New Year's Eve - How Expats Celebrate Around the World

Published: 31 Dec at 2 PM
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Expats New Year's Eve 2013How are expats celebrating this New Year's Eve around the world? We asked these 57 expats from 32 countries where and how they're celebrating the New Year.

From Christmas Island to American Samoa, the New Year sweeps across the world as it passes the different timezones. New Year's Eve has long been celebrated with a diverse mix of traditions by different cultures. From the superstitions of wearing red underwear and grape gobbling, to the celebrations of large firework displays coordinated with music and watched by millions, New Year's Eve is embraced with great passion the world over.

Expat tend to bring their own traditions along with them too. Some expats will embrace their new country's festivities with new-found friends, whilst others may return to their home country to be with family. Some choose to travel for the occasion. We have an interesting range of NYE plans for you to read! These expats have also kindly agreed to take a few snaps and send in their favourite, so it's worth checking here again after the New Year as we update with expat NYE pics! From everyone at ExpatsBlog.com, we wish you a very Happy New Year!

Countries are ordered by the order they reach 2013! Click on NYE pics for gallery view!

Kiwi NYE traditions

New Zealand


The first major city, Gisborne, is the first major city anywhere to see the beginning of the new year. Generall NZ cities celebrate with large street parties and fireworks displays. In Auckland, the firework show is launched from the Sky Tower and can be seen for miles around.

Who: Diane (US expat in New Zealand)
Where: 90 Mile Beach, Northland Blog listing
We're heading up to 90 Mile Beach in Northland, New Zealand -- hoping to get in some surf or just chill on the beach. On New Year's Day we're planning on driving all the way up to Cape Reinga, at the tip top of the north island!
Surfing on New Year's Eve
Surfing on New Year's Eve
UPDATE On New Year's Eve, we were down at Henderson's Bay, which is on the east side of the long peninsula at the very top of New Zealand. We were surfing here in the afternoon, and then had a picnic dinner on the beach. In the evening, we drove back to our campsite at 90 Mile Beach and had some champagne on the dunes as the sun set on 2012. It was pretty awesome - and a great place to reflect on the year that's been and the year to come. I've included a photo of my husband, Aled Evans, surfing on New Year's Eve.


Who: Sarah (British expat in New Zealand @BritMumInNZ)
Where: Wellington Blog listing
Here in Wellington, New Zealand, with our three Kiwi born daughters, we'll be counting down the New Year as a family, watching the sunset at our favourite little bay and letting off a few fireworks. We'll take a dip in the sea at Princess Bay, reflect on the year that has been, and share our hopes for the New Year.
Our New Year celebrations with children are so different to our hedonistic 'BC' days. Wellington is putting on amazing fireworks at midnight and there's a countdown for children at 9pm, but we like keeping life simple at this stage in our lives - with younger children.
After our children have bid goodnight to 2012 we'll stay up to see in the New Year - soaking in the spa pool in the garden, under a starlit sky (weather willing) to toast in 2013.
NYE at home, champagne and spa!
NYE at home, champagne and spa!
As the first day of the New Year dawns our thoughts will turn to our family and friends in the UK, counting down the last hours of 2012. We always raise our glasses to the UK when Big Ben strikes midnight - wishing our loved ones a very happy, healthy New Year - and keeping our tie to our roots alive in our children too. We will always live two lives as expats. Last year we celebrated at a 'bach' on the beach at Te Horo with my parents visiting from the UK. This year we are looking forward to them joining us on 5th January for six weeks - a wonderful start to the New Year!
UPDATE Our New Year was at home with family and neighbours, soaking in the spa pool, drinking champagne and watching the sunset from Princess Bay in Wellington. Wishing you all the very best for 2013!



Australian NYE traditions

Australia


Many events take place to celebrate NYE in Australia, including New Year's Eve balls and large fireworks displays with the Sydney harbour having 2 shows.

Who: Sami (Mozambican expat in Australia @samiveloso)
Where: Portuguese Social Club, Perth Blog listing
Our New Year will be celebrated with Portuguese friends at one of the Portuguese clubs in the northern suburbs of Perth.
This club does not have a "clubhouse", so they hire a school hall, each of us pays $20 entry fee and we take some food and drinks and everyone at the table shares.
There will be a DJ who plays all sorts of music and we all dance and enjoy ourselves till the wee hours of the morning.
This will be the 3rd year we celebrate at this club and we have fun and spend time with friends that we consider as our expat family.
Portuguese Social Club
Portuguese Social Club, Perth
UPDATE The Portuguese Social Club´s venue was full with 250 people, the theme was black and red, and most people had a tie, dress, shoes or hat with red.
The tables were decorated with had black and red cloths and balloons.
Everyone takes their own snacks, but there was a bar that served alcoholic drinks.
Just a pity the DJ ended his music at 1AM, as in other years the previous DJ played on until much later...
We still had a great time with our friends.


Who: Cyndie (French expat in Australia @MSlimalicious)
Where: Lavender Bay, Sydney Blog listing
I'll be celebrating NYE in Sydney this year, at a friend's place (in Lavender Bay), which has a view of the Opera House and of the Harbour Bridge! I'm hoping to get some beautiful photos of the fireworks!
We will have a BBQ on the afternoon/evening, swim in the pool and party!
NYE fireworks Sydney Harbour Bridge
NYE fireworks Sydney Harbour Bridge
UPDATE Here's a nice photo that I took of the fireworks over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The photo was taken from our friend's place lounge, we were lucky to get such a good view. The whole neighbourhood was packed as you can imagine and it was great to be able to enjoy the celebration from the second floor of a building!


Who: Claire (Irish expat in Australia @arabiaclaire)
Where: Swan Valley, Perth Blog listing
This will be our first Australian New Year's Eve, and will be spent dining out somewhere nice in Perth's Swan Valley, before going home to sit out on the verandah -- listening to the clicking crickets - waiting for 2013 to be ushered in. Sitting outside during the day for any length of time is impossible at present, since there is a heat wave on, so it's pleasant to be outside in the evenings, providing you have plenty of mozzie spray that is!


