Now that New Year’s day is literally just a night’s sleep away, it’s time to look back on how the world celebrates the holiday. From Egypt to Japan, we’re listing down different countries and their version of New Year’s Day.
If you have no place to celebrate your New Year’s Day, or you don’t have anyone to spend it with, we’ve made a list of restaurants that are open during the night of December 31st. You can browse the website for the post, or you can just go to the nearest MGM Buffet and help yourself with heaps of food. Let’s go!
New Year’s Day in Japan was celebrated for the first time in 1873 when the country adopted the Gregorian Calendar. Every year since then, New Year’s Day in Japan is marked by consumption of an abundance of food. There’s a theme going on for the foods as well – all of them are either sour, sweet, or salty – they aim to preserve the food until New Year’s Day is over. Which is good news for people who don’t want leftovers.
Since Japan has a population of Buddhists, it’s not uncommon to hear bells being rung at midnight. If you’re in an area of Japan where fireworks are not the star of the show, you’ll hear temples sounding their bells. Monks ring bells 108 times and they believe this rids people of sin. If you count carefully, you can hear bells being rung only once after midnight. That’s the last sound.
New Year’s celebration in Egypt is the same as anywhere else in the world. There’s fireworks, noisy people, lots of food, and a generally happy and excited atmosphere (if you don’t mind the phosphorus in the air). However, one thing that sets Egypt apart from the rest of the world is the view. Imagine fireworks displays and the backdrop is a moonlit night, with the Giza pyramids from afar.
This view alone should impress, because you’re celebrating a Gregorian New Year’s Day, and imagining at the same time that the massive pyramidal structures are over 5000 years old.
Fun fact: Egyptian New Year is celebrated with the consumption of cabbages. Aside from prosperity, cabbages are a symbol of good luck. Most Egyptians will turn vegetarian momentarily, as dishes made of vegetable-wrapped rice become the main food attraction.
A contender for Egypt’s stunning view of the Giza Pyramids is Australia’s Sydney Harbor Bridge. Sure, it might not be 5000 years old, but the bridge will be lit with fireworks, a pyrotechnique display that cannot (and will not) be doable on the ancient Egyptian structures.
The tradition of Sydney New Year’s Eve started in the late 1990’s and the main attraction was the ingenuity of pyrotechnicians. Over the last two decades, Sydney New Year’s Eve became concurrent with major events of Australia’s history. A fireworks display in the outline of a cake celebrating Australia’s first century as a nation was televised in 2002.
So if you want a theme-heavy fireworks display, your best bet is to visit Sydney Harbor. You’d be met with wonderfully smoked meat, barbecues, and all livestock-related food. There’s also the famous Anzac biscuit that’s sort of become mandatory.
This tiny island nation located in the South Pacific ocean is special because they’re the very first country in the world to celebrate New Year. However, unlike other countries, Tonga celebrates New Year on a more personal and spiritual level. Tonga is mainly a Christian nation, so residents of the country proceed to Church and conduct spiritual activities such as praying and worship.
Tonga residents pride themselves with their beaches, and it’s usually these places that get frequented on New Year’s Day. On December 31st, locals gather to watch the sunset before the feasts start. They use traditional underground ovens to cook the food that will be shared. The most common dishes will include fresh catch seafood, roasted meats, and a variety of fruits.
These are just four countries with their cultures and traditions during New Year’s eve. If your country has a unique celebration for New Year’s eve, let us know in the comments below!