New Year's Eve is observed annually on December 31, the final day of any given year in the Gregorian calendar. In modern societies, New Year's Eve is often celebrated at social gatherings, during which participants dance, eat, consume alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the incoming year. Other individuals may observe the evening with a watchnight service. The observance of New Year's Eve generally extends through midnight of January 1 (New Year's Day).
Localised celebrations and traditions
CanadaIn Canada, New Year's traditions and celebrations vary from region to region. Generally, New Year's Eve ('New Year's Eve Day' or Veille du Jour de l'An in French) in Canada is a social holiday. In major metropolitan and tourist destinations such as Toronto, Niagara Falls, and Montreal, the holiday is celebrated with major celebrations and fireworks. Other New Year's Eve celebrations such as late-night partying, sporting events and concerts are major events in these cities and other places around Canada. In some areas, such as in rural Quebec, people ice fish and drink with their friends until the early hours of January 1.
The sketch comedy troupe Royal Canadian Air Farce is known for their annual New Year's Eve specials on CBC Television, featuring sketches celebrating and lampooning major events and news stories of the year. Debuting as a one-off special in 1992, 1992: Year of the Farce, it proved successful enough to spawn the creation of a weekly Air Farce television series after years as a fixture on CBC Radio. Consequentially, the Year of the Farce episodes continued to be a recurring part of the Air Farce television series, and its 2008 New Year's Eve special served as its series finale after 16 seasons. However, members of the original cast returned for reunion specials in 2009 and 2010.
Similarly in Quebec, Télévision de Radio-Canada also airs a yearly New Year's Eve comedy special, Bye Bye, which has been produced by various comedians since its original run from 1968-1998, and its revival by Québécois troupe Rock et Belles Oreilles in 2006. Its 2008 edition, hosted and co-produced by Québécois television personality Véronique Cloutier, however became infamous for several sketches that many viewers perceived as offensive, including sketches making fun of English Canadians and then American president-elect Barack Obama.
MexicoMexicans celebrate New Year's Eve, Vispera de Año Nuevo in Spanish, by downing a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the midnight countdown, while making a wish with each one. Mexican families decorate homes and parties, during New Year's, with colors such as red, to encourage an overall improvement of lifestyle and love, yellow to encourage blessings of improved employment conditions, green to improve financial circumstances and white to improved health. Mexican sweet bread is baked with a coin or charm hidden in the dough. When the bread is served, the recipient whose slice contains the coin or charm is believed to be blessed with good luck in the new year. Another tradition is making a list of all the bad or unhappy events from the current year; before midnight, this list is thrown into a fire, symbolizing the removal of negative energy from the new year. At the same time, thanks is expressed for all the good things had during the year that is coming to its end so that they will continue to be had in the new year.
Mexicans celebrate by having a late-night dinner with their families, the traditional meal being turkey and mole, a tradition which has now spanned worldwide. Those who want to party generally go out afterwards, to local parties or night clubs. In Mexico City there is a street festival on New Year's Eve; celebrations center around the Zocalo, the city's main square. Celebrations include firecrackers, fireworks and sparklers and shouts of "¡Feliz año nuevo!"
United StatesUnited States. Celebrations often center upon dropping or raising an item of worth during the countdown, especially in the East coast.
Since 1907, the "ball dropping" on top of One Times Square in New York City is a major component of the New Year celebration. The 11,875-pound (5,386 kg), 12-foot (3.7 m) diameter Waterford crystal ball located high above Times Square is lowered, starting at 11:59:00 pm and reaching the bottom of its tower sixty seconds later, at the stroke of midnight. (After fifty seconds has passed, the crowd will count down the final ten seconds along with the hosts of various New Year's Eve shows. Toshiba's Times Square advertising screen will also tell the viewers when the New Year officially starts, which debuted in the 2009-10 edition.) From 1981 to 1988, the city dropped a large apple in recognition of its nickname as "the Big Apple". Similar ball drops are performed in many towns and cities across the United States.The custom derives from the time signal that used to be given at noon in harbors.
From 1972 onward (except 2005), Dick Clark has hosted televised coverage of the event called Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, shown on ABC, and now renamed Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest for the arrival of 2009 with Ryan Seacrest handling hosting duties. On December 31, 1999, the show was integrated into ABC 2000 Today, with Dick Clark reporting during the "ABC 2000" broadcast and an introduction from Peter Jennings, saying some would not consider it the New Year if Dick Clark did not count it down. Between 1951 and 1976, Ben Grauer was known for his live television coverage of New Year's Eve at Times Square in New York. From 1956 to 1976 on CBS, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians serenaded the United States from the ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue in New York City. After Lombardo's death in 1977, the Royal Canadians continued on CBS until 1978, and Happy New Year, America replaced it in 1979, continuing until 1995. The song Auld Lang Syne has become a popular song to sing at midnight on New Year's Eve, with the Lombardo version being the standard. NBC also has hosted New Year's coverage; traditionally, the networks' late night hosts have hosted special editions of their regular shows (including a special Central Time Zone-specific countdown on Late Night with Conan O'Brien), but since 2005, the network has opted for a special entitled New Year's Eve with Carson Daly in which Carson Daly hosted the program. Fox, CNN, and Fox News Channel also have their own New Year's specials along with the Spanish-language networks Telemundo and Univision.
New Year's Eve is traditionally the busiest day of the year at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California, where the parks stay open late and the usual nightly fireworks are supplemented by an additional New Year's Eve-specific show at midnight.
Over 60 cities nationwide celebrate First Night, a non-alcohol family-friendly New Year's Celebration, generally featuring performing artists, community events, parades, and fireworks displays to celebrate the New Year.