Who: Marianne (British expat in Spain @eastofmalaga)
Where: Sydney Blog listing
Well, I am far away from Spain right now celebrating Christmas and New Year in Sydney, Australia with my hubby. We are house/pet sitting two lovely rag doll kittens in Sydney in exchange for free accommodation, and are taking the opportunity to tick off one very large item from our Bucket List - to see the Sydney New Year's Eve fireworks in person!
Earlier this week, we also saw the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race from Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day. Not bad, huh? I'll let you know how we get on with one million other people at the firework display!
NYE at Blues Point Reserve
NYE at Blues Point Reserve
UPDATE The weather was kind to us as we embraced the New Year at the Blues Point Reserve with a fantastic view of the Harbour Bridge, and Sydney Opera House just beyond. We were treated to two aerobatic flying displays and various water features before sunset, and at 9pm came the first of the two firework events, especially for the children. There was a friendly, festive atmosphere amongst the throngs of people all waiting for this world-famous event to begin. As the midnight hour finally approached, a pair of red lips appeared on the bridge to shout out the final ten-second countdown before fireworks erupted from the bridge, barges throughout the Harbour, and from within the city, lighting up the night sky all around us. This was one firework party I will never forget! Happy New Year from Down Under - or Feliz Año Nuevo as we say in Spain!



Hong Kong NYE traditions

Hong Kong


Large celebrations take place along the harbour in Central, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui. As in New York, a ball-drop takes place in the Times Square shopping mall in Hong Kong!

Who: Nicole (Australian expat in Hong Kong @nicoledwebb)
Where: Hong Kong Blog listing
While New Year's Eve in Hong Kong doesn't rank up there with the big kahuna, Chinese New Year, there is no shortage of celebrating in the city that never sleeps!
Parties take place in premium spots around town and there's an impressive fireworks display on Victoria harbour when the clock strikes midnight.
I can't promise I'll see them as I'll be with my two year old toddler Ava...but there's every chance this little hyped-up blondie will join us for the extravaganza.
Being in hotels, my husband has to work, so we'll tag along to the W hotel for the "Countdown Louder" party in the very hip Woo Bar. It's all the wine and cheese you can eat....now that's my kind of celebration.



Malaysian NYE traditions

Malaysia


A major government-sponsored Ambang Tahun Baru celebration is held at Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur, with the event broadcast live on both government and private TV stations. There are also many NYE countdown parties at big shopping malls and landmarks, with a famous fireworks display at the Petronas Towers.

Who: Doc Gelo (Filipino expat in Malaysia @docgelo)
Where: Butterworth, Penang Blog listing
I just came home from a solo backpacking trip to Chiang Mai but nothing beats to be home again and yes, we had a blast with our Christmas as I celebrated it with my wife and our son in Mariott Hotel in Kuala Lumpur and enjoyed Christmas Masquerade Lunch Buffet at Shook in Starhill Gallery (which I am blogging now) on Christmas Day itself. As of NYE, my wife, Cristina and our son, Gabby and I will be celebrating it at our home here in Butterworth, Penang.
NYE celebrations at home
NYE celebrations at home
UPDATE As my family and I already had a blast with our grandest Christmas celebration in Kuala Lumpur for almost a week last year, we opted to celebrate New Year's Eve at home with simple yet satisfying midnight meal. My wife, Tina, our 8-year-old-son, Gabby and I trooped to the grocery on the afternoon of December 31st and joined the shopping rush. Because it's a Filipino tradition and Asian belief to prepare something round and circle on the dining table to represent infinite blessings and money all year round, we had fruits (should've been 13 in count to symbolize 12 months and an extra for prosperity), cheese flavored pita and Tina prepared some homecooked sushi all from scratch. Odd combination, I know but it worked for the three of us! We also wore red on New Year's Eve, the color that's considered very auspicious to symbolize good fortune and joy. And just before we feasted on what we prepared, we watched the fireworks in various spots in Penang Island from our 11th floor apartment's balcony. It's our very first time to celebrate NYE abroad and despite we're away from our beloved Philippines, what matters most was the fact that we're together as a family in this meaningful season!


Who: Monica (Australian expat in Malaysia)
Where: Kuala Lumpur Blog listing
Kuala Lumpur Fireworks 1
Kuala Lumpur Fireworks
I'm not a fan of huge crowds, increased prices and people who can't handle their alcohol so... we usually like to spend NYE with friends. This year we'll most likely spend NYE at a friend's home with good food, wine and company.
UPDATE Here are a few snaps of NYE in KL. We ended up making some cocktails at home and watching the fireworks from our balcony.



Indonesia NYE traditions

Indonesia


Indonesians celebrate New Year's Eve with their families and friends. In Jakarta there’s a music show, countdown and fireworks and this year its first NYE street festival, for which the traditional trumpet makers have been extra busy. Happy New Year in Indonesian is selamat tahun baru.

Who: Ana (Mexican expat in Indonesia)
Where: Jakarta Blog listing
NYE party in Jakarta
NYE party in Jakarta
We have been invited to three different New Year's Party hosted by our expat friends. We are still deciding which one to hit since the main roads will be closed in Jakarta and there's no way we can move around!
UPDATE After much discussion, we ended up going to the closest party to our place. Boy, are we glad we did! Friends told us they got stuck in traffic a la Jakarta Style for about 3 hours! We had a fun soiree full of delectable food, festive champagne, very noisy Indonesian trumpets and amazing friends. We wish everyone an awesome 2013!



Thai NYE traditions

Thailand


The Thai New Year is actually celebrated on 13 April, although many also celebrate the Gregorian New Year on 1 January too! A family dinner followed by parties and fireworks are commonplace. The largest events take place at the CentralWorld Square at CentralWorld in downtown Bangkok, and the Pattaya Beach in Pattaya. The Thai New Year traditions include visiting grandparents for good luck and throwing water at each other! Happy New Year in Thai is สวัสดีปีใหม่ (sawatdii pimaï).

Who: Amanda R. (US expat in China @2americanschina)
Where: Bangkok Blog listing
My husband and I will be celebrating from Bangkok, Thailand. This will be our first vacation in Asia outside of China and we are really excited to see something different. We are looking forward to seeing a huge fireworks show in the capital city. I'll be sure to post lots of pics the day after.



