New Year’s Eve is one of the world’s most universally appealing celebrations. It’s a fresh start, a culmination and a thanksgiving that is open to every human on the planet. Whether you want to lose yourself in the crowd at a raucous street party or witness a tradition rich with significance, the world can dish you up a New Year’s Eve to thrill your soul.
The altruistic nature of Japan’s Shinto belief system means everyone can enjoy a spiritual beginning to the New Year. In Kyoto, the Fushimi Inari Shrine will be overflowing with people eager to accomplish hatsumode, the first shrine visit of the year. A solemn yet joyful ambience pervades the midnight crowd, a singular sensation that rivals the most extravagant celebrations for spine-tingling atmospheres. The fascinating elements of a shrine visit include ritual water purification and the bell ringing, clapping and bowing of the Shinto blessing. New Year’s Eve adds formalities such as discovering your fortune for the year ahead and purchasing charms filled with luck that expire on the following New Year’s Eve. You’re invited to join in these ancient traditions with a welcome so warm it will tug on the heartstrings.
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
In a country known for its parties, Rio de Janeiro’s Reveillon still manages to stand out as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Prepare to embrace the energy of the crowd as you join millions of white-garbed revellers on the glowing sands of Copacabana Beach for nonstop performances. When the fireworks explode at midnight, partygoers charge into the ocean to jump seven waves and cast flowers upon the water; offerings that are designed to fill the New Year with prosperity and luck. If you’d prefer to stay dry, premium beachfront hotels such as the Belmond Copacabana Palace, JW Marriot and Pestana Rio Atlantica host ticketed galas that include food, drinks and fantastic views of the fireworks. Either way, Brazil’s capital offers countless places to celebrate for as long as you can stand.
NEW YORK CITY, USA
The Times Square ball drop dates back to 1907 and is now a beloved, international New Year’s Eve phenomenon. The free show includes a superstar line up, but to guarantee a good view of the stage you’ll need to commit to showing up as early as noon on New Year’s Eve. There are no restrooms, no food vendors and no drinking permitted, but the payoff comes at midnight. The energy of the world’s most famous New Year’s Eve crowd infuses you with a rush that makes this a true, once-in-a-lifetime experience. If confetti and crowds are not for you, The City hosts plenty of magnificent events at iconic venues such as The Rainbow Room, The Plaza and Cipriani 42nd St, which grant you all the atmosphere without the squish.
It’s warm, it’s fabulous and it’s in your own backyard… Discover why so many bucket lists include Sydney in their top five New Year’s Eve destinations. Sydney’s midnight spectacular is rated among the best in the world, with over eight tonnes of fireworks illuminating the Sydney Harbour sky in plumes, waterfalls and eruptions of colour. There’s a theme to each year’s show, and regulars eagerly anticipate watching the world’s best pyrotechnicians bring a new message to life. You can expect terrific crowds, but a little pre-planning can make the millions of spectators just another part of the thrill. Choose from all-inclusive ticketed events that range from the front row Pier One Sydney Harbour party to Celebration, a fantastic LGBT event hosted on the rooftop of the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The joyful abandon of the Scottish New Year’s festivities is completely irresistible. Spend the day enjoying Viking re-enactments in Edinburgh’s cobbled streets and then join the 17,000-strong torch parade as it sparkles through the historic city centre. The street party that follows is one for the bucket list, with world-class performers and spirited ceilidh dances entertaining euphoric crowds until the wee hours of the morning. A gift is a must if you want to participate in the custom of first footing, or being the year’s first visitor to someone’s home. Traditionally this visitor should be a dark-haired man, as a fair head of hair could herald a Viking invasion. These days you’ll be welcomed either way, especially if you arrive with a bottle in hand singing Auld Lyne Sang in the mother tongue.
Make your next NYE celebration unforgettable. Talk to your local Travel Associates adviser about your itinerary.