New Year’s Eve traditions

Tuesday 14th Dec 2021 |

Quirky New Year’s Eve traditions and spectacular events from around the world

Every culture has its own way of seeing in the new year. In some destinations, food is often considered to bring good luck, or perhaps a quick dip in chilly coastal waters.

In Budapest, partygoers enjoy its many open-air parties and in the USA, spectacular fireworks displays fill the skies with colour. With New Year’s Eve around the corner, we look at 14 ways to celebrate the new year and officially leave 2021 well behind us.

UK & EUROPE

Szilveszter, Hungary

New Year’s Eve celebrations in Hungary include fireworks, partying and huge festivities. Most prominent in the capital, the streets of Budapest are filled with open-air parties attended by budding party-goers armed with whistles, confetti and noisemakers. Hungary hosts a number of popular public events outdoors during these celebrations with Deák Square and Vörösmarty Square amongst the most popular spots for New Year’s Eve concerts. https://visithungary.com/

Chomping grapes at midnight in Valencia, Spain

On New Year’s Eve the people of Valencia engage in an age-old tradition to eat a grape when the clock strikes 12 and subsequently another grape after each strike until it reaches 12. This tradition started in 1910 with each grape signifying a prosperous month of the year and supermarkets even sell bags of 12 in the run up to the new year for this exact event. visitvalencia.com/en

Father Frost visits Slovenia’s on New Years Eve

In December, the last of the three good men, Father Frost brings presents to Slovenians on new years eve. Entering the Slovenian cultural sphere from the former Soviet Union legends, Father Frost found his home beneath Triglav National Park and is said to be married to Old Lady Winter. A popular mythological character for decades, he is recognised by a long grey beard, fur coat with traditional Slovenian ornaments and traditional warm dormouse fur hat. slovenia.info/en

AND FOR THOSE THAT DARE…

New Years Day Dip in Whitmore Bay, Barry Island – Vale of Glamorgan

Barry Island is located at the very southern tip of Wales, ten miles along the coast from Cardiff and looking out onto Bristol. Sandwiched between two limestone headlands, the golden sands of Whitmore Bay are a popular location for sunbathers and swimmers alike in the summer, however on New Year’s Day, people flock to the beach to dust off the previous year and welcome in the new with a refreshing (albeit chilly) swim. Visitthevale.com

USA

New Year’s Eve Sky Spectacular, Sacramento, California

Sacramento’s New Year’s Eve tradition lights up the skies above Old Sacramento with bright colours during its New Year’s Eve Sky Spectacular. This free celebration features activities for the whole family, including live music, dinner specials, hot food and drink vendors and a variety of colourful street entertainment.  www.visitsacramento.com/

The ultimate party scene to bring in the New Year,  West Hollywood, California

With an already buzzing nightlife scene it’s no surprise that there’s an amazing selection of New Year’s Eve parties taking place on 31 December in West Hollywood every year. For a taste of celebrity star-studded nightlife in LA, look no further than Bootsy Bellows; West Hollywood’s hottest ticket to the good life. Let loose as a live DJ spins sizzling hot hip hop, top 40 & house hits. Alternatively head to the brand new 1 Hotel West Hollywood Rooftop, offering attendees spectacular views as they countdown bringing in  the New Year in style. www.visitwesthollywood.com/

New Year’s Eve in Downtown Denver, Colorado, USA

Tourists wanting to spend New Year’s Eve in Denver, Colorado have a range of events and celebrations to choose from. The sky will sparkle over downtown with two shows (at 9pm and midnight) to signify the close of 2021 with New Year’s Eve fireworks at the 16th Street Mall. Those looking for a party should head to Forney Museum of Transportation hosting its first ever NYE extravaganza. In memory of the underground theatre movement, The Happenings and the iconic New York club Studio 54, the venue will be celebrating with an immersive art and STEM experience. #ArtIsEverywhere will include installations and interactive experiences and a silent disco with three different DJs and genres. www.colorado.com

