New Year’s Eve celebrations


As South Africans get ready to mark the end of 2016 and welcome in the new year, Caxton looks at the different ways and times other nations around the globe celebrate New Year’s Day.

One of the most classic New Year’s celebrations in the United States takes place in New York City. The Big Apple toasts the New Year in a variety of ways, from the ball drop in Times Square to special multi-course dinners from the city’s best celebrity chefs.

Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach in Brazil plays host each New Year’s Eve, becoming the world’s largest and wildest New Year’s celebration. More than 2 million Cariocas (Rio natives) congregate on the beach wearing stark white attire and filling a 2½ mile stretch of sand. Blending African rituals and local culture, Brazilians pay homage to Iemanja, the goddess of the sea.

Not all new year’s celebrations take place on 31 December. The Jewish New Year, called Rosh Hashanah, is in September. During this two-day festival, families eat special food, with much of the day spent in a synagog.

The Chinese celebrate their New Year in late January or early February and it is one of the most important holidays of the year. You don’t have to be Chinese to enjoy the feasting, fireworks, dragon dances, and glowing lanterns of this holiday.

The Orthodox Church in Russia and other countries such as Macedonia, Serbia, and Ukraine, celebrate the New Year on 14 January. This is a religious holiday, celebrated with family feasts.

In Vietnam the new year usually begins in February and Iran celebrates it on 21 March.

New year on the island of Bali is celebrated in March, coinciding with their lunar New Year. It’s a time to relax and unwind, with a 12-hour dedicated silence and meditation that sweeps across the island. Many cities in America also celebrate the Balinese New Year with yoga camps and meditation clinics.

Welisa Nene

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