A New Year means new possibilities and new beginnings. The start of things. A chance to do things over. On New Year’s Eve, people around the world gather to celebrate the past and toast to the future. There are many ways and places to ring in the New Year, but for something above and beyond the usual parties at the local community club, you can’t beat these global destinations. It’s not too late to start planning!
The clock strikes twelve here first. Sydney is the first major city to ring in the New Year, and the city’s yearly fireworks displays is the main highlight. It’s also the height of summer, so the atmosphere is festive, warm and tropical. The crowds start to pour in around the harbour early in the morning in order to secure a good spot from which to view the pyrotechnical displays; you can also enjoy them from the privacy of a boat moored in the Harbour, if that is more your style. But the Harbour is not the only place the party happens – there are fireworks all across the city, including Bondi Beach, as well as organised club parties, fancy hotel dinners, and the like.
The city that never sleeps hosts one of the most famous New Year Eve activities – the dropping of the ball in Times Square. You can celebrate with about a million of your closest friends under the neon lights of Time Square and be showered with confetti after the ball drops. However, the area is tightly patrolled and crowd control will be enforced – once you’re in the area, you won’t be able to leave and go back in. Despite the cold, the atmosphere in New York on New Year’s Eve is electric. Many New Yorkers prefer private house parties on New Year’s Eve – if you’re invited to one of these, go!
Forget the fancy dress, the vibe in Koh Phangan during New Year’s Eve is casual, beachy and hedonistic. This Thai island hosts the craziest New Year Eve parties in the world, with partygoers kicking up their heels (or sandals) on the beach, dancing under dimly lit lightbulbs and buying beers from beach shacks. Party headquarters are at Haad Rin beach, where there will be booze, food and music until sunrise. Rowdy revellers can sleep off their hangovers in a hammock on the beach, where crystal clear waters and white sand can soothe aching heads.
Rio de Janeiro
Put on your party hats, people! The main action happens on Copacabana Beach. Partygoers dress in white, and bring candles and offerings to the Goddess of the Sea, setting them adrift in the waves. There is the customary fireworks display at midnight, and dance and music stages will be set up along the length of the beach, which is basically turned into a 4 kilometre long nightclub. Like Sydney, Rio is in the southern hemisphere, so if bikinis and dancing all night at a beach party sound like the perfect New Year’s Eve to you, then you’ll love Rio.
Edinburgh offers something different for New Year’s Eve, a tradition called Hogmanay. There is a torchlight procession through the narrow, winding streets of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and up onto Calton Hill, where a replica of a Viking longship is burned. There is the `Night Afore`, on the 30th of December, with live music and a street carnival. And then there is Hogmanay, when the streets of Edinburgh become one huge party, with concerts located around the city centre and people drinking, dancing and singing Auld Lang Syne till the wee hours.
Where will you be when the clock strikes midnight?