New Year spectacular in Seattle, Washington

Seattle has a number of unique events happening throughout the city this New Year’s Eve. For party-goers looking to celebrate like Mr Gatsby should head to ‘Gatsby’s Penthouse’ a ‘20s-themed soiree, with a prepaid open bar, casino games, a VIP ballroom with complimentary canapes. Music will play all night ahead of the magical New Year’s Eve countdown. For those who prefer a champagne toast with spectacular views, join an hour-long NYE late night cruise on Seattle’s waterfront and enjoy unique views of the Space Needle’s spectacular fireworks. Visitseattle.org

Fireworks over the Gulf of Mexico – Florida’s Paradise Coast

On 31 December, the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks blasts off from the iconic Naples Pier in Florida’s Paradise Coast. The award-winning Naples Beach not only provides a soft spot to watch the spectacular display from but also a reason to head down early, watch the sun go down and enjoy the warm winter sun breeze before the main event. Most area boat sightseeing tours also offer passage to watch the fireworks from a private spot on the water. Paradisecoast.com 

Disco into the new year in Greater Palm Springs

Presenting the 5th Annual ‘Drag Me to 2022’ Disco Gala, the colourful Saguaro Hotel & Pool in downtown Palm Springs is throwing a one-of-a-kind New Year’s Eve celebration this year featuring ‘Hostess with the Mostess Miss Rusty Waters.’ General admission includes buffet style light bites, champagne toast at midnight and live entertainment. visitgreaterpalmsprings.com 

CANADA

Family entertainment, indoor activities and fireworks, Whistler, Canada

Every year Whistler offers visitors an unforgettable New Year’s Eve experience at the Whistler Olympic Plaza. Here families can enjoy après while getting a taste of Canadian outdoor fun. At the Whistler Conference Centre, families can enjoy a High-Flying Snow Show at the base of Whistler Mountain starting at 7:30pm with an early countdown and fireworks show at 8pm. The New Year will be officially welcomed with a Special Edition Fire and Ice Show starting at 11:30pm, topped off with a colourful, grand finale fireworks show at midnight. www.whistler.com

REST OF WORLD

Le Tere Fa’ati, The Island of Tahiti

A popular local tradition in The Islands of Tahiti is the Le Tere Fa’ati, a festive tour that takes place on an open air bus giving Tahitians the opportunity to meet with the whole family and to give New Year wishes. The buses are decorated specially for the occasion and tour some of the popular local attractions, while along the way local musicians perform lively drum and ukulele music to keep you entertained. www.tahititourisme.uk

Oshogatsu – Japan

Known as Oshogatsu, New Year’s Eve in Japan is filled with tradition. Every year at midnight, Buddhist temples across Japan ring their bonsho (temple bells) in an event known as joya no jane. The bonsho is rang 108 times and is a representation of human desires which according to the Buddhist faith leads to pain and suffering and the event is said to drive away negative emotions from the past year. Traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve, toshikoshi soba, or end of year soba, consists of noodles in a hot broth usually enjoyed at home with family and friends. The noodles symbolise the cutting off of the year’s misfortunes. To celebrate, people gather on mountaintops, beaches or anywhere with a sky view to experience the first sunrise of the new year, the Hatsuhinode – an opportunity to pray for happiness and good fortune for the upcoming year. www.japan.travel/en/uk

New Year’s at the Kushihiki Hachiman Shrine

Hatsumode is a Japanese word that describes the first visit of the year to a Shinto shrine. During the first few days of January, people in Japan visit their local shrine to make a wish for a New Year. During the hatsumode season, the Kushiki Hachiman Shrine will celebrate the New Year in full festival fashion. Bustling with people, there will be food and drink stalls to greet eager visitors. Some fun New Year activities at the shrine include getting a fortune slip (omikuji). https://visithachinohe.com

Kinloch Lodge, Skye’s Landmark Hotel

Kinloch Lodge, Skye