Religious observancesIn the Roman Catholic Church, January 1st is a Holy Day of Obligation honoring Mary, Mother of God. It is required that all faithful Catholics attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on January 1st. However, since in the Catholic Church, a vigil Mass may be held on the evening before a Holy Day, it has become customary to celebrate Mass on the evening of New Year's Eve.
Many Protestant Christian congregations have New Year's Eve watchnight services. Some, especially Lutherans and Methodists and those in the African American community, have a tradition known as "Watch Night", in which the faithful congregate in services continuing past midnight, giving thanks for the blessings of the outgoing year and praying for divine favor during the upcoming year. Watch Night can be traced back to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism,who learned the custom from the Moravian Brethren who came to England in the 1730s. Moravian congregations still observe the Watch Night service on New Year's Eve. Watch Night took on special significance to African Americans on New Year's Eve 1862, as slaves anticipated the arrival of January 1, 1863, when Lincoln had announced he would sign the Emancipation Proclamation.
AustriaIn Austria, New Year's Eve is usually celebrated with friends and family. At exactly midnight, all radio and television programmes operated by ORF broadcast the sound of the Pummerin (bell of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna), and right after that the "Donauwalzer" ("The Blue Danube") by Johann Strauss II is played, which many people dance to at parties or on the street. Large crowds gather on the streets of Vienna, where the municipal government organises a series of stages from which bands and orchestras play music. Fireworks are set off both by ordinary people and the municipal governments.There are many lights and explosions.
BelgiumIn Belgium, New Year's Eve is called Sint Sylvester Vooravond ("Saint Sylvester Eve") or simply Oudjaar ("old year"). Cosy family parties, called réveillon in the French speaking part of Belgium, are thrown. On television, a stand-up comedian reviews the past year after which a musical or variety show indicates midnight, when everyone kisses, exchanges good luck greetings, and toasts Champagne to the new year and to absent relatives and friends. Many people fire off their own fireworks, and those who don't go into the street to watch them. Most cities have their own fireworks display, the most famous being at Mont des Arts in Brussels. Cities, cafés and restaurants are crowded. Free bus services and special new year's eve taxis (the Responsible Young Drivers) bring everyone home afterwards.
January 1 is called Nieuwjaarsdag and children read their 'new year's letter' and give holiday greeting cards featuring golden cherubs and angels, colored roses and ribbon-tied garlands to parents and godparents, on decorated paper which they saved money to buy.
Belgian farmers also wish their animals a happy New Year for blessings.
Czech RepublicFor the Czechs, Silvestr is without doubt the noisiest day of the year. People generally equip themselves with fireworks and champagne for the midnight toast and gather with friends to eat, drink and celebrate at parties, in pubs, clubs, in the streets or city squares. In larger cities and especially in Prague, the first detonations of pyrotechics can be heard in full daylight, even before noon, the frequency steadily rising until midnight. In the first minutes after midnight, people toast, wish each other a happy new year and go outside to light their fireworks or watch others'.
All major TV stations air entertaining shows before and after the midnight countdown which is followed by the national anthem. The president gives his New Year's speech in the morning.
DenmarkDanish people go to parties or entertain guests at home. The evening meal is more exclusive than usual, with desserts including the marzipan ring cake Kransekage along with champagne, and mains traditionally include boiled cod, or stewed kale and cured saddle of pork. However, in recent years expensive cuts of beef as well as sushi have become increasingly popular.
Two significant traditional events are broadcast on television and radio on December 31: the monarch's New Year message from Amalienborg Palace at 6pm and the Town Hall Clock in Copenhagen striking midnight. Thousands of people gather together in Rådhuspladsen and cheer. The climax is when New Year is celebrated with fireworks as the sound of the Town Hall Tower Bells chime over Copenhagen on the strike of midnight. It is an excellent opportunity to see the parade of the Royal Guard in red gala uniforms.
United Kingdom (except Scotland)London focusing on the clock housed in the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster, recognised worldwide as "Big Ben". The celebrations are televised from London by the BBC in the English regions, Wales and Northern Ireland. Parties are held up and down the country, in pubs, clubs and private houses. At the stroke of midnight people gather in a ring with hands joined as they sing Auld Lang Syne.
On New Year's Eve 2010, an estimated 250,000 people gathered to view an eight-minute fireworks display around and above the London Eye which, on that occasion, was set for the first time to a musical soundtrack, including some of the greatest songs by British artists such as Blur, The Beatles and Queen.The celebrations in London continued into January 1, with the New Year's Day Parade, which has been held annually since 1987 and in 2011 marked its 25th year, involving more than 10,000 musicians, cheerleaders and performers.
Other major New Year events are held in the cities of Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle.
Bideford in north Devon is also renowned for its New Year's Eve celebrations, featuring a carnival and fancy dress. The celebration centers on Bideford's quayside and around its Old Bridge, with a lone piper playing Auld Lang Syne at midnight, followed by a fireworks display.
EstoniaFor New Year in Estonia, people decorate villages, visit friends and prepare lavish meals.
Some believe that people should eat seven, nine or even 12 times on New Year's Eve, those being three lucky numbers in Estonia, and for each meal consumed the person gains the strength of that many men the following year. Meals should not be eaten entirely; some should be left for ancestors and spirits who visit the house on New Year's Eve.
Traditional New Year food includes pork with sauerkraut or Estonian sauerkraut (mulgikapsad), baked potatoes and Swedes with hog's head, white and blood sausage. Potato salad with navy beet and pate form the delectable vegetarian item. Gingerbread and marzipan are very popular for the dessert. Traditional New Year drinks includes beer or mead, but mulled wine and champagne have become modern favourites.
