I’ve been on, the best-ever cruise was aboard the popular glass boat fireworks cruise on the harbour as they provided spectacular 360° views of the harbour, a buffet dinner with drinks and entertainment. However, for the past few years, I’ve been on the lookout for new New Year’s Eve experiences across the globe that aren’t just about the fireworks. And here are some interesting experiences off the beaten track that I collated for you.
Hogmanay in Edinburgh
In Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, New Year’s Eve is celebrated over a period of three days. And on the second day, i.e December 30, nearly 10000 revellers create a “river of fire” down through the Old Town’s streets, from Parliament Square to Calton Hill. The procession is accompanied by pipers and drums too. And on the final day, the city sees a huge social gathering with Scottish music and traditional dancing. If you’re one of the brave-hearted souls, do take part in the Loony Dook, a polar-plunge event in the First of Forth, where people in costumes assemble just outside the city.
Ringing Bells in Japan
In Japan, New Year’s Eve is celebrated in a unique way — by ringing bells in Buddhist temples. If you’re in the capital city of Tokyo, the iconic Zojoji Temple, head over to witness the traditional ritual of ringing the bell 108 times, indicating the number of human desires and respective causes of suffering as per the Buddhist tradition. It is believed that each bell would dispel negative emotions and mentality.
Feasting numerous times in Estonia
In Estonia, the festival is immensely associated with feasting. On New Year’s Eve, it is a tradition for Estonians to consume a lucky number of meals. If you’re a foodie or a gourmand, you should definitely head to Estonia to indulge in several meals in a day. The numbers seven, nine and 12 are thought to be the luckiest. As believed, eating seven, nine or 12 times means you will manifest the strength of that many men or women in the new year. But again, you don’t have to worry about trying to finish everything on your plate. Because one of the traditions that goes hand-in-hand with eating numerous meals is leaving some food behind to make your ancestral spirits happy.
Smashing plates in Denmark
Could smashing things against someone’s house bring good luck? If you’re thinking, “in an alternate world maybe,” you’re wrong. Head over to Denmark, where people hold on to glasses and chipped dishes for New Year’s Eve–to smash them all against the front doors of friends and family. People measure your popularity among your community by the number of shards on your doorstep the next morning.
All the weird and good New Year’s Eve traditions I’ve listed above could only be a few of the many yet-to-be-explored traditions. I hope this article has triggered your curiosity to find out more practices. If you find any, do feel free to reach out to me.