Cambodian NYE traditions

Cambodia


With ever greater numbers of tourists and expats, New Year's Eve celebrations have become increasingly popular in Cambodia, although the event is not a traditional Cambodian festival. Happy New Year in Khmer (or Cambodian) is sur sdei chhnam thmei.

Who: Ashley (US expat in Cambodia @DearLadyExpat)
Where: Phnom Penh Blog listing
Can't wait to spend my first NYE in Phnom Penh floating down the river surrounded by new friends. The night's going to begin at the Riverside apartment of a friend of a friend, complete with rooftop bbq. Around 9 pm, a gaggle of us will wander towards the boat that we've booked to cruise up and down the Tonle Sap, speakers declaring our celebratory mood and esky bursting as the fireworks shout about it being 2013. NYE has often been an overhyped holiday in my past experience, but somehow I think this year will live up to my mighty high expectations!



Pakistani NYE traditions

Pakistan


31 December/1 January is marked in Pakistan by festivities and fireworks. In Karachi, people visit the beaches at night and use low intensity fireworks to enjoy the new year. However, it is far more common to engage in what is known as 'aerial firing' to express one's joy. As Pakistan is an Islamic country, they also celebrate New Year's Eve on the first day of Muharram.

Who: Sabba (British expat in Saudi Arabia @jeddahblog)
Where: Lahore Blog listing
I'll be celebrating NYE with family back in Lahore, Pakistan. We will most likely be watching worldwide celebrations on TV and indulging in traditional food



UAE NYE traditions

UAE


Nowadays, Dubai’s main NYE celebratory event is the fantastic Burj Khalifa fireworks display which attracts countless visitors from elsewhere in the UAE and abroad. Happy New Year in Arabic is عام سعيد

Who: Samantha (Cypriot expat in United Arab Emirates @foodivaworld)
Where: Rivington Grill, Dubai Blog listing
Dubai NYE fireworks
Dubai NYE fireworks
I will be dining with friends at Rivington Grill in Downtown Dubai overlooking the world's tallest tower (Burj Khalifa) and the magical fountains where at midnight we shall see fireworks and a spectacular show on the lake. I will be tweeting at midnight from @foodivaworld


Who: Mrs Dubai (British expat in United Arab Emirates @mrsdubai)
Where: Dubai Blog listing
There’s a lot to choose from in terms of New Year’s entertainment in Dubai. Even if you don’t want to fork out for one of the ridiculously expensive all-inclusive restaurant packages, you can watch fireworks from the beach, drive into the desert for a wild night in the dunes, or fight the crowds to see the Burj Khalifa’s stupendous fireworks up close.
But I prefer to spend New Year’s Eve at home with friends. It’s become a tradition to play games while we wait for midnight to roll around, and my favourite New Year’s game is remote-controlled speedboat racing in the swimming pool – I’ve no idea why we only do it once a year as it’s great fun. You won’t believe how competitive it gets, but no-one’s fallen in yet…
This year there’ll be just six of us for dinner then, just before midnight, we’ll climb carefully up to the roof of our friends’ villa, from where we’ll watch the fireworks both from the Burj Al Arab and the Burj Khalifa. DH and I will walk home, tipsy, in the moonlight – and, call me a party pooper, but I’ll be in bed by a quarter to one.


Who: Sine (German expat moving from South Africa to USA @sthieme)
Where: Dubai Blog listing
We are traveling our NYE :-) We are spending it in Dubai, a place we had never been to before. We are en route moving from Johannesburg, South Africa, where we have spent the last 3 years living a wonderful life, to the Nashville, TN area in the U.S.A., where we will live from now on. Dubai seemed like a good interlude to bridge the two. We will likely watch the fireworks at Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, on New Year's Eve.



South African NYE traditions

South Africa


In South Africa, church bells are rung and gunshots fired to welcome the New Year and wherever they can South Africans party. Happy New Year in Afrikaans is gelukkige nuwejaar.

Who: Mireille (US expat in South Africa)
Where: Johannesburg Blog listing
We are celebrating NYE in Johannesburg with friends from all over the world, all expats who live here. Our theme of the party is the 2 greatest summer colors of this season Fuschia and Orange and our theme for food and drinks is, bubbles and a lucky food dish from your home country. We will be celebrating it with a group of 50-70 people and food from all over the world.


Who: Suzanne (Welsh expat in South Africa @chickenruby)
Where: Near Centurion Park Blog listing
This year we've had numerous offers. We accepted the first one that came our way and probably out of the other offers our preferred choice as it happens. I don't know what the customs are here in South Africa. Should I turn up with a piece of coal, expect everyone to know the words to Auld Lang Syne? All I know is we've been invited to a Braai, bring your own meat, drink and snack bowl for the table.



Turkish NYE traditions

Turkey


Interestingly, you'll find that the houseware decorations normally associated with Christmas are used to celebrate the New Year in Turkey, with shops having a New Year Day section called Yılbaşı Ürünleri. Christmas trees are popular on New Year's Eve in Turkey! Celebrations see parties both at home or out in the clubs. Traditionally, lots of sweet things are eaten to ensure the "New Year is sweet" including a New Year's Eve cake with chestnuts. One tradition sees Turks sprinkling salt on their front doorstep at midnight. As with other countries, wearing red underwear brings luck for the New Year!

Who: Ellen (US expat in Turkey @ElleninTurkey)
Where: Baki Beach, Konyaalti Blog listing
There are many ways to celebrate New Year's Eve in Antalya, from elegant restaurants and five-star hotels to downtown bars with live bands. But I'm spending the evening with friends on Baki Beach in Konyaalti, where we'll have a campfire and make our own music.



German NYE traditions

Germany


New year's Eve, known as Silvester, sees Germans celebrating at parties and fireworks displays - the largest being held in Berlin with an attendance of over one million people. The drink of choice is Sekt or Champagne. Traditions include molten lead being dropped into water, with the shape determining the future; and some food is left on their plates till just after midnight to see good food provisions for the coming new year! The German for Happy New Year is Frohes neues Jahr.