FinlandIn Finland, New Year's Eve is usually celebrated with family or friends. Late supper is served, often featuring wieners, Janssonin kiusaus, and potato salad.
A peculiar tradition is telling the fortunes of the new year by melting "tin" (actually lead) in a minuscule pan on the stove and throwing it quickly in a bucket of cold water. The resulting blob of metal is analyzed, for example by interpreting shadows it cast from a candlelight. These predictions are however never taken seriously.
Some municipalities organize fireworks at midnight. Consumer fireworks are also very popular.
The Finnish Broadcasting Company broadcasts the reception of the New Year at Helsinki Senate Square. In the afternoon programme, German short comedy Dinner for One is shown every year. In the radio, just before midnight, the poem Hymyilevä Apollo (Smiling Apollo) by Eino Leino is read
FranceNorthern Catalonia). This feast customarily includes special dishes like foie gras, seafood such as oysters and drinks like champagne. The celebration can be a simple, intimate dinner with friends and family or a much fancier ball (une soirée dansante).
On le Jour de l'An (New Year's Day), friends and family exchange New Year's resolutions kisses and wishes, the main ones being "Bonne Année", Bonheur, Sante, Amour, Argent ("Good Year", Happiness, Health, Love and Money). Some people eat desserts made of ice cream.
The holiday period ends on January 6 (The Twelfth Night) for the Epiphany, or Jour des Rois. On this day, they celebrate the Wise Men, eating a traditional type of flat pastry cake, la galette des rois, most often two sheets of puff pastry, filled with frangipane (almond paste). The cake contains a fève, a small china character; whoever finds it "becomes" king or queen and gets to wear a gold paper crown and choose his or her partner. This tradition can last up to two weeks.
GermanyGermans call New Year's Eve Silvester because 31 December is the feast day of St. Sylvester. Since 1972, each New Year's Eve, several German television stations broadcast a short comedy play in English (recorded by West German television in 1963) entitled Dinner for One. A line from the comedy sketch, "the same procedure as every year", has become a catch phrase in Germany. Every year Berlin hosts one of the largest New Year's Eve celebrations in all of Europe which is attended by over a million people. The focal point is the Brandenburg Gate and the fireworks at midnight are centered on that location. Germans have a reputation for spending large amounts of money on firecrackers and fireworks, and so fireworks are to be seen all over the country on this night. When the clock strikes midnight on Silvester, Germans toast the New Year with a glass of Sekt (German sparkling wine) or champagne. 'Bleigießen' is another German New Year's Eve custom, which involves telling fortunes by the shapes made by molten lead dropped into cold water. Other luck bringing things are touching a chimney sweeper or have him rub some ash onto your forehead for good luck and health. Traditionally jelly filled doughnuts with and without liquor fillings are eaten. Finally a tiny marzipan pig is consumed for more good luck.
HungaryBoldog új évet is "Happy New Year" in Hungarian. New Year's Eve is called Silvester (Szilveszter) in Hungary. It is celebrated nationwide with home parties and street parties, including a gathering in downtown Budapest. Fireworks and firecrackers are popular. Champagne, wine and traditional Hungarian New Year dishes -- mostly frankfurter sausages with horseradish, lentil soup and roast pig -- are consumed In past centuries, some Hungarians believed that animals were able to speak on New Year's Eve, and that onion skins sprinkled with salt could indicate a rainy month. Hungarian Christian communities focus on celebrating a Mass on both New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
IcelandIcelandic. Fireworks are very popular in Iceland, particularly at New Year. Bonfires are also very common, often accompanied by shows, musical events and foodtables.
Iceland's biggest New Year events are usually in and around the capital, Reykjavík. On the evening of December 31, the mass at Reykjavik's cathedral is listened to on the radio by most Icelanders. This is followed by dinner. Nightclubs in the city are very crowded and tend to stay open until at least 5am.
Áramótaskaupið ("The New Year's comedy" in English) is an annual Icelandic television comedy special, and is an important part of the New Year for most. It focuses upon the recent year from a satirical standpoint, and shows little mercy towards its victims, especially politicians, artists, prominent businesspeople and activists. Neighbours then meet at their nearest large bonfire, while watching the midnight fireworks.
IrelandThe Irish call New Year's Eve by its English language name or in Irish by Oíche Chinn Bliana, Oíche na Coda Móire or Oíche Chaille. Celebrations in major cities are modest, with most people favouring small parties in the home for family and friends. Pubs and clubs across the country hold events on New Year's Eve, particularly in larger cities such as Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Derry.
ItalyItalians call New Year's Eve Vigilia di Capodanno or Notte di San Silvestro (the night of St. Silvestro). Traditionally there are a set of rituals for the new year, such as wearing red underwear and getting rid of old or unused items by dropping them from the window.
Dinner is traditionally eaten with parents and friends. It often includes zampone or cotechino (a meal made with pork's trotter or other part of the entrails) and lentils. At 8:30 pm, the President reads a television message of greetings to Italians.
At midnight, fireworks are displayed across Italy. A lentil stew is eaten when bell tolls midnight - one spoon per bell. This is supposed to bring good fortune; the lentils represent coins, being round in shape.
MacedoniaMacedonian New Year's Eve celebrations are celebrated in all families across Macedonia. New Year's Day is usually the day where the children are getting gifts and the celebration is accompanied by fireworks all day long. The day is celebrated together with family or friends in house or usually in restaurants, clubs, cafe's and hotels with evening celebration encompassing good food, music, and dancing to both traditional Macedonian folk music but also modern music. New Year's Eve is celebrated on December 31 as well as on January 14 according to the Macedonian Orthodox Calendar.
