How do other countries celebrate New Year’s Eve?

All over the world, New Year’s Eve is a time to come together and celebrate. However, fireworks aren’t always the highlight of the night. Suitcases, grapes and playing cards are a part of the celebrations in other countries, and as you welcome the new year, sneaking a peek at the colour of someone’s underwear might be interesting!

With confetti, suitcases, playing cards and a spectacular light show, fireworks aren’t the defining moment of New Year’s Eve for everyone. Take a mini trip around the world to see how New Year’s Eve is celebrated elsewhere:

– In Paris, some tourists might be disappointed. It’s actually uncommon to set off your own fireworks in France, and private fireworks are banned in the capital city every year. Instead, Paris organises a public firework display at the Arc de Triomphe. Along the neighbouring Champs Elysées, hundreds of thousands of people gather to celebrate the new year. In France, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with cuisine, and it’s perhaps even as extravagant as Christmas, with delicacies such as oysters and champagne.

– It’s not all about the fireworks on New Year’s Eve in Greece either. Greeks prefer to meet up with family or friends to play card games all night. Traditionally they’ll play “31”, where the player who wins the game will have good luck with money in the new year, while the losers will be lucky in love in the year to come. The festivities start in Athens beneath the Acropolis, the landmark of the city, where the mayor presents his new year’s resolutions. After a small firework display, live music plays until the early hours of the next day.

– In London, along the banks of the Thames in the borough of Westminster, home of parliament, hundreds of thousands of people gather around the London Eye to see the firework display. Due to the threat of terrorist attacks, the event will be closely guarded by high levels of security. A part of the festive atmosphere could potentially be lost, as the symbolic clock tower of parliament, Big Ben, is currently undergoing renovation, and is completely covered by scaffolding. Despite this, Big Ben will still be ringing its traditional twelve chimes at midnight.

– In Madrid, residents and tourists traditionally gather under the clock of the Puerta del Sol square in the city centre. This year, for security reasons, the number of people has been limited to 20,000, therefore cutting the crowd by 25,000 people. On the 30th December, thousands of curious local people flock to the square to see the “dress rehearsal”, where the council test the bells of the clock tower. Their tradition is to eat a grape for each of the clock’s twelve chimes at midnight. This tradition brings luck for the new year. Many Spanish people also wear red underwear on New Year’s Eve, which is said to bring good luck for love for the next twelve months.

– In Mexico City, people also eat a grape for each time the clock’s bells chime, each one representing a wish for the new year. On New Year’s Day, many Mexicans wear red or yellow underwear, to bring them luck with love or work. As well as this, people who have plans to travel in the new year place a suitcase in front of their door. In certain regions in the south of the country, people burn dolls to represent the end of the year. This practice is common almost all year round in Mexico; for marriages, birthdays, days celebrating patron saints, or catholic processions. New Year’s Eve fireworks don’t have the same meaning here as they do in Germany.

– Every year in New York, the New Year’s Eve spectacle takes place in Times Square. More than a million people gather here and numerous celebrities make an appearance for the event, which is fully broadcast on TV all over the United States. At midnight, all eyes are on the “Ball Drop”, an illuminated ball which drops from the mast on top of a skyscraper. Then, under a shower of confetti, the songs “Auld Lang Syne” and “New York, New York” play through loud-speakers. Following the terrorist attacks that affected the city a few months ago, the already high levels of security will be further reinforced this year.

– Dubai, the rich emirate of the Persian Gulf, traditionally welcomes the new year with a spectacular firework display at the Burj Khalifa, the highest skyscraper in the world with a height of 828 metres. Allegedly, the fireworks are to be cancelled this year, as media reports suggest. Instead, property company Emaar is planning an extraordinary spectacle of light, with the ambition of entering the Guinness Book of World Records. However, Emaar are currently keeping the details of “Light Up 2018” a secret.

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