Who: Laurel (Canadian expat in Germany @Laurel_Robbins)
Where: Weisbaden Blog listing
I will be celebrating NYE in a small village near Weisbaden in Germany with my new German family. It will be a quiet night filled with board games and best of all, cheese fondue.


Who: Carole (British expat in Germany @ExpatChild)
Where: Berlin Blog listing
I'll be celebrating New Year's Eve at our neighbour's house, with food imported especially from the UK (apparently!) and will set off a bumper load of fireworks at midnight - got to keep up with the rest of Berlin! My husband and daughter will be at the party, although my mother - who stays with us over the festive season - has volunteered to look after our dog that evening. I shall probably end up popping back and forth to ensure everyone is happy.



Swiss NYE traditions

Switzerland


New Year’s Eve celebrations vary across the country from the "Altjahresel" parade in Schwarzenburg or the parade of lanterns in Wil, to torchlight descents by ski instructors and parties in a resort and fantastic fireworks displays in Zurich. Happy New Year in Swiss-German is es guets Nöis.

Who: Rachel (British expat in Switzerland @farfromhomemama)
Where: Zurich Blog listing
This year, it will be soft drinks at home rather than heading in to Zurich to see the fireworks. With our second child due any day now, we're on full alert and ready to make a quick dash to the hospital.


Who: Tatiana (Canadian expat in Switzerland @TatianaLouise)
Where: Zurich Blog listing
Center of Utrecht fireworks
Center of Utrecht fireworks
My husband and I will be having a low-key New Year's Eve in Switzerland. With lots of fondue (as is the tradition here along with raclette) and watching fireworks from our balcony. We have a perfect view of the official fireworks over the city but also an amazing view of a lot of locals putting on their own fireworks displays leading up to midnight. The Swiss seem to love fireworks more than most people.
UPDATE Nothing says welcome 2013 in Switzerland like church bells and the haze that lays over the city from too many fireworks!



Austrian NYE traditions

Austria


New Year's Eve sees bands, concerts and fireworks throughout Austria. Vienna has the Imperial Ball and the concert by the Vienna Symphony, both of which are extremely popular. The streets also see concerts and much partying! In Austrian, Happy New Year is Ein gutes neues Jahr.

Who: Kristina (US expat in Austria @lamarcellina)
Where: Tiroler Landestheater in Innsbruck Blog listing
Production photo, Ein Walzertraum by Rupert Larl
Production photo, Ein Walzertraum by Rupert Larl
I am spending New Year's Eve at work — on the stage! Those of us who work in opera houses in the German-speaking countries will often be called upon to sing a performance on New Year's Eve (called Sylvester here, as it's Saint Sylvester's feast day), most likely some operetta. My theater, the Tiroler Landestheater in Innsbruck, Austria, recently premiered a production of Oscar Straus' "Ein Walzertraum", and that's what we'll be doing next Monday evening. My boyfriend will be visiting from Germany and will be in the audience. Afterwards there will be a quick toast of champagne behind the curtain, and then (by the time I get out of my costume, wig and make-up it's past 10:30) my beau and I will go out and see the fireworks from the street, or join colleagues for a "Prosit Neujahr". Sometimes we just go home and crash. All of Innsbruck will sound like a battle zone, with all manner of fireworks going off, until after 1:30, when the kids finally get tired of setting them off.


Who: Emily (US expat in Austria @EmilyQCalle)
Where: Vienna Blog listing
Vienna's Inner City NYE
Vienna's Inner City NYE
Vienna's Inner City does a beautiful job of celebrating "Silvester", with lots of live, free music and fireworks at midnight. They close down a lot of the streets to cars and create a massive pedestrian area downtown which is packed with people celebrating. Assuming the weather cooperates, we'll bundle up ourselves and the kids and wander around to enjoy the festivities. It's the same thing we did last year, and we had a wonderful time!
UPDATE We went out and wandered around Vienna's hopping street party until about 10:30. At that point, the kids had had enough, so we came home, but we got to enjoy the fireworks from our kitchen window. Happy New Year! Welcome to 2013!



Polish NYE traditions

Poland


NYE, known as Sylvester, after legend has it that Pope Sylvester I foiled the plans of a dragon to devour the world in year 1000! Poles celebrate at home or at large outdoor concerts (with fireworks) such as the one held in the Main Square in Krakow. Others head for the mountains to celebrate the New Year. Happy New Year in Polish: Szczesliwego Nowego Roku.

Who: Kelley (US expat in Poland)
Where: Bydgoszcz Blog listing
In Poland we will be here at home hosting a party with family and friends. Then at midnight we will be shooting off fireworks much like the 4th of July in the USA.



French NYE traditions

France


La Saint-Sylvestre is celebrated in France with a feast for family and friends called le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre, which traditionally includes duck/goose and lots of wine/champagne! The French for Happy New Year is Bonne année.

Who: Diane (US expat in France @dagsditom)
Where: Bretagne Blog listing
Since I'm an expat in France and love the Bretagne region, we're heading up to the Quimper area for a nice, relaxing week. New Year's Eve is also my birthday so it'll be great to get away. I love exploring new towns in France -- they're all very charming and special in their own way. Now let's just hope it doesn't rain!


Who: Jo (French expat in England @Britishette)
Where: Paris Blog listing
NYE Paris dinner
NYE Paris dinner
For NYE, I am back home in Paris and will be celebrating with my friends from there. I am hosting a big diner for 20 of us at my parents' home. Everyone is bringing a dish so it will be a fun mix of French food (including oysters, foie gras, duck and gratin dauphinois).
UPDATE As promised a picture of our NYE's dinner. We had a blast all night and I was thrilled to ring 2013 with my friends. Looking forward to this exciting year (i am the 6-months pregnant lady in the front!)


Who: Milsters (Canadian expat in France @MilstersMac)
Where: Tignes Blog listing
I'll be celebrating NYE in Tignes, a ski resort in the French Alps, where the DJ Martin Solveig will be playing. I am heading there with my partner and some friends!