MaltaMalta organized its first street party in 2009 in Floriana, Malta, parallel to what other major countries in the world organize. The event was not highly advertised and controversial, due to the closing of an arterial street on the day. In 2010 then organised the first national celebrations in St. George's Square, Valletta In spite of fireworks being very popular in Malta, where they are mostly constructed by amateur volunteers, their shooting is almost totally absent from Malta on New Year's Eve.
MontenegroMontenegrin New Year's Eve celebrations are held in all large cities, usually accompanied by fireworks. It is usually celebrated together with family or friends at home or outside. Restaurants, clubs, cafes and hotels organize celebrations with food and music.
NetherlandsNew Year's Eve is called Oud en Nieuw ("Old and New") or simply Oudejaarsavond ("old year's evening") in the Netherlands, and is usually celebrated as a cosy evening with family or friends. Traditional snack foods are oliebollen (oil dumplings) and appelflappen (apple turnovers) or appelbeignets (apple slice fritters).On television, the main feature is the oudejaarsconference, a performance by one of the major Dutch cabaretiers (comparable to stand-up comedy, but more serious; generally including a satirical review of the year's politics). In Reformed Protestant families, Psalm 90 is read, although this tradition is now fading away At midnight, Glühwein (bishops wine) or Champagne is drunk. Many people fire off their own fireworks, which are on sale from a few days before. Towns do not organise a central fireworks display, except for Rotterdam where the national fireworks display can be seen near the Erasmus Bridge. Public transport shuts down completely (the only scheduled time during the year) between approximately 8pm and 1am.
On television a clock is broadcast several minutes before midnight.
PolandThe celebrations of New Year's Eve in Poland are full of much vibrance. Traditionally, Christian Poles have devoted each day on the calendar to a particular saint for adoration and devotion to that saint. December 31 is named after St. Sylvester, and thus the day is commonly referred to as Sylwester. Celebrations partake both indoor and out, with the most notable open-air concert being held in the Main Square in Krakow. Here 150,000 to 200,000 revelers celebrate the New Year with live music and a fireworks display over St. Mary's Basilica. Similar festivities are held in other cities around Poland including Wrocław.
For those who do not wish to spend the New Year in the city, the mountains are a popular destination. Zakopane, located in the Carpathian Mountains, is the most popular Polish mountain resort in winter.
RomaniaThe celebration of the New Year's Eve in Romania has a totally traditional flavor. Romanians welcome the New Year with the customs, rituals and conventions that have been around for centuries. The children as well as the adults, take part in the joyous celebrations with great enthusiasm. On New Year's Eve in Romania, small school going children sing Plugusorul and Sorcova. The songs wish good luck, happiness and success. Since 1989 when the revollution occured the romanians gather in the University Square and have a lot of partyes from more than 15 years the partyes ware called ,,, Rebeliune (Revelion = New Years Eve)
RussiaRussia derives from the Christian holiday of Christmas. Christmas was also a major holiday in Russia up until it was banned along other religious holidays by the Communist Party. To compensate for the absence of Christmas, New Year's was now celebrated similarly to Christmas, just without the religious aspect of the holiday. Even after the fall of the Soviet Union, New Year's is celebrated in Russia and has became a Russian tradition.
The celebration usually starts one or two hours before midnight and the common tradition is to "say farewell to the old year" by remembering most important events of the last twelve months. At five minutes to twelve most of the people watch the president's speech on TV or watch popular New Year TV shows ("Goluboy Ogonek"). There is a tradition to listen to the Kremlin clock bell (Kuranty) ringing twelve times on the radio or on TV. During these last 12 seconds of the year people keep silence and make their secret wishes for the next year. After that they drink champagne and have rich dinner, watching TV concerts and having fun. Some people like starting fireworks outside and visiting their friends and neighbors. As December 30 and 31 are working days, a lot of people also have small parties at work, though December 31 is mostly spent at home or with friends. There is an old superstition that if the first visitor (especially an unexpected one) on January 1 is a man, the year will be good. People also try to start the new year without debts.
ScotlandScotland celebrates New Year as Hogmanay, and with several different customs, such as First-Footing, which involves friends or family members going to each others houses with a gift of whisky and sometimes a lump of coal.
Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, hosts one of the world's most famous New Year celebrations with the focus being a major street party along Princes Street. The cannon is fired at Edinburgh Castle at the stroke of midnight and is followed by a large fireworks display. Edinburgh hosts a festival of four or five days, beginning on 28 December, and lasting until New Year's Day or January 2, which is also a bank holiday in Scotland. Other cities across Scotland, such as Aberdeen, Glasgow and Stirling have large organised celebrations too, including fireworks at midnight.
BBC Scotland broadcast the celebrations in Edinburgh to a Scottish audience, with the celebrations also screened across the world. STV covers both worldwide New Year celebrations, and details of events happening around Scotland.
SerbiaNew Year in Serbia is traditionally celebrated extensively. Indoors, families celebrate New Year's Eve with an abundance of food. Decorated "Christmas"-trees are predominantly related to New Year, hence called "novogodišnja jelka" (new years tree). Around or after midnight, Deda Mraz (Santa Claus) visits houses and leaves presents under the tree, to be unpacked then or, if the family is asleep, only to be discovered in the morning.
Restaurants, clubs, cafes and hotels are usually fully booked and organize New Year's celebrations with food and live music.
