December 16, 2018

New Year’s Celebrations Around the World

New Year’s Celebrations Around the World

Around the globe, different cultures celebrate New Year’s Eve in unique ways. This holiday is a great excuse to travel, both at home and abroad.   Some celebrations deliver strange twiststhat can leave other cultures scratching their heads. But regardless ofcultural differences, I believe we should all be happy and bring the noise inour own time and own way.  Nevertheless, it’s fun to celebrate all theinteresting ways people will be ringing in the New Year around the world. Setthe stage for a memorable New Year’s by partaking in traditional celebrationsaround the globe — in December and throughout the year.  And who knows? Maybe we can find something fun to adopt into our own personal traditions. Read this article for even more New Year’s traditions.

New York City   

One of the most classic New Year’s celebrations in the U.S. takes place in New York City. The Big Apple toasts the New Year in a variety of ways, from the ball drop in Times Square to special multi-course dinners from the city’s best celebrity chefs. Traditional celebrations include a big countdown at midnight. Add a special touch to your trip by browsing for a great local B&B with a hearty New Year’s Day brunch.

Chinese Lunar New Year
Many Chinese children dress in new clothes to celebrate the Lunar New Year. People carry lanterns and join in a huge parade led by a silk dragon, the Chinese symbol of strength. According to legend, the dragon sleeps for most of the year, so people incorporate firecrackers in their celebrations to keep the dragon awake.  In the Chinese calendar, each of the 12 years is named after an animal. 2018 was the Year of the Dog and people born this year have the following character traits: Faithful, courageous and clever, dogs make great leaders and are good at keeping secrets. But they’re quick to find fault and can be distant. According to legend, Lord Buddha asked all the animals to come to him before he left the earth. Only 12 animals came to wish him farewell, and as a reward Buddha named a year after each one.

Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur
In September/October, Jews believe thatGod opens the Book of Life for 10 days, starting with Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and ending with Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Jews try to atone for any wrongdoing and to forgive others during these days, the holiest in the Jewish year. A “shofar” (a ram’s horn trumpet) is blown before and during RoshHashanah and at the end of Yom Kippur.

In Thailand, on April 13–15, a funthree-day water festival marks Songkran, the Buddhists’ celebration of the newyear. Wet parades with huge statues of Buddha that spray water on passersby area part of this cleansing tradition.  In small villages, young people throwwater at each other for fun and attempt acts of kindness like releasing fishback into rivers. At Songkran, people tie strings around each other’s wrists toshow their respect to their fellow man and community. A person can have as manyas 25 or 30 strings on one wrist, each from a different person. The strings aresupposed to be left on until they fall off organically.


Several fire festivals occur all over Scotland for their New Year’s celebration but the most famous of Scotland’s many New Year’s Hogmanay fire festivals is the one in Stonehaven, where right before midnight a parade of trained professionals swing balls of fire over their head and then toss them into the sea.  The tradition dates back over 100 years, and many believe it’s based on a pre-Christian ritual meant to purify and ward off evil spirits. Some believe that its timing with the winter solstice signifies that the fireball actually symbolizes the sun.

Burmese Water Festival

The Thingyan water festival takes place in mid-April and marks the arrival of Thagyamin, a celestial Buddhist figure, on Earth with the firing of many water cannons. The streets are usually flooded with sprinklers and people celebrating, and the soggy celebrations last until New Year’s Day.  The water is meant to “wash away” the bad luck and sins of the previous year, and to begin anew through this cleansing ritual.

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