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Published on December 29th, 2017 | by Michelle Roper-Shaw

New Year Celebrations

Wondering where and how to celebrate New Year’s Eve? Whether you are planning a quiet gathering with family and friends or going to an organised event, there are plenty of ways to celebrate in style.

Despite currently undergoing some much-needed maintenance, Big Ben is set to strike at midnight to see the New Year in. London will be celebrating with music from the legendary Chic frontman Nile Rodgers, along with the annual spectacular firework display along the river Thames.

In Edinburgh, the Hogmanay festivities take place over three days and include a Torchlight Procession on 30th December with a cast of pipers and drummers. There will be fireworks on New Year’s Eve at Edinburgh Castle at midnight and for younger revellers, a special children’s firework display, Bairns Afore will take place at 5pm.

New Year’s Eve Traditions

New Year's Eve Traditions

New Year is stoked with traditions. How many of these do you partake in?

A Rendition of Auld Lang Syne

The Scottish tune originates from the 1700s. The poet Robert Burns’ version is the one we are most familiar with today. The phrase, Auld Lang Syne translates as “times gone by”. Linking arms to make a circle whilst singing the song is a renowned tradition on New Year’s Eve. Do you remember on New Year’s Eve 1999 when The Queen did not cross her arms when singing the song? Well, contrary to public opinion the Queen was following the correct Scottish protocol where arms are not crossed.

First Footing

A Hogmanay tradition, when midnight strikes, being the first to cross your neighbour’s threshold is deemed to bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year. The visitor should bring a lump of coal (to keep the house warm), some bread (so the household would have enough to eat), some greenery (for a long life), oh and of course, a wee dram of whiskey.


This Welsh tradition occurs on New Year’s Day. Children call from door to door with well wishes for the New Year. They give away apples skewered with twigs and dried fruit known as Calennig, which is Welsh for “first day of the month”.

New Year’s Eve Midnight Kiss

Kissing a loved one at the stroke of midnight is thought to strengthen the relationship in the next year. However, the tradition is thought to have begun at the masked balls that have taken place throughout Europe for centuries. The masks represent evil spirits from the previous year and so the kiss cleanses and takes away the spirits for the new year.

More Unusual Ways to See the New Year In

twelve grapes

12 Grapes

In Spain, the twelve grape challenge is one of the more unusual New Year traditions. So, as the clock chimes for midnight, Spanish revellers will put grapes in their mouth, one grape equates to one wish for the New Year.

Bear Dancing

Romanians like to celebrate the New Year by dressing up in bear costumes. Dancing from house to house they hope to ward off evil spirits.

Plate Smashing

No, not in Greece, but in Denmark. The Danish like to smash plates outside the doors of their friends for good luck. The more smashed pieces of crockery on your doorstep the more prosperous your new year will be.

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