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How the world celebrates New Year’s Eve

Different countries have different customs. If you are thinking of celebrating New Year’s Eve away from home, you can use the following tips to attune yourself to New Year’s Eve practices in other countries.

How the world celebrates New Year’s Eve


If you are seeking success and happiness in the New Year, you should, if in Italy, wear red underwear. In Bulgaria, on the other hand, people choose to be hit to bring about health, prosperity and happiness in the New Year: here, children go from house to house with a sprig of cornelian cherry, hitting the occupants on the back. As a thank you, they receive small gifts such as sweets, cake, fruit or loose change. In Spain, fortune comes to those who eat a grape with each stroke of midnight – i.e. twelve grapes, all in all. The world’s most natural fireworks can be seen in Lapland, Sweden. According to VisitSweden, there is a 30 percent chance of seeing Northern lights on New Year’s Eve.

South America

Anyone dressed in white at Copacabana Beach in Brazil will experience a New Year’s Eve second to none. Here, the Goddess of the Ocean bestows favours on those who throw flowers into the sea at midnight or take a dip in the waves. White is also important in Argentina. But here it refers to scrap paper. On New Year’s Eve, all old documents that are no longer needed are shredded in the offices and thrown from the windows. This symbolises leaving the past behind.

North America

Many believe that the huge New Year’s party on New York’s Time Square is the best in the world. Many Americans traditionally eat lentils or lentil soup on New Year’s Eve, as lentils look a little like coins, symbolising fortune and financial success. In Pennsylvania, where many Germans have settled in the past, Sauerkraut is also often on the menu. But you should wait until January 2nd before taking out the garbage. Because the “Nothing Goes Out” rule states that nothing should leave the house on the first day of the new year.


Chinese New Year only starts in February. But then it is celebrated extensively. The entire house is decorated with bamboo branches, red strips of paper and golden symbols of luck. All the windows are opened shortly before New Year to let in the New Year. In Japan, it is customary to sound the temple bells 108 times at midnight to drive away the 108 evil desires that humans suffer from on earth. In India you will be hard pressed to find a New Year’s celebration on December 31st. Here, New Year coincides with the Hindu festival Diwali. The festival of lights is celebrated each year in November.

South Africa

The most colourful New Year’s celebration in the world takes place in South Africa each year. Here, people dress up in carnival-like costumes and march through the streets accompanied by drummers, dancers, choirs and musicians. This is how so-called “Emancipation Day” is celebrated, on which slavery ended in 1834.

And where will you be you celebrating?

If you, too, would like to celebrate future New Year’s Eves away from home, but still in the comfort of your own four walls, visit the Engel & Völkers website for your own dream property anywhere in the world. Here you will find an extensive portfolio of properties, something for every taste - guaranteed.

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