New Years Eve around the globe

Our Ambassadors from all over the globe have shared with us how they ring in the New Year…

Salvador, Brazil

In Brazil, we celebrate by the beach (if you live by the coast)! In Bahia, we dress in white and give flowers to yemanja (the African goddess of the ocean – orixa). By midnight, the tradition is to be by the beach and jump 7 times into waves (pular ondas), like making seven wishes. Fireworks are everywhere and we don’t usually dress formal.. basically shorts and dresses, it is summer time!!!

Salvador, Bahia by R.M. Nunes/shutterstock


In Italy (where I was born) we eat lentils at New Year’s eve because they are supposed to bring money (they look like little coins) and luck.
Another tradition is to throw some old objects out of the window (like old plates or glasses) to “get rid of old weights and move forward”.
And we always drink sparkling wine opened at midnight to celebrate. The cork popping sound is alike the fireworks, also used to celebrate with the noise which should chase away the evil spirits.



In Finland (where I live) there is a funny tradition. We melt a small horseshoe made of tin over the fire/stove. Then we pour the melted metal in a bucket full of water. The metal cools down and form a clump with weird shapes. Some people can “read” the shape and tell about your future (money, love, etc).

Iconic Times Square New Years by Simon Dux Media/shutterstock


In America it is all about the midnight kiss. Ever since I was in high school, my friends and I would go to a house party (with a date if I was lucky… which I rarely was) and with a glass of champagne in hand we would watch the ball drop in Times Square on TV. At midnight, we would scream happy new year and have a-not-at-all-romantic midnight kiss. I suggest the episode of “Friends” where Joey orchestrates Monica and Chandler’s New Years’ kiss if you have any follow up questions!



There are no 100% Mexican traditions when it comes to the NYE. However, there are a couple of rituals everybody is aware of:
– Wear red underwear for good luck in love next year, or yellow for money. You can find lots of shops and street vendors selling and over advertising these clothes the day before.
– Go around the block with your trolley/backpack/hobo bindle to have lots of trips during the incoming year. SPOILER: It doesn’t matter how many laps you do or how hard you wish it, it doesn’t work until you have a decent job and have made some savings

By Larisa Blinova/shutterstock


In Spain at midnight people eat doce uvas (twelve grapes), one at each stroke of the clock. This is supposed to bring good luck, prosperity, and happiness in el Año Nuevo (the New Year).


Crete, Greece

In my city Heraklion, the capital of Crete, we have a party in the main square and after that we buy local cheese piep or cream piep (bogatsa) and bring it back home!

Beach fireworks celebrating the new year by Ilya Sviridenko/shutterstock

New Orleans, USA

Here in New Orleans, it is very common to have food traditions for almost every holiday. As a kid, my father always slow-cooked corned beef and cabbage with boiled potatoes on New Years Day. Sure, we celebrated the night before with fireworks, champagne, and a peck on the cheek at midnight. But, January 1 has always been about family time, food, and watching the Rose Bowl Parade on television.

Many families in the South also prepare black-eyed peas—a symbol of prosperity—for the new year.


United Kingdom

While Scotland is still a member of the UK there is, of course, the tradition of ‘first foot’ – marking the first new person who enters the house. (Going out at 11 pm on New Year’s Eve and coming in at 4 am on NY’s day doesn’t cut it I’m afraid.) They say it is desirable for the first-foot to be a tall, dark-haired male (no problems there) but sadly relate that a female or fair-haired male are in some places regarded as unlucky. In Worcestershire, luck is ensured by stopping the first carol singer who appears and leading him through the house. Hopefully all Xmas muzac has already been curtailed. In Yorkshire, it must always be a male who enters the house first, but his fairness is no objection. Myself I’ve always had a passion for Yorkshire 🙂

Scottish Highlands by Kanuman/shutterstock

Scotland (continued)

First-footing can’t happen until the New Year has begun; because it literally is about the first footstep in homes of others, neighbors, families etc. We don’t call it NYE – it is HOGMANAY.

Traditionally people celebrate Hogmanay with a big fire at home or in the pub making soup and drinking hot drinks (hot toddies – whisky with spices, mulled, wine/ cider or n in recent times also offered hot juice, or hot chocolate, tea, coffee – it’s going to be along night until the sun is up around 7am! Usually at the pub and also at home there will also be some ceilidh dancing on Hogmanay and this continues into New Year’s day after the first footing in others’ homes/ pubs. Ceilidh dancing is in homes, pubs and in the streets. When stepping into someone’s home with a first foot a gift should always be taken be it a hot drink, soup or other food, peat/ coal for the fire etc. LANG MAY YER LUM REEK is the phrase to offer good fortune to all! 🙂

New Year’s night is also really important because families have a large important family dinner or perhaps a community meal in the pub – usually invite only.

Whilst most of the world finishes celebrating in early hours of the 1st day of a New Year, Scotland continues into the 2nd. Normal schedules don’t resume until 5/6th January. Then on the 11th January the old Celtic New Year (from before the Gregorian calendar) is celebrated with the burning of Clavie, a community outside event and with more hot drinks.

By Pirina/shutterstock

One thought on “New Years Eve around the globe

  1. In Australia it varies a bit in different places but always involves drinking, music and fireworks and at the stroke of midnight everyone hugs each other while giving them a peck on the cheek while wishing them all the best for the New Y ear.
    The most unusual New years Eve I celebrated was at Cameron’s Corner which is the corner peg where three states with different time zones meet, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland so just before midnight we crossed the line into NSW and did the countdown, hugged everyone and wished them a happy new year, drank a toast or two and sang happy birthday to the two ladies that were born on the first of January and watched a few fire works then half an hour later we all did the same in SA then again in Qld after that we all walked back to the pub and the band started playing again and everyone was dancing until the early hours of the morning.
    It was a big effort for me to get there from the Kimberley Region in WA to such a hot remote place but I am so glad I did it and would recommend it to anyone to do it at least once in their life.
    Met some wonderful people who had travelled a long way and were all there for a good time.

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