New Year’s Around the World

Johann Medina, Contributor

It’s that time of year again, the end of the old year! New Year’s is kind of a big thing for people all over the world. It’s the start of an entirely new year (even though the date is just an artificial mark for when we celebrate it). It is the chance to celebrate anew for many people, and therefore has varied wildly around the world.

Familiar Festivities

Everybody knows the parties and gatherings are one of the most common celebrations to do on New Year’s, you might have been to one! Although the fireworks could be irritating when trying to sleep.

The Times Square Ball Drop in New York City has been a thing for quite some time with the first drop beginning in 1907! It is one of the most famous celebrations in the country.
Popular theme parks like Walt Disney World have huge numbers of visitors during the holiday season.

Mexico has a tradition where you eat twelve grapes for twelve rings of a clock during the countdown to midnight. Another old tradition islisting all unfortunate and bad events in the past year on paper, then throwing it in a fire to symbolize removing bad energy from the upcoming year.

Celebration in Europe

Many countries in and outside of Europe have classic traditions like having a toast, and firing a big load of fireworks, though some traditions are a bit interesting.

Portugal for example has a tradition of drinking champagne, then eating twelve raisins and making a wish each month of the year.
Spain has a similar tradition where they eat grapes instead of raisins.

Some typical celebrations. In London, England, you might have seen photos or footage of the London Eye (the Ferris wheel) being lit up with lights and fireworks over the Big Ben.

Many countries normally celebrate with a feast like France and Norway. While others celebrate with big or family parties, like Czechia and Denmark.

In Germany, there’s a tiny chance you’ve heard people go to different houses to eat Speckendicken, which is a bit like pancakes. There’s also a strange tradition where one rub’s ash on their forehead for good luck.

Traditions in the Far East

In the Old World some nations celebrate New Year’s differently, you may have heard of Chinese New Year before which usually takes place between January or February as they have a traditionally different calendar.
You may have heard of the Chinese Zodiac which is related to Chinese New year, on February 1st, 2022, it will be the Year of the Tiger!

Countries have taken inspiration from the Western World, Hong Kong has a 60-second countdown to midnight just like the United States! One of South Korea’s traditions is the ringing of the Bosingak bell 33 times.
Come to think of it, many countries ring bells as their traditions.

The Philippines has celebrations with family and friends like other countries. Some dishes are “pancit” for long life, and “Lechon” which is a roasted pig.

Early New Year?

Since the International Date Line (the imaginary border that splits yesterday from today) runs straight through the Pacific Ocean, Pacific Island nations like Samoa and Kiribati which sit right to the left of the date line are the first to experience the New Year’s! While places like Hawaii and French Polynesia which are to the right of the date line, are one of the last to be in the Old Year.

While these celebrations are surely unique and diverse, I believe people should celebrate however they like, do whatever makes them happy. Happy holidays, and get ready for the upcoming New Year’s!