Countdown to New Year begins at the stroke of midnight on December 31st. From Tijuana, Mexico, where crowds are hoping for a record-breaking firework show, to Beirut, Lebanon, where people are hoping for calm after a political crisis, most nations celebrate in their unique ways. While some countries focus on enjoying family and friends, other countries use New Year’s Eve as an excuse to party, with some areas even using the last minutes of the year as a time to reflect on their lives and make resolutions for next year.
Ways in Which New Year’s Eve is Celebrated
The last night of the year is a time to spend with family and friends, but people celebrate in unique ways. There’s no right way to celebrate New Year, so there’s no right way to explain how it’s celebrated. Different cultures, regions, religions, and ethnicities take different approaches to celebrating the New Year. In this list, the calendar shows different holidays, however, the first activity is New Year’s Day for most nations. Here is an outline of how different nations celebrate their New Year’s eve.
Most Europeans celebrate New Year with a countdown to the New Year. Many go out for parties, dinners, or gatherings on December 31st and then stay until midnight when fireworks are set off or special events occur. For example, in Cologne, Germany, the cathedral bells ring at 11:55 pm for about an hour each year. In Denmark, cities like Copenhagen and Aarhus have a unique tradition of placing a straw in the streets; this symbolizes the end of the horrible year.
Most countries in North America celebrate New Year, emphasizing traditions or parties. While some areas spend New Year’s Eve with friends, family, or significant others, other locations use the end of one year and the start of a new one as an excuse to go out and party. For example, an annual New Year’s Eve concert is hosted in the Hollywood Bowl with artists like Keith Lockhart conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra. In Toronto, Canada, over 1 million people attend a countdown fireworks display at Nathan Phillips Square; this event is held every year since 2008.
New Year’s Eve in Australia is often celebrated with a countdown to the New Year. However, families in Australia usually celebrate in different ways. Some Australians visit beaches or parks while others watch fireworks displays put on by the government. In Sydney, it’s tradition to view the skyline from one of Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons when midnight strikes, but many others watch the Abbotsford convent fireworks display. The day is meant to be spent with friends or family, but some Australians use it as an excuse to go out and party.
The New Year in the Middle East is celebrated in various ways. Most countries use it as an excuse to spend time with family and friends, but some focus on religious tradition instead. For example, many go out for dinner or gatherings in Lebanon before heading home at midnight. It is then that the TV will be turned on to wait for midnight bells. Many young people attend New Year’s Eve parties at clubs or bars in Israel, while others go to churches and synagogues instead.
In Asia, New Year’s Eve is celebrated slightly differently than in Europe or North America. Instead of fireworks and family gatherings, New Year’s Eve is more of an excuse to go out partying. For example, in Malaysia, on New Year’s Eve, thousands of people crowd the streets of Kuala Lumpur for a countdown to midnight; this event has been happening since 1996. People celebrate with traditions like eating cake and watching TV in China and Japan. In China, people spend it with family and friends, while in Japan they go out to eat instead.
In general, New Year’s Eve is celebrated similarly to how it is celebrated in Europe. While some Africans celebrate with fireworks and countdown events like what you’d see in North America, others spend it with family or friends. It should be noted that there are some areas of Africa where New Year’s Eve is not celebrated at all, either because they have their celebration days or because their belief system prohibits the celebration of the New Year.
New Year’s Eve in South America is celebrated very differently than it is in Europe or North America. For example, 100,000 people will gather at Copacabana beach to watch fireworks and celebrate during the countdown to midnight. In Colombia, they also party on the beach where thousands of college students will participate in an event called “Rebulebo” and dance with each other. The New Year is celebrated in Chile by dancing in Valparaiso’s streets until sunrise.
New Year’s Eve is also celebrated in Central America and can vary from nation to nation. For example, many revelers from Mexico cross the border into Tijuana to continue celebrating past midnight. However, most Central American countries celebrate similarly to how they would on any other night. In Panama, the New Year is celebrated by going out with friends or family and watching fireworks.
Like Australia, most countries in Oceania celebrate New Year’s Eve by watching fireworks or by having family gatherings. For example, the Sydney Harbor Bridge is lit up with fireworks made of 12,000 individual pyrotechnic effects launched over seven minutes at midnight to mark the beginning of the new year. However, some traditions are unique to Oceania. For instance, in Samoa, many people go “traditionally native” by spending it at a luau while others watch the fireworks on the beach.
Because there are no permanent residents in Antarctica, New Year’s Eve is not celebrated. This part of the world is reserved for scientists and researchers who spend the night indoors in their stations. However, if you were to travel to Antarctica on December 31st, the local penguin population would be happy to help you celebrate by watching fireworks with you.
The earliest celebrations of the New Year came around the same time as the invention of the calendar, which was over 4000 years ago. Before New Year’s Eve celebrations were popular, people often prayed and made sacrifices to their gods to ask for good health and prosperity in the new year. The new year superstitions are meant to create good luck in the new year, just like some traditions today.