How do different countries celebrate New Years?

30th December 2018


Written by Alessia Martino.

The new year is soon approaching and so are people expectation for better things to come and happen. In fact, people put themselves and the new year in terms of luck, hope, dreams, goals and resolutions. However, thinking about it nothing really changes from one year to the next unless someone actively does something to make things change; but in the exact moment midnight strikes and it is the new year, it is all the same. Saying 'old' and 'new' year makes people feel more in control of time and talking about 'the new year' becomes psychologically significant as we feel that things can change the same as years go from old to new. For this reason people celebrate the felt change in time by engaging in social practices, which are different between different countries.





Lots of places will do a countdown to midnightnight and fireworks, practice common in many countries, and cheer with wine. Good luck kisses at midnight are not uncommon either. In addition, many, even in non English speaking countries, will sing or play the Scottish song Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns.

However,traditions might go differently in apperent similar celebrations. For example in Spain, eating twelve grapes, one for each month of the year, as the clock strikes midnight is believed to bring good luck in the new year. A similar tradition has been adopted in Philippines, formely colonised by Spain, where twelwe round fruits need to be eaten as round objects are for luck and prosperity.



Different countries have different way to welcome the new year. In Denmark people jump off a chair at midnight, in Brazil they jump over seven small waves ( one for each day of the week), in Chile they eat lentils. In Italy people wear red for good luck, including red underware.

Some countries might celebrate more than just a day. For example, in Russia people start celebrating the new year on the 31st of December like other European countries, but will keep welcoming the new year until the 7th of January, their Christmas day.



Not all countries adopt the same calendar, so countries as China, India, Sri Lanka, Iran and so on, will celebrate the arrival of the new year on different times of the year. China has now adopted both the solar and lunar New years as holidays, but, traditionally, the lunar new year is still more important as people and their families go back to their hometowns.




One thing that all these places have in common is to celebrate together with the people one loves, because, as the famous Into the wild quote goes, " Happiness is real only when shared."

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