However, Serbian New Year's celebrations are most known for the outdoors festivities in Belgrade, and several other major cities such as Novi Sad and Niš. As of mid-December, cities are extensively decorated and lit. The decorations remain until way into January due to the persistent influence of the old, Julian calendar. Throughout the region, especially amongst former Yugoslav republics, Belgrade is known as the place to be for major parties, concerts and happenings. It has become common for large groups of Slovenes to visit their former capital and celebrate the beginning of a new year. Especially since the mid-nineties, street celebrations grew into mass gatherings with hundreds of thousands of people, celebrating New Year on one of several locations throughout Belgrade. During former President Milošević's mandate, the gatherings had a strong political connotation as well. As of 2000, every year the City of Belgrade organizes several concerts with major national and international performers on Belgrade's major squares; the Republic Square, Terazije Square and in front of the Serbian (formerly Federal) Parliament building. The concerts commence early in the evening and last well into the morning. Usually, there are separate celebrations and concerts organized for small children (Slavija Square) and for elderly (Kalemegdan park). Midnight is marked by major fireworks fired from suitable buildings within the city.
On January 1, the central Svetogorska street is closed for traffic and used to hold the "street of open heart" festival; food and warm drinks are served and open air theater plays are performed, while families with children as well as politicians (often including the President) walk down the street. The evening of the first of January is reserved for the so-called "repriza", a repetition of the previous night; people often go to the club, friends or square where they were last night to celebrate once more. Slightly down-scaled festivities are organized.
On January 13, a large part of the population celebrates "Serbian New Year", according to the Julian calendar. This time, usually one concert is organized in front of either City Hall or the National Parliament (in Belgrade), while fireworks are prepared by the Serbian Orthodox Church and fired from the Cathedral of Saint Sava, where people also gather. Other cities also organize such celebrations.
Spainshrimp or prawns and lamb or capon. Spanish tradition says that wearing new, red underwear on New Year's Eve brings good luck. The actual countdown is primarily followed from the clock on top of the Casa de Correos building in Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid. It is traditional to eat twelve grapes, one on each chime of the clock. This tradition has its origins in 1909, when grape growers in Alicante thought of it as a way to cut down on the large production surplus they had had that year. Nowadays, the tradition is followed by almost every Spaniard, and the twelve grapes have become synonymous with the New Year. After the clock has finished striking twelve, people greet each other and toast with sparkling wine such as cava or champagne, or alternatively with cider.
After the family dinner and the grapes, many young people attend New Year parties at pubs, discothèques and similar places (these parties are called cotillones de nochevieja, after the Spanish word cotillón, which refers to party supplies like confetti, party blowers, party hats, etc.). Parties usually last until the next morning and range from small, personal celebrations at local bars to huge parties with guests numbering the thousands at hotel convention rooms. Early next morning, party attendees usually gather to have the traditional winter breakfast of chocolate con churros, hot chocolate and fried pastry.
SwitzerlandIn Switzerland, New Year's Eve is typically celebrated at a residence with friends (Christmas usually having been celebrated with family). There are no particular main dishes associated with the event, although sweets and desserts are usual. Each commune has its own government-arranged countdown in a public space, accompanied with formal fireworks shows in smaller cities.
SwedenSweden, New Year's Eve is usually celebrated with families or with friends. A few hours before and after midnight, people usually party and eat a special dinner, often three courses. New Year's Eve is celebrated with large fireworks displays throughout the country, especially in the cities. People over the age of 18 are allowed to buy fireworks, which are sold by local stores or by private persons. While watching or lighting up fireworks at midnight, people usually drink champagne.
UkraineIn the former Soviet Union, New Year has the same cultural significance as Christmas has in the United States, but without the religious connotations. Ukrainian and other families from former Soviet Union traditionally install spruce trees at home, the equivalent of a Christmas tree. In Ukraine, there is the Mykolai, who looks similar to Santa Claus, except he wears robes. Families gather to eat a large feast and reflect on the past year. They have a large celebration, make toasts, and make wishes for a happy New Year. Families give presents to their friends as well as informal acquaintances. This is due to Ukrainians being a closely knit community, and it is seen as a taboo to not give presents to those the family associates with. Children stay up until midnight, waiting for the New Year. Also, during these celebrations many Ukrainians tune to special New Year shows, which have become a long-standing tradition for the Ukrainian TV.
New Year is often considered a "pre-celebration" for the Greek Catholics and Eastern Orthodox living in Eastern Europe, primarily in Ukraine, since Christmas is celebrated on January 7.
TurkeyNumerous decorations and customs traditionally associated with Christmas and Bayrams find a secular translation in Turkish New Year's Eve celebrations, where homes and streets are lit up in glittering lights as well as various traditional Turkish aesthetic practices. Small gifts are exchanged, and large family dinners are organized with family and friends, featuring a special Zante currant-pimento-dill iç pilav dish, dolma, hot börek, baklava and various other eggplant dishes, topped with warm pide, salep and boza.
Television and radio channels are known to continuously broadcast a variety of special New Year's Eve programs, while municipalities all around the country organize fundraising events for the poor, in addition to celebratory public shows such as concerts and family-friendly events, as well as more traditional forms of entertainment such as the Karagöz and Hacivat shadow-theater and even performances by the Mehter - the Janissary Band that was founded during the days of the Ottoman Empire.
Public and private parties with large public attendances are organised in a number of cities and towns, particularly in the largest metropolitan areas such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana and Antalya, with the biggest celebrations taking place in Istanbul's Taksim, Beyoğlu, Nişantaşı and Kadıköy districts and Ankara's Kızılay Square, which generally feature dancing, concerts, laser and lightshows as well as the traditional countdown and fireworks display.
WalesWelsh celebrations on New Year's Eve are known as Calennig. The tradition of giving gifts and money on New Year's Day is an ancient custom that survives even in modern-day Wales, though nowadays it is now customary to give bread and cheese.
