New Year Celebrations Around the World

Welcoming in the New Year is always an exciting celebration. Only a week before, you’ve celebrated Christmas with all your family and friends, eaten too much of your favourite foods and treated your loved ones to a special gift. But, there are differences in the way we welcome in the New Year across the world…

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Greece

Onions are hung from people’s front doors as a symbol of rebirth for the new year.

England

There is a big fireworks display over the river thames in London as Big Ben rings in the New Year. Festivities tend to be spent more with friends than with family (the opposite to Christmas). After the countdown, people in England and other English-speaking countries often sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’, a song written from the poem by Robert Burns (a Scottish poet).

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Spain

It’s traditional to eat 12 grapes when the clock strikes 12am – one for every sound of a clock chime.

Germany

It’s common for people to watch the film “Dinner for One”. It’s also legal in Germany to set off your own private fireworks so almost everyone has their own display. Older generations sometimes give figurines of chimney sweeps and pigs as a symbol of good fortune for the coming year.

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Italy

In Italy, people believe that wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve brings good luck.

Japan

In Japanese Buddhist temples, bells are rung 108 times! This is because 108 is the total number of different human desires there are in the buddhist religion, each believed to be a cause of suffering. It’s thought that ringing bells this number of times reduces their threat.

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Portugal

Children knock on neighbours’ doors and sing songs in exchange for sweets and coins (almost similar to British Halloween celebrations but less spooky!).

Scotland

In Edinburgh every year, there is a fireworks display over the castle and the entire city is turned into what is essentially one big street party with several stages planted throughout the streets to entertain everyone. There’s also the chance to buy festive drinks and street food whilst soaking up the atmosphere!

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USA

A famous ball drop that happens live at the 60-second countdown in Times Square in New York City.

Ecuador

Here, people burn photographs taken in the previous year to wish themselves good luck!

Denmark

People throw crockery at their friends’ doors to wish them a happy New Year. The more broken pieces you have on your doorstep, the better!

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