Who: Sara (US expat in France @SaraLouiseLPV)
Where: Provence Blog listing
The cheese plate!
The cheese plate
I'll be spending NYE with my husband and French in-law's and a couple of their German friends at a cozy, family-owned restaurant in the little village in Provence that I live in. We'll be ringing in 2013 with Kir Royals, Champagne, fois gras, and lots and lots of cheese!
UPDATE Our evening at the local restaurant in Le Petit Village was a blast and the six course meal was Michelin worthy! It was an exquisite way to kick off 2013.
I've attached a photo of the menu and the cheese plate, both were impressive.


Who: Rosemary (Australian expat in France @AussieFrance)
Where: Closerie Falaiseau, Blois Blog listing
For New Year, we're going down to Closerie Falaiseau, our Renaissance home in Blois to finish renovating our 400-year-old fireplace and when it's finished - hopefully by the end of the week - we'll sabre our vintage champagne, cut a slice of our home-made foie gras and wish in 2013 in the front of a blazing fire.



Dutch NYE traditions

Netherlands


On the evening of December 31, may people hold or attend parties to celebrate the end of the past year and welcome the New Year. In some towns and cities, public parties are held or public bonfires to burn Christmas trees are lit. Fireworks are let off at midnight. The Dutch for Happy New Year is Gelukkig Nieuwjaar.

Who: Olga (Polish expat in Netherlands @TheEuropeanMama)
Where: Home Blog listing
We're planning to spend it with my parents-in-law at our home in the Netherlands. We may make pierogi (Polish dumplings), but since we haven't talked about our plans yet, we just have to wait and see whether they will be interested.
Our walk
Our walk
UPDATE Here's my NYE story. I ended up not really celebrating NYE this year because I came down with pregnancy-related acid reflux, and hadn't gotten much sleep the night before. I tried to stay up until 12 but in the end I gave up and just went to bed, while my husband, his parents, and his brother with wife celebrated downstairs with champagne and some olieballen (a delicious, Dutch, NYe treat, similar to donuts). I could hear the fireworks while lying in my bed and they kept me up for a while, but I soon drifted off to sleep.In the end, this is not the NYE I imagined, but I got my sleep and it was all that counted. I felt slightly better the next day. The weather was nice (cold and sunny) so we went for a nice long walk at the beach, and we then made the pierogi that we had planned for NYE. They took some time to prepare but they were delicious!


Who: Alison (US expat in Netherlands @AliBess)
Where: Utrecht Blog listing
We generally have a quiet NYE at home, but we still have our own traditions. My boyfriend is from Italy - from the area where lasagne originated - so it has become our personal tradition to have his excellent lasagne for NYE dinner. And lots of good wine, of course! Here in the Netherlands, the big NYE tradition is to set of tons of tons of fireworks at midnight. They're all set off by random people, rather than officially organized shows, yet the variety and style of fireworks set off is amazing! In past years, we've spent the day trying to soothe our dog, who was frightened of all of the explosions, although we could watch many of them from our window. Unfortunately, this year our dog passed away a week before Christmas. Fortunately, our cats are ok with the fireworks, so we may leave them at home this year and go for a walk through the old city center of Utrecht to view the many fireworks. Then we'll go home and drink some sparkling wine and eat oliebollen (fried balls of dough covered in powdered sugar). They're a traditional Dutch dessert on New Year's Eve.
Center of Utrecht fireworks
Center of Utrecht fireworks
UPDATE Despite wet and windy weather, we - and many others - headed outside just before midnight to ring in the new year in the center of Utrecht. Oliebollen (Dutch fried dough treats) were being offered around, and the tradition of fireworks being set off anywhere and everywhere by everybody continued. There were some great shows, and despite the rain, I managed to get a few photos of the fireworks over the Oudegracht, the old canal that runs through the city. Overall we had a great start to the new year.



Italian NYE traditions

Italy


In Italy, the La Festa di San Silvestro is a great celebration, with a festive meal including lentils and in many areas a cotechino, a large spiced sausage, or a zampone, stuffed pig's trotter. Fireworks mark the beginning of the new year, with Naples generally putting on one of the most spectacular displays. Italian for Happy New Year is felice anno nuovo.

Who: Michelle (US expat in Italy)
Where: Spello Blog listing
For New Year's Eve (known as "Notte di San Silvestro" as San Silvestro's saint's day is on December 31st, so he is said to close the door to the old year), I'll be attending a "cenone" (big dinner) at the home of my Italian teacher's friend. I haven't actually met this friend, so I wondered how she thought to invite me, and my Italian teacher said that I have my written blog, and he is his own blog. He told her about me, and our family's move to Spello, and now we are going to eat lentils with pig legs together. Along with many other dishes, my Italian teacher tells me his friend is quite the chef—when I wondered how to make "cotiche" (pig skin soup), he called her and our entire lesson was spent in discussion of this regional specialty. Which was fun, until everyone in town started calling me "cotiche". Kind of like my husband is called "Obama". I think I'd prefer being called Obama.
The Notte di San Silvestro will purportedly include a rousing game of "tombola" (Italian progressive bingo). I expect my children will crash on the couches, and we'll need to wake them to see the fireworks in Assisi, Perugia, and Foligno from the hilltop garden.
Sitting down to cenone
Sitting down to cenone

UPDATE Sitting down to cenone - a large dinner. Only large dinner doesn't begin to describe it. My son was under the impression the antipasti was the whole dinner and thought that was huge (everything from octopus salad to balls of ricotta rolled in nuts). But then came the pasta with shrimp. And the lemon gelato in prosecco. Then the lamb. And turkey. And eggplant parmesan. Then the obligatory lentils with zampone (which was fabulous). Then the desserts (four of them, including the most amazing homemade cannoli). The four hour meal flew by, and after fireworks we somehow mustered the energy to play tombola. And then crawled home at 1:30.


