As another year passes us by, plans are being made to celebrate the start of a new year. Be it with partying with friends in a whole new country or spending a quiet time with the family, everyone wants to do something special. We pick some of the hottest places to be this New Year’s Eve…
Sydney is one of the first major cities to usher in the New Year. The beautiful summer weather is ideal for partygoers and it’s no surprise that it’s a hotspot for tourists and locals alike. Sydney has something for everyone.
For those seeking a lively night of revelry, the posh clubs and beaches parties are the ideal places to be. Families with children may enjoy picnics by the beach and then watch the midnight fireworks.
A more stylish way to spend New Year’s Eve (if you’re willing to splurge, that is) would be to book a luxury cruise and enjoy the fireworks while sipping on some exquisite Australian wine!
New Year’s is Hogmanay in Scotland and has been celebrated with a great gusto since the 16th century. Today, the occasion, albeit rather different is celebrated with the same enthusiasm.
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations, which begin on December 29 and last till January 2, are probably the best in the world. Be it crazy street parties, explosive dance performances and rock concerts on stage, fire festivals with pagan origins or Ceilidh dances to traditional Scottish music – Hogmanay is a totally unique experience and is packed with an endless variety of entertainment.
For those who aren’t afraid of temperatures that remain mainly on the negative side of the scale, the celebration (which has become more like a tradition) at Times Square is truly worth experiencing.
It is estimated that one million people attend this gala to watch the famous New Year’s Eve Ball descend from the flagpole atop One Times Square. If partying on the streets isn’t your style, then enjoy a party cruise down the East River with Manhattan’s famous skyline as the backdrop.
Celebrating New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to necessarily mean miscellaneous inebriated carousing and loud, grandiose firework displays.
The New Year (Shogatsu or Oshogatsu) in Tokyo is taken as a very sentimental time of year with families visiting each other and individuals spending time on quiet introspection. Hordes of people flock to temples, namely Tokyo's famous Meiji Shrine to pray and get blessed.
Then at midnight, the Watch-night Bells are struck for 108 times, welcoming the New Year and warding off the 108 worldly desires.
Las Vegas is a perennial party place. But on New Year’s Eve, the whole city is surrounded by an even bigger party atmosphere.
Packed with bars, casinos and night clubs, it is of little wonder that Vegas is called the party capital of the world! If partying is your way of life then a celebrity hosted party might be the way to go. Hosted by big names such as Paris and Nicky Hilton, Pamela Anderson and featuring world famous music acts and DJs (read: Eva Longoria Parker, Black Eyed Peas, Gary Allan, and David Copperfield), the parties in Vegas is attended by the who’s who of tinsel town.
Undoubtedly Prague is one of the most popular destinations for celebrating New Year’s Eve.
Be it wild parties or quiet, cosy dinners – there’s a something here for everyone, including children. Join in the festivities taking place all across town – from town squares and river boats to night clubs and terrace tops.
But where ever you maybe do not miss the beautiful fireworks. And the best places to view them from are the Charles Bridge, Petrin Hill and Prague Castle – all are either on or overlook the river.
The mere mention of celebrating New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro conjures up images of parties and fireworks by the beach. And with two million people attending the festivities at Copacabana, there’s little doubt regarding the grandeur of it all.
However, the celebrations have strong religious overtones. Fiesta de Lemanjá, as it is originally known, is a time for people belonging to the Brazilian Umbanda religion to offer homage to Goddess Iemanjá (Goddess of the Sea). Many dress in white, light candles along the beach, offer flowers, perfumes and rice and drift model boats on to the sea. After the fireworks at midnight, the celebrations continue till early hours of the morning.
In Spain, the arrival of the New Year (Año Nuevo) is celebrated by eating 12 grapes, one for each of the twelve chimes – a tradition that dates back to the early 1900’s. And in Barcelona people prefer to eat out and then join the parties on the streets, clubs, etc.
Rock band performances, salsa and ballroom dancing and mega parties at held at sports arenas, Barcelona has a variety of ways in which you can celebrate New Year’s Eve.
However you choose to spend it, the idea is to spend the night about town and then finally welcome the first sunrise of the year on the beach enjoying churros (a mouth-watering pastry) and some piping hot chocolate.
Spending New Year’s Eve in Paris is a real treat.
The heart of the party is at the Champs-Elysees where people start arriving by 9 pm (the Paris metro is free on the eve of New Year’s till 12.30 pm) and are usually armed with bottled of wine or champagne. There are quite a few spots where you can dine or dance near Champs-Elysees. For a quieter and less crowded evening the plaza at Sacre Coeur Cathedral is the ideal place to go.
And at midnight, enjoy the Eiffel Tower’s exploding pyrotechnic display. Of course, you can also enjoy a cabaret show and dinner at the famed Moulin Rouge or go club hopping if that’s your thing.
Venice celebrates good tidings with La Festa di San Silvestro (the holiday that is celebrated in Italy on December 31) and Il Capodanno (on January 1).
And in Venice, enjoy the celebrations, Venetian style with several courses of fantastic Italian food at local restaurants and then join the masked throng in St Mark's Square for midnight, where the bell of St. Mark's campanile announces the beginning of a new year. Celebrations continue with a wonderful display of fireworks along the waterfront.