Five ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve differently

WT Writer
Dec 19, 2019
Ring in this New Year’s Eve in these destinations that do it differently

Jump waves in Copacabana
With jaw-dropping firework displays, musical extravaganzas and a zesty foodie scene, it comes as no surprise that Rio de Janeiro is on the wish list for celebrating New Year’s Eve. But what makes this lively city a once-in-a-lifetime experience is its fun way to mark the occasion. When the clock strikes midnight, follow the throng of people dashing into the ocean at Copacabana beach and join in the tradition of jumping seven waves, making seven wishes as you rise and fall. The ritual honours Brazil’s Goddess of the Sea, Lemanjá, and is believed to bless your year ahead with luck, happiness and prosperity.

Blaze through Scotland 
If you’ve seen Edinburgh, head to Stonehaven, which is illuminated by a flowing sea of red and orange flames burning bright for the age-old Scottish New Year’s Eve tradition, Hogmanay. Watch in awe as a parade of men in kilts march through the city’s main streets, swinging great balls of fire around their heads before tossing them into the sea. Legend has it that the ritual helps to ward off evil spirts for the new year.

Shake it bear-style in Romania
See a troupe of people dressed as bears dance their way through the streets of Moldova to the sound of pan pipes. The locals don bear skins for this spectacle, which takes place the day before New Year’s Eve. Symbolising the death of the current year and the rebirth of a new one, the dance of the bears was born to ward off bad spirits, and is now a grizzly Romanian custom. 

Ring bells 108 times in Japan
Japan takes “ringing” in the new year to a whole different level (quite literally) with their long-standing tradition of ringing bells in Buddhist temples when the clock strikes twelve. According to the Buddhist tradition, 108 represents the number of human desires and thus, by ringing it the exact amount, you dispel negative emotions and mentalities.  If you’re in Tokyo, witness the ritual at the city’s iconic Zojoji Temple. 

Feast like a champ in Estonia
Foodies should make a beeline to Estonia to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Not only is the city exceptionally stunning, but the New Year’s Eve tradition of eating a lucky number of meals makes is a good excuse to indulge. If by a miracle you still have the capacity to eat more, don’t think you can get away with an extra meal or two — the numbers seven, nine, and 12 are considered the luckiest. 

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