Who: Catherine (Australian expat in Italy)
Where: Dolomites Blog listing
I'll be at a ski resort in the Dolomites - lots of prosecco, mad telemark skiing, dancing with Slovenians (and local Italian mountain folk!) and mulled wine! We are now beginning serious festivities here. My jeep is in the garage - it broke down before Christmas! - and we have driven up to the Dolomites in a washing machine with a couple of pedals... It's snowy and cold and we have have five bottles of prosecco lined up on the window. Two down so far! No skis but some dancing is expected at a ski lodge at the bottom of the slopes... Good wishes to all!
Dolomites NYE
Dolomites NYE
UPDATE We started out with five bottles of prosecco on the window sill and now there is only one bottle of locally brewed fragolino for whoever survived last night. It wasn't the worst of nights, meaning no one ended up a tree or lost their way home. We arrived late beneath the moonlit Civetta resort, lined up our bottles outside and began. Fireworks were on time at various points in the village, and we took a chilly walk in the streets towards the local disco (filled with non-locals and understandably overpriced) beneath the last fireworks while we continued to swig. No driving on this perilous icy night and home not too late to warm up with cinnamon tea and confused resolutions. Some of us are still in bed, some will suffer today with massive hangovers, and some of us are venturing out to the empty slopes for some stylish skiing. Good wishes to all and hope you have a healthy, inspired 2013 ahead!!


Who: Liz (US expat in Italy @villageinumbria)
Where: Allerona, Umbria Blog listing
In my little village in Umbria, we're just having a small family celebration, partly because we have a 13-month-old who will (hopefully) be asleep long before midnight. We play tombola, which is a bingo-like game played only around Christmas and New Year’s. We play with money but the stakes are low; one usually needs just .50 centesimos to ante up.
The other traditions in my family are to wear red underwear for good luck, and to eat zampone con lenticchie. That’s a pork sausage stuffed in a pig’s foot, served with lentils. I’m down with the red underwear and the lentils, but I still haven’t brought myself to try the pig’s foot sausage.



Belgian NYE traditions

Belgium


NYE is called Sint Sylvester Vooranvand or Saint Sylvester Eve. At family parties, kisses and good luck greetings are exchanged at midnight, toasting the New Year and absent relatives/friends with champagne. New Year day is called Nieuwjaarsdag, children write letters to their parents and god parents on decorated paper.

Who: Barbara (Polish expat in Belgium @Shinethroughme)
Where: Brussels Blog listing
NYE party pic
NYE party pic
My NYE part this year will happen exceptionally in Brussels. Normally, we try and leave the city but this year we decided to lay low. I'll be going to a friend's house for a big party. The theme of the night will be Movies and so people will be dressed up as movie stars. I'll be dressed up as a cowgirl, yep, that's right, not very Polish of me;) I will have it all: cowboy boots, flannel shirt and a bold red lip! Pics to follow! Have fun at your NYE party!
UPDATE The evening was really cool, we practically danced the night away!


Who: Maxcie (South African expat in Belgium @whyiamnotskinny)
Where: Brussels Blog listing
We will ringing in the New Year in Brussels, Belgium with Spanish (and other global) friends... and will therefore be devouring 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight :)
NYE with a few friends
NYE with a few friends
UPDATE We had a wonderful NYE with a few friends (Welsh, Portuguese, Spanish, Australian & South African) in Brussels, Belgium (a truly global city!).... hosted by our Spanish friend. Lots of tapas and tasty treats... followed by watching the countdown on spanish telly while sipping glasses of champagne and just before the clock struck 12... we ate each of our 12 grapes making wishes for the year 2013!



Spanish NYE traditions

Spain


A family dinner usually kicks off the New Year's Eve celebrations. The New Year countdown is often followed from the Casa de Correos building clock in Puerta Del Sol square, Madrid. Tradition sees everyone put one grape in their mouth for each chime of the clock before it strikes midnight, giving the person good luck for the next year. This provides amusing moments as each person ends up with 12 grapes in their mouth at the start of the New Year! Spanish for Happy New Year is feliz año nuevo.

Who: Anna (British expat in Spain @MajorcanPearls)
Where: Fornalutx, Mallorca Blog listing
On 'Nochevieja' I'll be with my husband Alan and son Ollie and a group of Mallorcan and expat friends in the Mallorcan mountain village of Fornalutx. A public party is thrown with complimentary oompah band and Spanish champagne (cava). Just before midnight strikes all of us are given twelve green grapes to gobble down at each chime of the clock! Everyone dances and shares hugs and greetings of 'Molts d'anys' meaning many years. It's a wonderfully fun and joyous occasion.


Who: Heidi (US expat in Spain)
Where: Almuñécar Blog listing
At this point we plan to spend NYE in our little village of Almuñécar at home. We hear the tradition is to spend time with your family. At the stroke of midnight eat one grape with each "gong" and follow it up with a glass of Cava. This is for good luck, so we are going to go with the flow in Spain!
NYE 2012 #1
NYE 2012
UPDATE We gathered with the locals in the town square of Almuñecar, Spain. Adorned in our sparkly head wear and streamers. At the stroke of midnight we, along with all of the others gathered, quickly gobbled up 12 grapes. Each grape was eaten with the "gong" of the clock. This was quite the challenge and loads of fun. Many followed up with a glass of Cava and loud cheers! Fireworks were abundant until the wee hours of the morning. It was a magical night for us all.


Who: Vicky (British expat in Spain @phoenixmediavic)
Where: Andratx, Mallorca Blog listing
I will be celebrating in our village. We are a mish mash of different nationalities so it will be an eclectic affair. I am very happy to announce that the main party will be thrown by our local Scots John and Sandy so we are assured of a good do. There will be about six or seven different nations represented on the evening including Spanish, German, Danish, American, French and Italian, so it could get very messy deciding which New Year to celebrate. In the morning at sunrise it is the tradition in Andratx (which is our local municipality) to gather in the plaza and drink hot chocolate and eat ensaimadas. I hope despite the crisis that this happens! We´ll see.



Slovak NYE traditions

Slovakia


While "Silvester" celebrations take place in hotals, in the mountains or at home, the New Year is often seen in with fireworks and toasts in city or town squares. Wish Happy New Year in Slovak by saying šťastný nový rok.