Thousands of people descend every year on Cardiff to enjoy live music, catering, ice-skating, funfairs and fireworks. Many of the celebrations take place at Cardiff Castle and Cardiff City Hall.
Nos Galan road raceEvery New Years Eve there is a 5-kilometre (3.1 mi) running race called the Nos Galan road race (Welsh: Rasys Nos Galan) in Mountain Ash in the Cynon Valley, Rhondda Cynon Taf, South Wales.
The race celebrates the life and achievements of Welsh runner Guto Nyth Brân. Founded in 1958 by local runner Bernard Baldwin, it is run over the 5 kilometre route of Guto's first competitive race. The main race starts with a church service at Llanwynno, and then a wreath is laid on Guto's grave in Llanwynno graveyard. After lighting a torch, it is carried to the nearby town of Mountain Ash, where the main race takes place.
The race consists of a double circuit of the town centre, starting in Henry Street and ending in Oxford Street, by the commemorative statue of Guto. Traditionally, the race was timed to end at midnight, but in recent times it was rescheduled for the convenience of family entertainment, now concluding at around 9pm. This has resulted in a regrowth in size and scale, and the proceedings now start with an afternoon of street entertainment, and fun run races for children, concluding with the church service, elite runners' race and presentations.
Central and South America
ArgentinaIn Argentina, traditionally the entire family gathers together from around 9pm to partake in a dinner of traditional dishes, including vitel tonné, asado, turron and pan dulce. Just before midnight, people flock to the streets to enjoy fireworks and light crackers. The first day of the New Year is celebrated at midnight with cider or champagne, wishing each other a happy New Year, and sometimes sharing a toast with neighbours. Parties often continue until dawn. Swimming is perhaps an unusual activity that Argentines partake in on New Year, at rivers and lakes or public pools.
BrazilBrazilian Portuguese by the French word Réveillon, is one of Brazil's main holidays, and officially marks the beginning of the summer holidays, that usually end by Carnival (analogous to Memorial Day and Labor Day in the United States).
Brazilians traditionally have a copious meal with family or friends at home, in restaurants or private clubs, and consume alcoholic beverages (traditionally champagne) . Those spending the new year's eve at the beach usually dress in white, to bring good luck into the new year. Fireworks and eating grapes or lentils are some of the customs associated with the holiday.
The beach at Copacabana (in Portuguese: Praia de Copacabana) in Rio de Janeiro has a large fireworks display.
The city of São Paulo also holds a famous event: the Saint Silvester Marathon (Corrida de São Silvestre), which traverses streets between Paulista Avenue and the downtown area.
In other regions, different events also take place. At Fortaleza, Ceará, there is a big party with fireworks and live music shows by the Praia de Iracema area, which attracts more than one million people in recent years.
ChileChile's capital Santiago, thousands of people gather at the Entel Tower hours before to watch the countdown to midnight and a fireworks display.
There are several fireworks shows, most notably the "Año Nuevo en el Mar" in Valparaiso, Chile's second city, which is generally the most popular, with 1,000,000 viewers. However, from the year 2000, the sale of fireworks to individuals has been illegal, meaning fireworks can now only be observed at major displays.
Many people also travel to Easter Island, off Chile's coast, to welcome the New Year.
Costa RicaIn Costa Rica, families usually gather around 9 pm to party until 1 or 2 am of the next day. There are several traditions among Costa Rican families, including eating 12 grapes representing 12 wishes for the new year and running across the street with luggage asking for new trips and adventures in the upcoming year.
El SalvadorIn El Salvador, the day is a day to be spent with families, dinner is made and families have parties starting from around 5pm until 1 to 3am of the following day. During the dinner, music is played with traditional new year's eve songs, a famous one Cinco para las Doce repeats what it means many times, its 5 until twelve. Children play with fireworks, that are safe such as Estrellitas and Volcanzitos. Teen and Young adults use heavier fireworks many of them have been banned due to many people getting burned by the great quantities of gunpowder. A radio station that has the updated UTC-6 Time where El Salvador is broadcasts a countdown right before twelve and when the clock strikes 12:00 all across every city in the country fireworks are lit up illuminating the night skies of the Capital and every corner of the country. After this event around 12:05 people start exchanging hugs, and wishes for the new year. El Salvador is known to be the most colorful nation of Central America, and New Year's Eve is not the exception.
EcuadorDuring New Year's Eve, some men in Ecuador dress as women representing the "widow" of the year that has passed. They go around collecting money for buying dummies or any other custom. As well as traditional family events and meals, modern celebrations such as hosting parties and going to nightclubs are a prominent feature of New Year's Eve across Ecuador, but the main event takes place at midnight where fireworks are lit and thousands of dummies are burned in the streets representing the year that just finished.
GuatemalaIn the town of Antigua Guatemala, people usually get together at the Santa Catalina Clock Arch to celebrate Fin del Año (New Year's Eve). In Guatemala City the celebrations are centered around Plaza Mayor. Banks close on New Year’s Eve, and businesses close at noon. Starting at sundown, firecrackers are lit, continuing without interruption into the night.
Guatemalans wear new clothes for good fortune and eat a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the New Year countdown, while making a wish with each one.
The celebrations include religious themes which may be either Mayan or Catholic. Catholic celebrations are similar to those at Christmas. Gifts are left under the tree on Christmas morning by the Christ Child for the children. Parents and adults do not exchange gifts until New Year's Day.
