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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   3 min read

We’re just days away from ringing in the New Year now, savouring the last tastes of 2010 as we get ready for fresh beginnings and new travel stories to unfold in 2011. How will you be celebrating at midnight?

Whether you’re going to be clinking Champaign glasses at a chic dinner party, throwing confetti and tooting your horn in NYC or throwing dishes in Denmark, you’re sure to have a Happy New Year! These New Year’s Eve traditions are certain to bring good luck and fortune in the coming year.


The Danes know how to party and New Year’s Eve is no exception to that rule. With friends and family close by at home they take part in playful tricks and games. Old dishes are kept all year long and at midnight, they throw them at the doors of friends and neighbours. If you wake with many broken dishes on your doorstep, it means you have many friends and will have many more in the new year.



Two million people gather in Sydney every year for fireworks and Champagne, a huge display that takes place over Sydney Harbour Bridge with the famous Opera House in the foreground. The show lasts around 20 minutes and is followed by parties and concerts on the city’s beaches. Melbourne is also known for its blow-out New Year’s Eve parties.


Many South American countries share the same traditions to welcome the new year, including wearing brand new clothes (a sign of wealth) and downing a grape with each chime of twelve on the clock (that’s twelve grapes in total), making a wish each time. Fireworks start at dusk and continue all through the night.


New York City is the major destination for New Year’s Eve celebrations. For 100 years the “ball dropping” on top of One Times Square has been a tradition broadcast on national television across North America. The huge (5,386 kg) crystal ball takes 60 seconds to fall, landing at the stroke of midnight. The folk song written by Robbie Burns, Auld Lang Syne, is sung. Book your New York City hotels early.


Russians celebrate with their family and friends nearby, starting the festivities a few hours before midnight. Reminiscing about the past year, everyone tune’s into the President’s speech a few minutes before the countdown. During the last twelve seconds, everyone is silent, making wishes for the new year. There is a superstition that if the first visitor of the year to your home is a man, you will have a very prosperous year.


Singapore for New Year's

Marina Bay is where all the action is in Singapore. More than 250 000 people crowd the area to watch the fireworks and light shows. 20 000 inflatable wishing spheres (carrying more than 500 000 wishes written on paper by Singaporeans) are let loose. After the countdown, parties erupt and outdoor concerts begin.


New Year’s Eve is spend preparing to welcome the new year’s god, toshigami, so Japanese spend the day cleaning their homes and preparing a feast. At midnight, Buddhist temples ring their bells 108 times to represent the 108 elements of bonō. On TV a 60-year-old tradition unfolds, a singing contest between female and male celebrity singers.

Where will you be celebrating the countdown to 2011? Are there any special traditions you do at midnight?

Img: Green_mamba / USA: cmbellman / Singapore: williamcho / Flickr cc.

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