Who: Julie (US expat in Slovakia)
Where: Bratislava Blog listing
My husband and I will be celebrating New Years alone in Bratislava, Slovakia after a family Christmas in the US. We'll walk down to the Danube where, I'm told, the fireworks are usually visible for 30 or so seconds before they become cloaked in fog and smoke. Many Slovaks live in Bratislava for work, but return to their home villages over the holidays. Often, Slovaks don't fill the city on holidays. I'm sure the city will be full of European fun seekers taking advantage of our cheap, plentiful and fantastic beers.
Bratislava New Year's Fireworks
Bratislava New Years Fireworks
UPDATE Bratislava celebrations tend to be simple and quaint, like our city. This New Years Eve celebration was no exception. The main square in the pedestrian core of old town buzzed as toddlers through grannies swayed to a Slovak band performing on the temporary stage. Stalls surrounding the square sold hot mulled wine and head bands decorated with blinking devil horns and stars. On a temporary ice rink skaters swirled around the small oval. The atmosphere was fun and festive, a big neighborhood party filled with family and friends. Fireworks began well before midnight and lasted an hour afterwards. They shot off in pods, illuminating neighborhoods throughout the city. From our spot on the Stary Most (Old Bridge) which crosses the Danube, we watched the display downtown above the caste. The sky was crisp and cloudless, a perfect backdrop. As we turned to leave, a Slovak man standing near us wished us a "Very Happy New Year" in broken, endearing English. Happy New Year from Bratislava, Slovakia!



English NYE traditions

England


Tradition has it that the first male visitor to the house after midnight is supposed to bring good luck - he brings money, bread and coal, gifts to ensure the family will have plenty of these in the new year. It is considered bad luck if the first person to enter the house is a woman, blond or red-haired. Celebrations include parties, events and firework displays, with the largest display taking place over the Thames in London. People gather in Trafalgar square to hear Big Ben chime at midnight.

Who: Muriel (French expat in England @FrenchYumMummy)
Where: London Blog listing
I will be celebrating NYE in London at my house -we will have a party with family and a few friends. Then we will go and see the fireworks on the Thames. I can't wait, but I hope that it won't rain!
NYE fireworks over Thames
NYE fireworks over Thames
UPDATE I wish you all the best for 2013! I don't know what's in store this year, so I suppose that we will just have to wait and see. And keep a positive mental attitude. Easier said than done, I must admit. As for me, I don't know where I belong any more, but, honestly, who cares? Never before has my home country been so polarised, and all French living abroad are seen as tax exiles. How funny! The thing is, I am happier here. I sometimes wonder why. Something to do with the fact that I feel less judged. One thing is for sure, it is not because of the weather, because the last few days have been a wash-out. But what would I do without the Tate Britain and chocolate croissants? I wonder. And yes, I have a French accent, but who doesn't have an accent in London?




Welsh NYE traditions

Wales


Cardiff sees the biggest NY celebrations with all manner of entertainment including the usual fireworks and live music, but also funfairs and ice-skating! There is a spectacular Family Fire Show in Cardiff Castle too. Other celebrations see the parading of the Mari Lwyd through the streets of certain towns in Glamorgan and Gwent, and the Two Rivers Folk Festival in Chepstow. Every NYE a 5km run takes place in Mountain Ash (South Wales) called the Nos Galan road race. A Welsh tradition called Calennig sees the New Year gift giving of bread and cheese, skewered apples with raisins and fruit. The Welsh for Happy New Year is blwyddyn newydd dda.

Who: Muriel (British expat in Portugal @juliedawnfox)
Where: North Wales Blog listing
My husband and I have done the annual xmas pilgrimage to visit family and friends in the UK. We're staying at my dad's house in north Wales with my stepchildren, my brother and his girlfriend and will probably have a little party to see in the New Year and a big family roast dinner on 1st Jan.




Ivory Coast NYE traditions

Ivory Coast


Côte d’Ivoire sees the New Year in with fireworks and parties much as they do around the world. As the language spoken is French, Happy New Year is bonne année in the Ivory Coast.

Who: Jeanette (US expat in Ivory Coast @global_grazers)
Where: Assouinde Blog listing
We will be spending our New Year's Eve at the beach in Assouinde! There will be huge bonfires and crackers on the beach at midnight and the village fishermen will visit all of the homes on the beach, singing, dancing and offering New Year's libations -- prayers to God and the ancestors for a prosperous year to come.



Brazilian NYE traditions

Brazil


New Year's Eve is the most important day for the people of Brazil. New Year celebrations are marked with live music and dance shows, fireworks and crackers. The world famous Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro is overcrowded with people, usually dressed in white to bring good luck for the New Year. Wish Happy New Year in Brazil by saying feliz ano novo.

Who: Raf (Belgian expat in Brazil @MotoToursBrazil)
Where: Barra do Piraí, Rio de Janeiro Blog listing
I'm married to a Brazilian, and traditionally, we spend NYE in at her grandmother's house the small neighbourhood in Barra do Piraí in the interior of Rio de Janeiro State. The whole family gets together and we'll have churrasco (BBQ) and at midnight there we'll have champagne (or something that resembles it), and fireworks will go off all over the bairro. Not as spectacular as the Copacabana fireworks, but it has its own charm.



Dominican NYE traditions

Dominican Republic


Tradition sees the thorough cleaning of the house before the New Year starts to ensure good luck! No cleaning takes place on New Year's Day, as this would sweep away the good luck. Old brooms are thrown away, with a new one brought into the house on New Year's Day. NYE celebrations typically see a big family dinner with gifts exchanged.

Who: Lindsay (British expat in Dominican Republic @lindsaydefeliz)
Where: Home Blog listing
For New Year's Eve my Dominican husband will be cooking a san cocho which is one of the national dishes in the Dominican Republic, made of different meats and a whole variety of root vegetables and flavoured with fresh coriander. It is often cooked for special occasions. It cooks for ages on top of the stove so that the meat is very tender and the vegetables thicken the stock. He will invite various friends to come and share it, probably at the last minute, and we will eat, chat, play dominoes and dance to welcome in the New Year.



Canadian NYE traditions

Argentina


Celebrations often see a dinner for family and friends, followed by a visit to the streets outside for fireworks. Typically warm, New Year's day is often spent swimming or at the beach. More unusual traditions include running around the house with a suitcase to encourage lots of traveling for the new year. To wish Happy New Year in Argentina, the Spanish is feliz año nuevo.