SurinamePagara (red-firecracker-ribbons) New Year's Eve in Suriname is called Oud jaar which means old year. It is during this period that the Surinamese population goes into cities' commercial districts to watch demonstrational fireworks. This is however, a spectacle based on the famous red-firecracker-ribbons. The bigger stores invest in these firecrackers and display them out in the streets. Every year the length of them is compared, and high praises are held for the company that has managed to import the largest ribbon. These celebrations start at 10 in the morning and finish the next day. The day is usually filled with laughter, dance, music, and drinking. When the night starts, the big street parties are already at full capacity. The most popular fiesta is the one that is held at café 't Vat in the main tourist district. The parties there stop between 10 and 11 pm. After which the people go home to light their pagaras (red-firecracker-ribbons) at midnight. After midnight, the parties continue and the streets fill again until daybreak.
VenezuelaIn Venezuela, many of the traditions are very similar to the ones from Spain, with an over-emphasis in traditions that supposedly will bring good luck in the year forthcoming. Those who want to find love in the New Year are supposed to wear red underwear on New Year's Eve; those who want money must have a bill of high value when toast, those who want to travel must go out home while carrying some luggage, and so on. Yellow underwear is worn to bring happiness in the New Year.
Usually, people listen to radio specials, which give a countdown and announce the New Year according to the legal hour in Venezuela, and, in Caracas', following the twelve bells from the Cathedral of Caracas. During these special programs is a tradition to broadcast songs about the sadness on the end of the year, being popular favorites "Viejo año" ("Old year") by Gaita group Maracaibo 15 and "Cinco pa' las 12" ("Five minutes before twelve") who was versioned by several popular singers like Nestor Zavarce, Nancy Ramos and José Luis Rodríguez El Puma, and the unofficial hymn for the first minutes of the New Year is "Año Nuevo, Vida Nueva" ("New Year, New Life"), by the band Billo's Caracas Boys.
AustraliaAustralia holds New Year's Eve celebrations, usually accompanied by a fireworks display amongst other events. Gloucester Park, a racecourse in central Perth, is the largest and most recognised display in the Western Australian city. In Brisbane, 50,000 people annually gather at sites around the Brisbane River in the city to watch a fireworks display while events are held in the city and at Southbank. The two largest celebrations in Australia are held in its two largest cities; Sydney and Melbourne.
Each year, the celebrations in Sydney are accompanied by a theme with two pyrotechnic shows; the 9pm Family Fireworks and the Midnight Fireworks. Centring on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the fireworks are synchronized to a blend of popular music with a lighting display called the "Bridge Effect", shown on the bridge itself displaying various symbols and other images related to the current year's theme. The Midnight Fireworks are regularly watched by more than one million people at Sydney Harbour and are often regarded as the best in the world. As one of the first major New Year's celebrations each year (due to time zones), Sydney's Midnight Fireworks are often broadcast throughout the world during the day of 31 December and are regularly watched by one billion people.
KiribatiKiritimati (UTC+14), part of Kiribati, is the first location in the world to welcome the New Year.
New ZealandGisborne is 496.3 kilometres (308.4 mi) west of the International Date Line and thus is the first major city to see the beginning of the new year. In New Zealand, cities celebrate this with large street parties and fireworks displays. Elsewhere in New Zealand, local councils usually organise parties and street carnivals and fireworks displays. In recent years however, liquor bans have been imposed on many of the more popular areas due to disorder, vandalism and other anti-social behaviour. During the day of New Year's Eve, in recent years, the Black Caps have played a One Day International cricket game in Queenstown. The tallest freestanding structure tower in the Southern Hemisphere, the Sky Tower, celebrates the new year by lighting up Auckland's sky with fireworks from the top of the tower.
GhanaIn Ghana people celebrate New Year's Eve by going to Church, others prefer to go to the nightclubs, pubs or take to the street to celebrate. And when the clock strikes midnight, fireworks are displayed across various cities of Ghana especially in Accra and Tema. Ghanaians call New Year's Eve by its English language name. The Akan people call Happy New Year, Afenhyia Pa.
In Casablanca, New Year's Eve is celebrated in the company of family and friends. People get together to eat cake, dance, laugh. Traditionally, people celebrate it at home, but some of them prefer to go to nightclubs.
At midnight, fireworks are displayed across Ain Diab, in the corniche of Casablanca.
ChinaIn China, although the celebrations of the Lunar New Year are not until a few weeks into the new year, celebrations of the Gregorian New Year are still held in some areas. Celebrations with fireworks and rock concerts have taken place in Beijing's Solana Blue Harbor Shopping Park.
Hong KongHong Kong, the people usually get together in Central, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui to celebrate and to look at the night lights along the harbor. The Times Square shopping mall also holds their own send-off to the ball drop held at Times Square in New York City. The celebration had been extended to other districts such as Tsuen Wan, Sha Tin, Mong Kok and Kwun Tong by district-wide celebration activities.
From 2008, for the last 60 seconds before entering the next year (23:59:00), a 60-second numerical countdown by LED lights with pyrotechnic display effects on the facade of Two International Finance Centre was launched, followed by a firework display of A Symphony of Lights.
Central AsiaIn FSU Central Asia, it is celebrated the same way as in Russia, as inheritance of the Soviet Tradition.
IndiaIn India, most celebrations take place in the major metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Guwahati and since 2009-10, in Chandigarh. In Hyderabad, fireworks, street racings and brawls are very common. Goa is one of the most visited spot during new year celebration both by Indian and foreign tourists. Events such as live concerts and dances by Bollywood stars are organised and attended mostly by youngsters. Large crowds also gather at popular spots along the coastline such as the Gateway of India, Girgaum Chowpatty, Bandra Bandstand, Juhu Beach etc. More often people like to celebrate new year eve with family. Hotels and resorts are all decked up in anticipation of the tourist influx and feverish competition ensures to entice the vacationers with exciting New Year offers. As old tradition at many places across the country several special Yagya and Puja are organized for the wish of fruitful year by Hindu people.
