In the states, fireworks, champagne, sparklers, Times Square and the countdown to midnight are some of the most iconic ways of celebrating the coming of the new year. Around the world, there are even more eccentric traditions. Read about some of the incredible ways you can bring in the new year if you are traveling the world, or start some new traditions at home!
South Africa is a vibrant place to ring in the new year. Parties, dancing, music and fireworks can be enjoyed by all. Beach parties along the Garden Route showcase drumming and singing. Head to Johannesburg and help a neighbor throw old refrigerators, televisions, or other appliances from the balcony, roof or window (if it fits through) but watch where you step! Lodge in a tree tent by the famous Victoria Falls and partake in the three-day carnival which features a whole host of musical artists. Never a shortage of wild and fun things to do in beautiful South Africa! For a lower-key evening, enjoy some of the areas finest, world-class wines and take it easy.
Panama is a lively country in which to celebrate! To bring in the new year in Panama, one of the most fascinating traditions calls for the burning of an effigy, or Muneco (doll stuffed with firecrackers. According to tradition, the burning of these effigies gets rid of the evils and sins of the previous year. The fireworks inside are said to help drive ghosts and evil spirits further away. This is a tradition the bold must witness, as the Munecos are usually made to represent celebrities, famous athletes, and politicians. For a much quieter tradition, eat 12 grapes at midnight and make a wish upon each grape.
It’s a pity to lump South America in one category, but many of the new year traditions are shared from country to country! This is fortunate for those on their way to multi-country tours of South America, because they won’t miss out on the fun! Some of the quirkiest South American New Year traditions include not only a lovely New Year’s Eve outfit, but lovely undergarments as well: traditionalists (or people having fun!) wear yellow underwear to welcome financial success in the incoming year, while those who wear red are opening the door to romance. In South and even Central America, it is not uncommon to see street vendors with red and yellow underwear on display in the street!
In Colombia and several other parts of South and Central America, people will carry empty suitcases to welcome a year of travel. This is a tradition that I think several of us will be trying at Yampu this year. Don’t forget to bring your empty suitcases to your New Year’s Eve party!
Although China celebrates New Year on a different day than the United States and several other countries, it is the most important celebration of the year there. It is also known as the spring festival, celebrated at the end of the lunar-solar calendar. The celebration is closely related to other neighboring countries’ lunar new years and features feasts, a lantern festival, parades, and more! It is a celebration for all of the senses full of beautiful colors, smells, tastes, and sounds!