New Year’s Eve is a popular time for people to pack a bag and go somewhere else, wishing to ring the new year in doing something out of the ordinary. Some chase for the excitement and new traditions, and others opt to escape the hustle and bustle of the festive season.
But when you think of celebrating new year, you think of New York and Sydney if you’re wanting to go overseas, and London or Scotland if you’re staying in the UK. But, these aren’t the only places to consider going for a special New Year’s Eve.
Opting for something different, doesn’t mean relinquishing beloved fireworks as much of this list attests to. But, it can mean escaping overly-busy crowds at famous places to ring in the next year, discovering new cultures, and learning, as well as partaking, in new traditions.
Italians love the three F’s we all need as part of our celebrations: fireworks, food and family/friends. Over the entirety of Italy you will find many festivals, where lentils will be served as they symbolise money and even cotechino which is a large spiced sausage as this symbolises the richness of life.
Also, don't forget to wear red underwear to ring in the New Year, as Italian folklore claims this will bring luck in the following year.
Over the country of Italy there are some key differences in how they celebrate, for example:
Over in Bologna they have a traditional burning of the “Vecchione” as well as a Fiera Del Bue Grasso, which is where an ox is decorated with flowers and ribbons, with someone winning the ox at the end. There is usually a street market with live music and performances.
In Naples, it is still tradition to throw old things out of the window, so be cautious when visiting. There is also a huge outdoor music event in the city centre where a mixture of music is played.
Not only do the Icelanders take their New Year’s Eve celebrations seriously with an intense and firework-filled evening. But, it’s their large bonfires across the city which will have you in awe, where families and friends gather to let off some fireworks.
For Icelanders, bonfires signify ‘burning away’ the year, allowing the new year to greet them, and there will be a choice of which one to visit. Many of these bonfires are finished by 21:30 or 22:00, so be sure to arrive promptly when they begin around 20:00, as most go home when it ends to watch the annual comedy satire TV show. Once the show finishes, you’ll find Icelanders flood the streets once more, letting off a spectacle of fireworks late until the morning.
Where the sandy beaches are picturesque, on New Year’s Eve you’ll find they turn into a wild night of partying as the Bahamians believe it is important to send out the year with the greatest goodbye party. Full of celebrations and cheering. Across the Bahamas you’ll find nightclubs, pubs and even beaches opening up to have music and lights.
The following day, you’ll find the locals taking part in a Junkanoo Parade which has traditional music and dancing, covering several streets on New Year’s Day. With colourful costumes and masquerade, you’ll wonder how they have the energy after the night before.
Vienna brings in the New Year with fireworks which explode into the sky at midnight, before the Blue Danube waltz is played either in the streets or on the television, where you waltz under the glow of the fireworks. If you’re lucky enough to be in Stephansplatz square or Rathausplatz square, you may find yourself in a communal waltz as fireworks colour the sky above.
The Silvesterpfad, which translates to New Year’s Eve Trail, is a yearly event where activities happen around the city, usually beginning in the day and going on for twelve hours with 100,000s of people partaking in it.
With fireworks, dancing, and even a New Year’s Eve Trail, what is there missing from Vienna’s celebrations.
Proudly called one of Europse’s biggest street parties, Berlin is the place to be if you want to dance and sing until you drop. With live performances from German, and international musicians, DJ sets, and fireworks, you’ll struggle to find anything entertaining.
At midnight, an epic firework show begins which is completely free of charge, before the party begins again until the early hours of the morning, with it officially not ending until 3:00am.
Be cautious though, while the event is free, to prevent overcrowding the area is closed-off at a certain point. However, if you do find yourself unable to enter, there are an array of parties across Berlin you may be able to get entry into for a fee.
Around the world, many have adopted unusual celebration activities, but while they may not be what you think of, you may find it hard-pressed to not include them once you’ve tried them.
Estonians will strive to eat as many as 7 meals as a minimum to welcome in good fortune for the following year. The numbers especially favoured are 7, 9 and 12, all to be eaten on New Year’s Eve. With every meal consumed, it is said the person will gain strength in the coming year, however, it is best not to completely finish, as a portion should be left for ancestors’ spirits.
Spain enjoys a fun midnight-based tradition where those partaking will have a dozen grapes at the ready for the countdown to the new year. Spaniards are expected to eat the grapes one by one, in time with the twelve chimes. It is said if you chew and swallow them, you’ll find yourself enjoying a year of prosperity in the coming year.
Over in Denmark, they smash unwanted plates or chipped crockery on your neighbours’ and friends’ doors. Those who wake to find their front doors covered in shards and shattered plates are actually proof you are loved and are popular, and are intended to wish luck on those in the coming year.
With many wishing for a better year than the last, over in Chile it is recommended you slip a note into your shoe before midnight as it is said to multiply your fortune in the months to come.
Over in Brazil, many run to the ocean to jump over seven waves which apparently brings good luck in the coming year. At the Copacabana Beach, you’ll find a beach party, where there is music and dancing, with many dressed in white to ward off evil spirits.
If you’re looking for something a little different, why not book your next New Year away at one of the places above, broadening your traditions and joining in with the locals. It’s important to check if you need to buy any tickets for more popular locations, and to plan ahead as these book up quickly.
Wherever you choose to travel, you’ll find yourself staring up at the sky, watching as it lights up and the previous year becomes a memory and the coming year opens itself up to many possibilities.