New Year traditions 2023: Here's how people across the globe welcome New Year - Hindustan Times
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New Year traditions 2023: Here's how people across the globe welcome New Year

By | Edited by Zarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
Dec 31, 2022 12:22 PM IST

Happy New Year 2023: From street fights in Peru to Hungarian Time Wheel tradition, flinging furniture out of windows in Johannesburg or sleeping at the cemetery in Chile to spend New Year's eve with deceased loved ones, here's how people across the globe welcome the New Year

While it is common in India to countdown till the New Year with family and friends huddled together in cosy gatherings, many in China, Japan, the US, UK, Australia etc mark it with a grand show of fireworks. Times Square, with its world famous ball drop at New Year’s Eve is the best place to witness the fireworks where a 12-foot glittering sphere weighing 11,875 pounds is dropped each year at the turn of midnight that is accompanied by celebrity music acts, light shows and tons of confetti dropped over you - an event that has been immortalized in many Hollywood movies as millions of revelers celebrate the big night when the clock strikes 12.

New Year traditions 2023: Here's how people across the globe welcome New Year (Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)
New Year traditions 2023: Here's how people across the globe welcome New Year (Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

Rotterdam in Netherlands is believed to be one the first cities of the world that began celebrating New Year’s while the fantastical New Year’s Eve lightshow in Amsterdam, which is close-by, is also renowned. Since white is meant to bring good luck in the New Year, people at Rio De Janerio’s Copacabana Beach in Brazil don white clothes and cram on the beach to drink champagne, dance to samba music and be dazzled by the massive fireworks.

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Another tradition in Brazil and several other South American countries is of wearing an underwear with a specific colour that can seal your fate for the next year like red underwear is worn for romance and to find love, green for good health, golden-hued undies for prosperity and white underwear for peace. The New Year’s tradition in Peru is a little bizarre too as fist fights are organised on streets to settle old scores and begin the New Year with a clean slate.

Originated in Cusco of Chumbivilcas Province, this strange New Years tradition is part of their local festival called Takanakuy and is maintained all across Peru. In Denmark, unused dishes and plates are kept until December 31 when they are affectionately shattered against doors of friends and family as it is considered a good sign to have a heap of broken dishes on your doorstep for New Year’s and people also climb on top of chairs and literally jump at midnight to bring good luck and banish evil spirits.

Another New Year tradition in Denmark, Norway, Finland and other Nordic countries is that the Queen of Norway invites royal guests from across the world to take part in preparing a Nordic dessert called ‘kransekage’, which is a tall, layered cake with marzipan frosting and often decorated with flags and other ornamental items. In Spain, the Spanish New Year’s tradition is to eat 12 grapes at midnight to signify good luck achieved for the next 12 months of the year and in the hope that this will ensure appropriate appetite levels and good health of people for the rest of the year - a tradition widely followed in Latin American countries too.

On the other hand, in Japan's Tokyo, there is a traditional temple bell-ringing ceremony held across the country where bells are rung 108 times to represent the cleansing of 108 desires and anxieties and a new beginning for New Year's as the 108 desires are linked to the number of worldly desires you must overcome to reach nirvana. The New Year tradition of Sydney in Australia is no secret as the fireworks are launched from near the Sydney Opera House and the harbor bridge in the city becomes the center point of attraction for viewing the unforgettable NYE experience.

In Scotland's Edinburgh, crazy dances on the streets, spectacular fireworks setting off at midnight, music concerts, the grand street party outside the Edinburgh Castle with a torchlight march marking the beginning of New Year celebrations, followed by a huge open-air Ceilidh (a social event that involves folk music and dancing) are the highlights. Hungary's national capital Budapest believes that the famous Time Wheel or the national hourglass stops working on New Year as it mysteriously runs out of sand on every New Year’s Eve hence, Hungarians come together to turn the wheel 180 degrees, so that the flow of sand can resume and it once again starts operating on the New Year, making people believe that maintaining this tradition over the years has brought them peace and prosperity.

Mexico's local residents mark the New Year with the tradition of families coming together to redecorate their homes in brand new colours that represent hopes and desires that the New Year will bring them like the family that paints their house red signify that they are looking for love, while yellow means people are looking for new job opportunities. London in United Kingdom hosts parades on the streets that includes a procession close to the Big Ben and festive parties and midnight fireworks by the river Thames.

NYE celebrations go on for three days in the vibrant South African city of Cape Town where a free event with musical performances, light shows and great food from more than 80 restaurants and food trucks line up at the famous Victoria and Alfred waterfront. The New Year custom in South Africa's Johannesburg is to throw furniture and appliances out of the windows of tall buildings.

While in Ireland it is believed that you can bang away good luck so, on New Year’s Eve, the Irish people hit the walls of their house with bread to get rid of evil spirits and bad luck, nothing beats the weird New Year custom Chile where families spending the night in the company of deceased loved ones by sleeping at the cemetery. It is believed to bring peace to the soul and this relatively new tradition started when a family jumped over the cemetery fence to get to their deceased father’s grave and spend New Year’s Eve with him.

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