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New Year’s Eve Around the World

December 30, 2020 5 min read

New Year’s Eve is almost here and I couldn’t be happier. The end of a year and the start of a new one feels like a new chapter in life. Although most people don’t see it that way, many others do.

In fact, the way we celebrate the start of a year and the traditions we partake in show how much a new year affects our lives.

Almost every culture, place and person has a tradition or special celebration for New Year’s. Whether it is to eat grapes or run around with luggage, this is how the New Year’s Eve is celebrated around the world.

New Year’s Eve Around the World

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Many countries celebrate New Year’s Eve differently than others. While some resort to burning things on the streets, other countries focus on following traditions to bring good luck, wealth and good health into the next year.


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Lima, Peru

One of the things that caught me off guard when celebrating New Years in Peru was seeing fire and smoke on the street.

It may look like a war zone, but this is actually a tradition for Peruvians. The tradition is to burn old clothes amongst other things from the old year. It is believed that doing so will cleanse away all of the old energy of the previous year and make room for the new year.


One of my friends, who currently lives in France mentioned that France doesn’t do much for New Year’s Eve.

It’s really more a of a ‘stay-at-home” or “go-to-friends” affair.

She also did mention that if you have the money, most of those in France will spend an exorbitant amount of money to eat at a restaurant with live entertainment.

So if you’re looking to spend the New Year at a bar or cafe in France, you’ll need to change your plans as many of the bars and cafes are closed during New Year’s Eve.


In Japan, New Year’s Eve is an important holiday. During this time, people in Japan will go to temples or visit a shrine to pray for good health and fortune.

It is also customary to give children money during this time as well.

Aside from those two things, food plays an important role in Japan during New Year’s Eve. Japanese people eat special dishes during shogatsu, which is their New Year Celebration. These special dishes all have a particular meaning as well that could affect the New Year.


If you find yourself in Brazil during this time, you may just find everyone wearing white. That’s because in Brazil wearing white during New Year’s Eve will bring good luck and peace.

They also believe that going to the beach and jumping seven waves will increase their luck.


Much like Peru, Colombia also has the tradition of burning items on the streets. Usually what they are burning are effigies of the old year that are made of old newspapers and clothes.

They also believe that if you take an empty suitcase and run around the block as fast as you can, it will guarantee a year full of travel.

United States

New Year’s Eve
In the Sheraton in New York! After seeing the ball drop.

In the United States, we celebrate with fireworks, champagne and more!

Our biggest tradition is to watch the ball drop in Times Square, New York, whether we watch it on TV or in person, it has been a tradition that’s been happening for many years now.

Aside from watching the ball drop, many believe in kissing once it’s midnight! This stems from the belief that this will prevent loneliness.

That’s not all, we also make New Year’s Resolutions, which are often short lived, but nonetheless a good way to figure out what your goal is for next year.

There are plenty of traditions that take place on New Year’s Eve and plenty of ways it’s celebrated. However, New Year’s Eve isn’t the only holiday with a variety of traditions and celebrations.

Christmas also has a variety of traditions and is also celebrated differently in other countries. Here are a few examples of how other countries celebrate Christmas.

Christmas Eve Around the World

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Aside from New Year’s traditions, Christmas is also a holiday that has many different traditions and is celebrated differently in other countries. Some may celebrate similar to other countries, but for the most part every country has their own way of celebrating.


Fellow blogger Karolina shares the following about Poland.

Christmas Eve is the beginning of the holidays in Poland. Some people don’t go to work at all, some leave early to start celebrating.

She also mentions that the holiday for them starts when the first star appears in the sky.

It’s when all the Poles eat the festival dinner called Wigilia. It’s believed that you need to try 12 dishes that are on the table if you want to be lucky the following year.

Karolina also shares an interesting Christmas Eve tradition involving a coin.

One of the most interesting Christmas Eve tradition in Poland is hiding a coin in a dumpling. The person who finds it will be rich next year. After Wigilia dinner, we are carolling and waiting for midnight to go to Pasterka, the midnight mass. In Poland, you are not supposed to eat meat or drink alcohol on Christmas Eve.

For more on Poland, visit her website: Travel Poland Tours.


One of the traditions in Iceland is to celebrate the 13 days of Christmas. Each night before Christmas, the Icelandic kids are visited by the 13 Yule Lads.

The kids will place their shoes by the window and then the next morning, they’ll either receive candy or rotten potatoes (depending on their behavior).

These are just a few examples of how Christmas is celebrated and the many traditions that exist around the holidays.

It’s great to see the many traditions and the way other countries celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

This world is full of so many stories, fables and traditions that have ultimately brought us much joy during the holidays.

Which tradition do you follow? And how do you normally celebrate New Year’s Eve?

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New Year’s Eve
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About Me

About Me


Hola! I'm Hanny and I have been traveling since the age of three. Although, I grew up traveling, it wasn't until 2013, when I decided to start a blog. Read More

xoxo Hanny

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