IndonesiaNew Year's Eve is celebrated with some revelry in urban areas. Hotels, discos and major restaurants offer special meals, entertainment and dancing. People celebrate with their families, siblings, and/or friends. Trumpets and fireworks are the most important elements of New Year's Eve for Indonesians. However, the New Year is generally not as big a celebration as Eid ul-Fitr in Indonesia.
The local government of Jakarta often holds a music show, New Year countdown and fireworks party in New Year's Eve celebration. The events are often held at the Monumen Nasional, waterfront resort of Ancol Dreamland, and the recreational area Taman Mini Indonesia Indah.
Bali is another popular destination for New Year's Eve, with many locals and toursits gathering at the beach at Kuta.
JapanThe day is a preparation day to welcome toshigami (年神), new year's god. Therefore, traditionally, people clean their home and prepare Kadomatsu and/or Shimenawa to welcome the god before New Year's Eve.
Buddhist temples ring their bells 108 times at midnight. This tradition is called joya no kane (除夜の鐘) which means "bell rings on new year eve's night." The rings represent 108 elements of bonō (煩悩), defilements, or Kilesa in Sanskrit, which is said people have in their mind. The bells are rung to repent 108 of the bonnō.
A popular TV show on New Year's Eve in Japan is Red and White Year-end Song Festival. Kōhaku Uta Gassen is a 60-year-old tradition involving a singing contest between male and female teams of celebrity singers.
LebanonIn Lebanon, people celebrate New Year's Eve by the use of fireworks, and by organizing tabouli, hummus and kibbi and other Lebanese foods for family and friend gatherings. These celebrations could also take place at some diners and clubs. Game shows are also organised where people can try their luck to win some money. The synchronised final countdown is broadcast through the leading TV channel and the celebrations usually continue until sunrise.
MalaysiaA government-held New Year countdown known as 'Ambang Tahun Baru' will be held at Merdeka Square, the field opposite the Sultan Abdul Samad Building in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. The event will be broadcast live on government as well as private TV stations.
Besides the governmental event in Merdeka Square, private organizations too hold their own New Year countdown parties at major shopping malls and landmarks, most notably the fireworks display at the Petronas Towers.
PhilippinesAlso known as "Last Day of the Year", the Philippines is one of the few countries having New Year's Eve as a special non-working holiday. Filipinos usually celebrate New Year's Eve with the company of family and close friends. Traditionally, most households stage a dinner party named Media Noche in their homes. Typical dishes include pancit, hamon, lechon (roasted pig), which is usually considered as the centerpiece of the dinner table. Barbecued food is also an integral part of the menu.
Most Filipinos follow a set of traditions that are typically observed during New Year's Eve. Included among these traditions is the customary habit of wearing clothes with circular patterns like polka dots, this signifies the belief that circles attract money and fortune or other colorful clothing to show enthusiasm for the coming year. Throwing coins at the stroke of midnight is said to increase wealth that year. Traditions also include the serving of circularly shaped fruits, shaking of coins inside a metal casserole while walking around the house, and jumping up high which is believed to cause an increase in physical height. People also make loud noises by blowing on cardboard or plastic horns, called "torotot", banging on pots and pans or by igniting firecrackers and fireworks at the stroke of midnight, in the belief that it scares away malevolent spirits and forces.
Urban areas are usually hosts to many New Year's Eve parties and countdown celebrations which are usually hosted by the private sector with the help of the local government. These parties usually display their own fireworks spectacles and are often very well attended. The main celebration is focused on Manila Bay at Roxas Boulevard in Manila.
PakistanNew Year's Eve is usually celebrated in Pakistan with joy. In Karachi, a mega metropolis city, people visit the beaches at night and use low intensity fire works to enjoy the new year; as Pakistan is an Islamic country they also celebrate New Year's Eve on the every first of Muharram (first Islamic month). It is celebrated as a religious occasion with Muslims offering special prayers on this day.
SingaporeIn Singapore, the biggest celebration and also the main focal point of all New Year's Eve celebrations in Singapore takes place at the Marina Bay area. It would be attended by some 250,000 or more people spanning around the bay area starting from the Marina Bay floating Stadium to the Esplanade promenade, the Esplanade Bridge, Benjamin Sheares Bridge, Merlion Park, and the Padang at City Hall facing the Marina Bay direction.
Other places where people has also soak in the celebration atmosphere in Marina Bay includes from nearby hotels such as The Fullerton Hotel, Marina Madarin, The Ritz-Carlton Millenia, Marina Bay Sands, offices located at Raffles Place, Marina Bay Financial Centre, Residential Apartments at The Sail @ Marina Bay, and from atop the world's tallest ferris wheel - The Singapore Flyer. All of whom are facing the Marina Bay direction and overlooking the waterfront also.
Out on the watersfronts of Marina Bay, 20,000 inflatable 'wishing spheres' - carrying 500,000 wishes penned down by Singaporeans would formed a visual arts display filled with brilliant colors beamed from the spotlights erected along the Esplanade promenade open area.
The audiences would also be entertained by a host of variety shows and concerts staged at the Marina Bay floating platform stage featuring local and overseas artists viewable by all at the bay and telecast live on the republic's local TV channel.
At ten seconds to the stroke of midnight, the concert emcees would be initiating the final countdown together with the audiences and when time runs out, spectacular and glittering fireworks would be fired off from the waters at Marina Bay and lighting up the whole bay against the backdrop of the Singapore skyline.