Expat New Years Around the World

Imy Clarke - On behalf of Alchemy Recruitment, January 1, 2016

Expat New Years celebrations around the world can be extremely varied from country to country and continent-to-continent. Whether celebrated with family or with friends, each country has some remarkable traditions and can hold some truly amazing displays of fireworks that look to celebrate some of the most iconic landscapes around the world.

New Year can be difficult away from home, particularly if your nearest and dearest are on the other side of the world. It can even be disorientating as, due to time zones, that ‘Happy New Year’ message or call could come in the middle of the afternoon or first thing in the morning rather than midnight. New Year in a different location around the world can also be an amazing opportunity. It could be an opportunity for friends and family to visit a part of the world they’re unfamiliar with or simply just an opportunity for you to experience a part your host country’s culture that only happens once a year.

Some of the biggest cities around the world host the most amazing celebrations. New York’s Times Square is eponymous, with the night’s events televised to millions around the world. Celebrations line Paris’ Champs-Elysees and all eyes are turned towards London’s Big Ben and Sydney’s waterfront for spectacular fireworks. In Tokyo temples ring bells to announce the coming in of the New Year and in Rio de Janeiro millions line the beaches to throw flowers into the waves for African sea goddess Yemanja, before the streets fill with parties, dancing and music for a night only the Brazilians can create.

It’s not always grand spectacles that can be so impressive about new years around the world, other traditions can make the event incredibly special. In Japan, the 2nd January is one of only 2 days in the year when the emperor opens palace grounds to the public. In Scotland, there is the celebration of Hogmanay which involves ceilidh dancing and even the swinging of balls of fire. The Romanians believe talking with animals brings good luck for the next year and in Spain for every chime of the clock at midnight it’s custom to place a grape into your mouth. The UK doesn’t escape the list of unusual traditions with a New Year’s Day swim in the ocean for which many wear fancy dress to do.

Wherever in the world you celebrate New Year, and whoever with, you can be sure that there are likely to be some impressive and unusual traditions. The only way to really make the most of expat life is to throw yourself into the traditions as much as possible and make the most of experiencing the new culture of your host country.

Posted in categories: Culture & Languages, Events, International
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