As New Year’s Eve is fast approaching, guest blogger Susan Smith has some tips for us for planning the perfect escapade to end 2016 in style.
Not another club night or house party for New Year’s Eve, please. Those looking for something more spectacular, here are some out of the ordinary celebrations to welcome 2017. Set the stage for a wonderful New Year by partaking in celebrations around the globe.
We have scoured around to find the best celebration spots. So, get ready to chime in the New Year with festivities throughout the world.
1. Hatsumode-Tokyo, Japan: In Japan, the first event of the New Year is Hatsumode, which means one’s first visit to a shrine or temple to welcome the New Year. Usually, there is no fixed period for this practice, but it is believed that many people celebrate it within first three days of the New Year.
The most popular Hatsumode spot in Tokyo is the Meiji Jingu Shrine, where every year over three million visitors come during the first three days of the year. Over the last few years, it has drawn attention as a ‘power spot’ and known as a place where visitors come to get powers for the coming years. For ritual purification, you can also visit the Nishiarai Daishi Shrine, one of the Kanto region’s top three shrines.
2. Scheveningen, The Netherlands: Start the New Year with a dive into the cold North Sea water along the coast of Scheveningen, just by the Pier. Even for the not-so-daring amongst us, it is a perfect day out option.
3. Madrid, Spain: Madrileños celebrate the New Year by swallowing 12 grapes for each stroke of the clock at midnight. It is an old-age belief that says if you finish them on time, you will have a great New Year. The Puerto del Sol plaza bustles with zeal and energy as thousands gather in front of the clock to participate in this annual ritual.
4. Sunrise Festival, Seoul: While the New Year midnight countdowns are a common trend across the world; Koreans stay awake to welcome the new year. Due to this ancient tradition, which is now followed by most Koreans, several ‘Sunrise Festivals’ are now being celebrated in different parts of South Korea.
In Seoul, some of the popular Sunrise Festival zones are Heaven Park Sunrise Festival near the World Cup Stadium, and the Sunrise Festival in Mangwolbong, Olympic Park, Songpa-gu. If you want to catch a glimpse of the first Sun of the New Year, you can head to Acha Mountain, Gaehwa Mountain, Namsan Mountain and Cheonggye Mountain Sunrise Festivals.
Jeongdongjin in Gangwondo is a very popular Sunrise Festival destination, where thousands flock to witness the famed hourglass (the last grain of sand falls at midnight on New Year’s Eve) and catch the first glimpse of the Sun rising over a landscape dotted with amazing pine trees.
5. Christmas Island, South Pacific: Also, called as Kiritimati Island, Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean is a preferred location on the Earth to ring in the New Year. Globally known for its opulence, Christmas Island’s red crab migration is a breathtaking event.
6. Sydney, Australia: Come to the waterfront to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The astonishing Sydney Harbour Bridge and nearby buildings ignite at midnight with one of the world’s magnificent fireworks.
7. New York City, New York: With lakhs of people expected to show up at Times Square for this memorable annual party, you will find yourself immersed in a complete party mood. While you are counting down the seconds to midnight, a huge 12-foot glittering ball slowly drops down from a flagpole atop the Times Square building. Oh, how can we forget a ton of confetti that will also be dropped onto the party goers? As the party is telecasted on the television, you can also find yourself on TV. Get yourself ready for a magnificent pyrotechnic light show, celebrity musical nights and a New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall where you can write down your resolutions for the New Year.
8. Hogmanay celebration, Scotland: Well, Scotland celebrates New Year with revelry and passion which is unmatchable. The celebration that engulfs the nation is now becoming the topic of discussion all over the world.
In Scotland, New Year’s carousing starts when torchbearers join Helly Aa’s Vikings, pipes, and drums. As the clock strikes midnight, get ready to enjoy the world’s popular Edinburg Hogmanay midnight firework on the castle ramparts. Do take part in Auld Lang Syne – a national song where you can spend some time with friends whom you have just met during this amazing rendition. The celebration is not yet over. On the 1st day of the year, you can take part in the splendid Loony Dook—an annual splash in the River Forth at South Queensferry.
