As we approach the end of the year, many parents are looking for ways to celebrate the New Year with their children. While some families may be content with a quiet night at home, there are many exciting New Year celebrations around the world that they can explore together (from the comfort of their own homes). From family feasts and fireworks in Mexico, to "first footing" in Scotland, here's a guide to some of the best New Year festivities from across the globe.
New Year's celebrations vary greatly around the world. Here are some examples of how New Year's is celebrated in different countries:
In the United States and Canada
New Year's Eve is often celebrated with parties, a countdown, fireworks, and/or sparklers. Many people also make resolutions for the new year. This is probably what you're most familiar with.
New Year's Eve is called "Réveillon" and is celebrated with beach parties (the southern hemisphere has Jan. 1st landing in the summer), fireworks, and the tradition of wearing white to bring good luck in the new year. There are a lot of superstitions involved in celebrating New Years in Brazil with some people choosing their underwear color based on the meaning of the color and wishes for the coming year, many people get into the ocean and attempt to jump into 7 waves (you get a wish for every wave you jump into face-forward), keeping a bay leaf on you during New Years Eve celebrations for luck, and even choosing the food you eat based on what you would like to manifest in 2023 are all very common.
The Chinese New Year is celebrated on January 22nd in 2023 but changes each year, according to their lunar calendar. This celebration can last 15-16 days. Red decorations adorn homes throughout China during this season as it symbolizes luck and prosperity for the coming year. People exchange gifts such as fruits or flowers while children receive money from elders wrapped in red envelopes known as "hong bao." Fireworks displays light up cities all over China while people eat celebratory meals consisting of dishes like dumplings or fish cakes which signify wealth and good fortune. If you'd like to read more about The Year of The Rabbit (2023), click here.
New Year's Eve is called "Silvester" and is celebrated with parties, fireworks, and the tradition of making noise to drive away evil spirits. A warm spiced wine is served (feuerzangenbowle) and traditionally a sugarcone was lit on fire above the beverage so that the sugar carmelized and dripped into it. Another unique German tradition is Bleigießen, where a small amount of lead is melted and then dropped into water to harden. The shape that it most resembles is thought to predict what the coming here will bring.
New Year's Eve is called "Nochevieja" and is celebrated with parties, fireworks, and the tradition of eating grapes at midnight for good luck. You try to eat a grape for every chime of the clock at midnight and it's believed that you'll be rewarded with a prosperous year ahead if you succeed. Enjoying hot chocolate and churros before calling it a night and going to bed is another great tradition.
New Year's Eve is called "Hogmanay" and is celebrated with the singing of "Auld Lang Syne," the lighting of bonfires, and the tradition of "first footing," (the first person to walk into the home after midnight is the bringer of good luck for the coming year) in which people visit the homes of friends and neighbors to bring good luck in the new year.
New Year's Eve is called "Omisoka" and is celebrated with the ringing of temple bells and the tradition of visiting temples to pray for good luck in the new year (often as a family). The Japanese send New Year's postcards to friends and family, similar to the custom of sending Christmas cards, and their postal service actually has to hire more temporary workers to handle their busiest time of the year. The final game of the Emperor's Cup (soccer/football championship) is played on New Year's day and has been since 1969.
New Year is celebrated on a variety of dates according to different regional calendars and customs. Some areas celebrate based on the lunar calendar and some based on the solar calendar. The celebrations that are based on the lunar calendar usually happen in March or April. While the country does acknowledge New Year on the 1st of January, it is not an official holiday and the way it is celebrated (if at all) varies greatly. Along with the date, the actual celebrations can be very different too. Dancing, fireworks, feasts, lamp lighting, gifts (primarily for children), and rangolis are common.
Every year on December 31st (Nochevieja), people all over Mexico come together to celebrate New Years. Generally, there are big family gatherings with large meals, similar to Christmas dinner. A fun custom is eating 12 grapes (representing the 12 months of the year) while making 12 wishes. (If you want to do this with your young children, please remember to cut the grapes lengthwise so that they are not a choking hazard.) The celebration culminates in a spectacular fireworks display as midnight approaches. Families often stay up late into the night dancing and celebrating in their neighborhoods.
No matter where you live or how you choose to celebrate, ringing in the new year with your family can be an incredibly rewarding experience! It is a time for people to come together and look forward to the future with hope and joy. So why not explore some new cultures right from your own backyard? There are so many amazing ways to celebrate together this holiday season!