There’s no doubt that every country has a New Year tradition that starts a New Year with some sort of gusto and life force. After all New Year’s Eve is the end of one year that was filled with life changing or life threatening experiences and a celebration is always in order to usher in a New Year filled with positive expectations.
New Year traditions may seem the same from country to country and in one sense they are, but in another sense they differ due to past and present local customs, as well as cultural and social attitudes about how one should celebrate. Countries around the world have unique expressions that manifest on New Year’s Eve so understanding what the word celebrate means in different countries is an interesting learning experience.
Ten Countries around the World That Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Cultural Style
Every country has a unique style when it comes to New Year’s Eve celebrations but here are some of our favorites:
The Aussies know how to celebrate the end as well as the beginning of a year in Australia. It starts at midnight December 31st with rattles, horns, church bells, and car horns, and continues with a picnic or a camping adventure on the beach the next day.
The first male house visitor in Great Britain on New Year’s Eve bring good luck in the form of money, coal, or bread to ensure the family will have enough of those things in the coming year. The first visitor can’t be a woman, and men can’t have blond hair or red hair; they bring bad luck. The people in London gather in Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square to hear Big Ben Chime at midnight.
The people of France exchange presents on New Year’s Day at family dinner parties. The celebration is called Jour des Etrennes.
The people in Germany drop molten lead into cold water and tell the future by the shape the lead makes in the water. A bite of food is left on their plates after midnight to ensure the coming year is filled with abundance.
The first day of January is called St. Basil’s Day in Greece. St Basil is remembered for his kindness to children so people gather and tell children stories as well as exchange gifts on the first day of the New Year.
People in Hungary burn effigies to get rid of the past year’s bad luck. The most popular effigy is the scapegoat “Jack Straw,” which represents the misfortunes and the evils experienced during the past year.
Diwali or the festival of lights starts the Indian New year. Gifts are exchanged and people try to complete any work that’s not finished.
Oshogatsu is the name the Japanese use to describe hanging a straw rope in front of their houses. When the New Year begins the people of Japan begin to laugh. Laughter brings them good luck in the New Year.
In Russia Grandfather Frost wears a blue suit instead of Santa’s red suit and he arrives on New Year’s Eve with toys and gifts for the children.
In the USA people party and kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve and wish for a healthy and happy New Year. New York’s Time Square is the ultimate New Year’s Eve party.