New Years Around the World

The New Year is almost here, at least for us in Cincinnati. What about the rest of the world? When do they celebrate the New Year? How do they celebrate the New Year?

 All your answer are below!


Australia: Every year, Australians usher in the New Year with a bang – literally! Sydney hosts a grand fireworks display, and is one of the most watched celebrations in the world! Hanging out on the beach or partying in Melbourne are other ways to have fun on New Year’s!

Brazil: It is traditional, although not a requirement, to wear white in Brazil during New Year’s. White is supposed to bring good luck for the next year. If you are at the beach, make sure to light candles and throw flowers into the sea!

China: To usher in 2016, the Chinese will celebrate the New Year from the 8th of February to the 22nd of February in accordance with the lunar calendar. This holiday is celebrated by big family reunions – fights (and the occasional divorce) have been known to occur because of the difficult decision of whether to go to the wife or the husband’s family for New Year’s!  In looking at the Chinese Zodiac, 2016 will be the year of the Monkey.


Russia: Not to be confused with Christmas trees, Russians put up New Year’s trees similarly decorated to their Christmas counterparts. This originally began as a way to hold on to the Christmas tree tradition during anti-religious times in the past.

Scotland: The Scot’s word for the last day of the year is Hogmanay. First-footing is practiced here, where immediately after midnight one who crosses into a friend or neighbors house must present a gift. It is preferred that a tall, dark-haired man be the first-footer.

South Africa: Many folks in Cape Town celebrate what is called Kaapse Klopse, or Cape Carnival. Minstrels practice for months beforehand to parade around the city before participating in an annual competition.

Thailand: The people of Thailand celebrate their New Year in accordance with the Buddhist/Hindu solar calendar, celebrating the New Year from the 13th and 15th of April. Their New Year’s festival is called Songkran, and often people participate in water pouring, which is meant to wash away sins and bad luck!

United States of America: And finally, to the U.S. It is a tradition to watch the ball drop at Times Square in New York City, either in person or on television. Kissing someone at midnight is another long-held tradition in the U.S.

If you would like to know more about how other cultures ring in the New Year, on January 31st at the Cincinnati Museum Center in Union Terminal, a fun International New Year’s Eve Celebration will be held from 11:00 – 5:00, celebrating various New Year’s traditions around the world!

Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council does not own or claim to own these photos.

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