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Celebrating New Year
Celebrating New Year

The arrival of a new year is an event that has been celebrated all around the world for centuries. It is a chance to reflect on the year that has passed, and whether you were able to enjoy it or you feel glad to see it depart, it is also the occasion to get the next year off to the best start possible.

While it is a largely global tradition to mark the new year with a party, there are some amazing cultural traditions when it comes to celebrating December 31st. From smashing plates in Denmark to dressing up as bears in Romania, join us as we take a look at some New Year’s Eve traditions from around the world!

Enjoy the fireworks in Dubai

Explosive – certainly one of the only words that can adequately describe the New Year’s Eve celebrations in this glamorous city. At the stroke of midnight every year, the city explodes in a burst of colour as world-renowned landmarks like Burj Al Arab and Palm Jumeirah set off hundreds of fireworks into the sky.

It is a world-class, mesmerising sight, and combined with Dubai’s many restaurants and nightlife venues, visitors are sure to have a memorable and delightfully decadent start to the year, especially when staying at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah, or the soon-to-be-opened Emerald Palace Kempinski.

Party until late in the Seychelles

These Indian Oceanic islands might be more well known as a summer relaxation destination, but the Seychelles is also experienced in celebrating the new year.

An ideal choice for guests of the luxurious Kempinski Seychelles Resort, the celebrations take place across the islands, but reach a peak in the capital Victoria, where an electric and energetic street party takes place, with local bands and sound systems providing the entertainment and range of food and drink sellers setting up stalls throughout the town.

Visitors can also make their way down to the beach and take in the moonlit sea views and fireworks displays in the distance – definitely not your average New Year’s Eve celebration, but an amazing one nevertheless!

Jump into 2018 in Denmark

In contrast to Christmas which is spent with family, New Year’s Eve in Denmark is usually celebrated with your closest friends. After a meal of boiled cod (a traditional dish intended to be an opposite to the overindulgence of Christmas) and a dessert of an appetising marzipan ring, once the evening moves closer towards midnight many choose to declare their friendship by throwing broken crockery at their friend’s door!

This is seen as a token of appreciation on New Year’s - though the same might not be true the rest of the year! Away from smashing mugs and plates, as the clock ticks towards 12, there is often a race for the highest place in the room so that you can quite literally ‘jump’ into the new year.

Get involved in Ursul in Romania

Of all the new year’s celebrations mentioned here, this might be the most intriguing yet! Visit Romania to find that a celebration called Ursul is marked. As part of the festival, locals dress in fur and dress as bears before parading around their home towns or cities. With its roots in archaic paganism, the tradition is meant to ward off evil spirits for the coming year.

After dancing the parade route to traditional Romanian music, the bears begin to symbolically ‘die’ and roll around on the floor - this illustrates the evil spirits that they have successfully held off for the year.

Celebrate Hogmanay in Scotland

Head to the north of Europe, and you will find beautiful Scotland. With rolling hills and breathtaking coasts there is a lot to love about this wild landscape - especially when it comes to marking the new year. Scots mark the end of December with a celebration called Hogmanay.

No one knows when the celebration was first held, but it is thought to date as far back as the era of the Norsemen, when the Norse would celebrate the winter solstice. Today, the celebrations are quite different. The Scottish capital of Edinburgh hosts a three-day festival, where world-famous musicians take to the stage to entertain the crowds of party goers, but you will also find a whole host of smaller, more traditional Hogmanay celebrations too, including the ceilidh - a kind of traditional Scottish country dance.

Discover Peru - New Year’s style

Peru is a place known for its mystic traditions. Though Catholicism was introduced as the national religion by the Spanish conquistadors many hundreds of years ago, the old Inca beliefs and traditions are still maintained by many in this beautiful country - and this is certainly the case when it comes to New Year’s Eve.

Along with the tradition to wear new clothes (preferably yellow to wish for luck and happiness, or white for health and fertility), as you burn your old ones on an effigy in a bonfire (to symbolise the notion of ‘out with the old and in with the new’ for the new year), our favourite Peruvian tradition involves potatoes.

One potato is peeled, one is half-peeled, and the other is left intact - and they are hidden by a family member. At midnight, a family member chooses one potato, and this is the one which dictates the kind of year the family will have financially. Unpeeled means they will have a more prosperous year than usual, half means the same, and fully peeled means that things will be difficult.

A festival of celebration in Japan

The Japanese traditionally celebrate the arrival of a new year with a festival called Oshogatsu - with the celebrations often lasting three days. The Japanese use the term “Omisoka” to refer to New Year’s Eve – it is a time for family - many traditions that occur at this time of year are done with relatives rather than with friends.

It all begins with a large declutter and clean of the home, called osoji. This means that you start your year refreshed, and decorations made from pine, plum trees and bamboo are hung. Once everything is clean, and your work is done for the year, you are ready to enjoy the first sunrise of the new year - hatsu-hinode. Families typically observe this together, before visiting a shrine or temple, eating traditional foods, playing simple games, and opening cards - a popular part of Omisoka for the Japanese.

Take a look at our full list of destinations here, and allow Kempinski to host you for your New Year’s Eve trip.

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