How Cities Around the World Celebrate New Year’s Eve

Getting Around By Western Union Global Social December 16, 2016

New Year’s Eve is always an exciting holiday, and cities around the world each have fantastic celebrations unique to their country’s culture and traditions. For a peek into how people ring in the new year internationally, Western Union (WU) has the scoop for you on how cities around the world celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Tokyo, Japan

 If you love Japanese food, you’ll be eating plenty of it on New Year’s Eve in Tokyo. Restaurants are packed with people eating buckwheat noodles, said to bring about health and happiness. As the seconds count down to midnight, temple bells ring throughout the city, welcoming in the new year.

Crowds celebrating New Year on Times Square, NYC

New York City, USA

For more than 100 years, massive hordes of people have flocked to Times Square in New York City for the iconic annual “ball drop” at the corner of Broadway and Seventh Avenue. The Waterford® crystal ball is lowered from the former New York Times building every year before a television audience of millions, signaling the official start of the new year for many Americans.

Madrid, Spain

Every New Year’s Eve, tens of thousands of Madrileños gather in front of the clock in Puerta del Sol plaza to take in the fireworks. They also ring in the new year by eating 12 grapes, one for each stroke of the clock at midnight. If the grapes are finished before the twelfth stroke, it’s considered to be a sign of good luck for the year ahead.

Beirut, Lebanon

In the heart of central Beirut, thousands come together in Nejmeh Square to watch the light show on the 1933 art deco clock tower. As the new year rings in, fireworks burst out over the church steeples and cityscape. Those looking to avoid crowds might instead opt to book a chalet or apartment in the mountains to spend quality time with family and friends.

Fireworks, celebration of the New Year in Paris, France

Paris, France

Paris truly lives up to its nickname as the “city of light” on New Year’s Eve. At midnight, a spectacular display of fireworks bursts out from the Eiffel Tower and around the city, to the delight of hundreds of thousands of people who line the Champs-Élysées to toast with champagne to the new year.

Hong Kong, China

If you happen to be in Hong Kong on January 28th next year, you’ll be able to celebrate Chinese New Year. The city sees a unique makeover for the holiday, and a fantastic parade with floats, performers, and a spectacular fireworks display over the harbor. If you are hoping for good fortune in the year ahead, you can pray in one of the temples, or stop by a local market to buy some auspicious foods that are said to bring luck and prosperity.

No matter where you are in the world, WU would like to wish you and yours a happy, safe, and healthy New Year. Where are your favorite places to spend New Year’s Eve around the world? Let us know in the comments!