9. SnowGlobe Music Festival, California: Blending the globally renowned musicians with the world’s best snowing condition, the SnowGlobe Music Festival at South Lake Tahoe, presents the one-of-a-kind fusion of music and mountains. You can dance and party all night and spend the entire day skiing.
10. Paris, France: At the Eiffel Tower, you can see a truly dazzling light show and firework display. The entire city comes alive with hordes of people making the rounds of bars and clubs, having a wonderful time with friends and enjoying lots of champagne. If you want to ring in the New Year with your beloved, romantic New Year’s Eve boat cruises along the Seine is waiting for you.
11. London, UK: Lakhs of visitors assembled onto the banks of the Thames River to start the Big Ben countdown when grand firework and light show takes off. The party that spans throughout the night has all the elements to keep you entertained. The next day starts with activities, including a three-hour parade with marching bands, costumed dancers, historic vehicles and a beautiful procession of the Queen’s horses. Be there to witness the perfect mélange of contemporary performances and traditional pomp and ceremony.
12. Las Vegas, Nevada: Known as the party town, more than three lakhs visitors show up here every year to enjoy New Year’s Eve. Starting at 6 p.m., the long four-mile strip is closed for traffic and opens up for people who wish to celebrate by walking around, mingling and watching fireworks being shot off from rooftops.
New Year Travel Tips
New Year is the time for starting fresh and bidding adieu to the old year in a celebratory fashion. However, did you know, it is also one of the most challenging holidays of the year?
While planning a celebration, the majority of people aim to celebrate it in the best way and create some beautiful memories. However, by not taking proper safety measures, they are putting themselves and people around them at a high risk. Here is what you should do to avoid the dangers and stay safe during the New Year season: –
- Don’t drink and drive. Use cabs and public transportation to reach the destination
- Buy a travel insurance beforehand to insure your journey from all types of perils, including loss of baggage, passport and flight delay. In case you meet with an accident, the insurer will take care of your hospitalisation expenses also
- Check the spending limit and fee charges of your debit or credit cards and ensure they are valid in the international arena
- Get a health checkup done before travelling
- Carry all your medicines with you
- Don’t keep your cash and cards in one place
New Year Traditions from around the world
We all might have an idea about what a traditional New Year holiday entails, but by travelling; we are opening ourselves to other cultures in their way. You can celebrate New Year throughout the year if you are open to different cultures.
Soon 2016 is going to become the past. At this time of camaraderie, let’s see how culture from other parts of the world come together to welcome the New Year. It is always a nice idea, after all, to celebrate the eve with friends.
- Mexico: People celebrate New Year with a blend of religion, superstition and special festive foods. Families decorate their homes in colours that represent their wishes for the New Year like red for love and green for money. The another tradition involves writing all the bad and unhappy events that happened in the last year. Then, before the midnight, the list is thrown into a fire to keep away all the negative feelings. Also, Mexican sweet bread is baked with the coin or charm hidden in the dough. Whoever gets the bread with coin and charm is said to be blessed with good luck for the New Year.
- Wales: It is customary to give bread and cheese on New Year’s morning with children getting skewered apples covered with raisins.
- Japan: It is customary to send hand-written postcards to friends and family members. The post office guarantees the timely delivery of all cards. Food plays an imperative role in the celebration. Around 11 pm, people gather at home and eat a bowl of noodles as long noodles are associated with jumping from one year to another.
- Ecuador: One of the kinky traditions sees men dressing up as women to represent the ‘widow’ of the previous year. At midnight, families and communities come together to burn effigies of politicians and any other thing or person which they don’t like to get rid of bad feelings.
- Philippines: Traditionally, most households organise a dinner party. Most people follow a set of rules that includes wearing bright clothes with dots. It is believed that circles bring money and fortune, and bright colour is the symbol of enthusiasm. At midnight, throwing coins is said to bring wealth just as circular shaped fruits.
Travelling to exotic destinations disconnect you from the stress of daily life and help you unwind yourself. When it is about the New Year celebration, it is good to step outside your comfort zone. So, take a cue from the above and ring in the New Year at a new location.
Wishing you a Happy New Year and Happy Trails in 2017.