How The Rest of The World Celebrates The New Year

26 December 2022
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Japanese House

Unsplash: May Gauthier

When the clock strikes 12 on December 31st, a new year begins! Different places have different ways of ringing in the new year. But what these places share in common is this universal celebration of beginning a new chapter with friends, family, good food and drinks, and a toast to a year filled with prosperity and happiness.

Giphy / Simon Super Rabbit


Sydney, Australia is known for hosting one of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world. The night starts with pre-shows leading up to the main events of two pyrotechnic displays (Family Fireworks and Midnight Fireworks) that see the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Before the first set of fireworks display begins at 9 PM, the city celebrates Australia’s heritage with a Welcome to Country ceremony. This celebration is followed by the popular Harbour of Light Parade where selected boats are decorated in rope light.


In Spain, the NYE celebration begins in the early hours of December 31st. Along with all the fun and partying, Spaniards have a tradition of eating twelve grapes one by one, just in time for when the clock strikes midnight. It is believed that if all twelve grapes are eaten in time, your year ahead will be full of luck and prosperity.

New Year’s Eve or Nochevieja is a holiday to spend quality time with friends and family. Spaniards celebrate the holiday by sharing a meal while watching the countdown that is broadcast all over the country. Some families like to head over to popular plazas like Puerto de Sol in Madrid, Plaza España in Barcelona, or Plaza de Ayuntamiento in Valencia to watch the fireworks together.


Nigeria is one of the best places to be on New Year’s Eve. The country loves celebrating the event with lavish parties where friends and family exchange prayers and well wishes with each other.

The biggest NYE parties in Nigeria are celebrated in a masquerade-theme party. At this party, people dress in animal masks and perform high-energy dances on the streets. This tradition is believed to get rid of negative and bad energies so that the new year brings in happiness and luck.

Various tribes in Nigeria also celebrate the event in their own festive way, where most of them perform tribal dances. Offrima is the name of one of the well-known masquerade parties. At this party, the members of the tribe dance to their tribal music while wearing costumes similar to fishes. During the dance, no one is allowed to take off the mask because the mask is supposed to protect them from any evil spirits.


New Year’s Eve in Brazil is known as Réveillon. This event is a huge celebration for Brazilians and this event is celebrated with fireworks, lots of parties, and traditions. Many Brazilians believe that the colors you wear on New Year’s Eve will determine your year ahead. As a result, many families dress in white on New Year's Eve to symbolize peace and harmony.

New Year’s 2022: Brazil’s Copacabana beach lights up with spectacular fireworks show

The most famous place to spend New Year’s Eve in Brazil is Rio de Janeiro. In Copacabana , the biggest parties and concerts are found. Along the coast, there are many locations where a continuous fireworks show is displayed.


Shogatsu or Japanese New Year is one of the most important holidays in Japan. Instead of big parties, Japanese people like to spend the NYE with traditional Japanese customs with their families. The holiday lasts from January 1st to 3rd and businesses are mostly closed to honor the event.

Shogatsu is welcomed when the large temple bells are rung 108 times at midnight. Another part of the tradition is to visit a temple or a shrine. Most temples, especially the Meiji Shrine, are visited by about several million people throughout the three-day-long celebration. Houses are cleaned and entrance gates are decorated with bamboo, pine, and plum trees as a way to bring in cleanliness and welcome good spirits.


In the US, New Year’s Eve is a big social event and holiday. The event is celebrated with concerts, parties, public events, and fireworks displays. The biggest celebration is the Ball Drop in Times Square in New York City. The ball, made of crystal and electric lights, is placed on a pole and is lowered slowly until it rests at the bottom exactly at midnight. The event is televised all over the world for many to take part in the event.

New York rings in 2020 with spectacular traditional New Year's Eve Times Square Ball Drop

Theme parks all over the country, like Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California, also celebrate NYE. The parks are fully decorated and holiday entertainment can be found on every corner. Holidays at the theme parks are the busiest times but visitors are welcomed with lots of festivities from dance parties to fireworks displays.

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