Who: Sabine (French expat in Argentina @SabineFep)
Where: Rosario Blog listing
Since it is summer here in Argentina, NYE is always spent outdoors with a lot of friends and family (in-laws) and the main focus will be the large Asado (Argentine-style barbecue) and by large I mean large, a 1/4 of a cows, or a whole lamb or suckling pig.
This year there will be over 25 of us in a big garden with lots of children and adults all singing and dancing along to Argentine music!


Who: Candice (US expat in Argentina)
Where: Buenos Aires Blog listing
Here we are, another New Years in Buenos Aires, Argentina! This year has been full of all sorts of good and bad stuff so we are happy to celebrate the New Year with hopes of Much Better Things to come for the Wonderful People of Argentina. I am always so impressed with their kindness, their spirit and determination to have a good time, no matter what!
In Buenos Aires, the holidays are quiet, very quiet. Everyone who could, left town... for the beaches, the mountains, family homes in the countryside.
Our neighbours are at their estancia, 3 hours from here. Where they have horses, cows ( many many cows) and chickens, not to mention the dogs and cats. They have an asado, they swim, they read and ride horses every day. Have I mentioned I asked Santa for an estancia, he hasn't gotten back to me yet on that.
So this New Year's Eve, my husband and I will toast each other, standing on the balcony, watching the insane fireworks show that the neighbourhood puts on each year. Happy New Year, Feliz Año Nuevo... wherever you are... from Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Who: Katie (US expat in Argentina @katiealley)
Where: Necochea Blog listing
I’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve in my adopted hometown of Necochea, Argentina. To beat the heat of the southern-hemisphere summer, we’ll ring in the New Year with a barbecue, salads and other cold dishes. We’ll toast with champagne at midnight to welcome 2013 (with the ladies wearing pink panties for good luck, as is the tradition here!).



Canadian NYE traditions

Canada


Traditions range from the usual partying through the night/concerts/fireworks in the urban areas to ice-fishing in the rural parts!

Who: Karin (British expat in Canada @KandKadventure)
Where: Toronto Blog listing
We're celebrating our 2nd New Year's Eve in Canada, hoping to make a party in our building by getting back from an amazing week in Antigua at 11pm!


Who: Ernestine (Canadian expat in Netherlands @WoodShoeDiaries)
Where: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia Blog listing
Good old fashioned Cape Breton house party
Good old fashioned Cape Breton house party
While my husband's rescheduled travel plans means he'll be returning to our home in the Netherlands on NYE, I'll be spending NYE back home on Cape Breton Island, in Nova Scotia, Canada. My family has been invited to a party at the house of a long-time family friend. People will take their instruments with them, and it will be an evening of music: just the way it should be for New Year's Eve on Cape Breton Island.
UPDATE We had a wonderful evening with lots of music. It was a good old fashioned Cape Breton house party, something I certainly miss now that I live in the Netherlands.



American NYE traditions

USA


Plenty goes on to celebrate NYE in America, with large public events organised in many major cities. One notable tradition, going since 1907, is the "ball drop" in Times square, NYC - the sparkling Waterford Crystal ball is positioned on top of the One Times Square and begins its descent at one minute to midnight, as visitors count down the seconds to the New Year.

Who: Toni (British expat in USA @ToniHargis)
Where: Copper Mountain, Colorado Blog listing
As we have done for the past five years or so, we are skiing in Copper Mountain, Colorado and will see the New Year in with friends here before heading back to Chicago.



Panama NYE traditions

Panama


One Panamian New Year’s Eve tradition is for giant rag dolls to be stuffed with hay and fireworks mocking regional figures, celebrities and national politicians. At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve they are set on fire by the community members, and the people's dreams, goals and wishes for the coming year also symbolically burn brightly.
In the city, the big hotels, nightclubs and restaurants offer entertainment with dinner, champagne and live bands to bring in the new year. However, many residents spend the New Year’s Eve on the nearby beaches. As Spanish is the language of Panama, say feliz año nuevo to wish a Happy New year.


Who: Laura (US expat in Panama)
Where: Casco Viejo Blog listing
I will be celebrating with fellow Americans in Panamá in Casco Viejo, a revitalized área of the city with lots of trendy bars and restaurants.



Guatemalan NYE traditions

Guatemala


Traditions include a big family dinner, comprising of a Guatemalan tamale made from corn, chicken or pork, sweetened by grapes or raisins and served with hot fruit punch or chocolate! The family eats dinner until midnight and then heads out to the streets for firecrackers and fireworks. At the turn of the new year, one tradition sees Guatemalans eat a grape (and make a wish) for each of the 12 chimes of the bell ringing at midnight. They also wear new clothes for good luck. Say feliz año nuevo to wish a Happy New year.

Who: Melissa (US expat in Guatemala)
Where: Lake Atitlan Blog listing
My fiancé and I are heading from Guatemala's Lake Atitlán area (where we live) to Quetzaltenango, the country's second largest city. Over the course of three days, we're going to hike 46 kilometers from Quetzaltenango back to the lake through Guatemala's rugged volcanic mountain range. I can't wait to check out the small Mayan villages, grasslands, cloud forests, and incredible vistas that are rumored to be along the way... though it was the prospect of fireside marshmallows that really sold me on the trip. We'll return to Lake Atitlan on New Year's Eve, and I suspect my first resolution for the new year will be "try to stay awake long enough to ring it in!"



Belize NYE traditions

Belize


Belize celebrates the New Year with great enthuiasm. Attending private parties or dancing at clubs/parties on NYE to celebrate the New Year.

Who: Emily (US expat in Belize)
Where: Stann Creek Blog listing
I work at a place called Pedro's which is a hostel, hotel, and bar, and there's always an interesting mix of people from around the world staying there. The main parties for New Year's Eve are "in town" though, so there's a possibility that I may be closed early enough to go somewhere else to see how it's done here... I really won't know until the night arrives :)



We hope you have enjoyed this collaboration with our expat friends! We would love you to share with your FaceBook friends and Twitter followers. Any mistakes get in touch! If you would like to add your celebrations to this page, please add as a comment below! Happy New Year :)
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Comments » There are 8 comments

Lynn Morrison wrote 4 years ago:

The soundtrack for New Year's Eve in the Netherlands could be lifted straight from a war zone. Seemingly every inhabitant of the low countries buys a lifetime supply of fireworks and explodes them between the official hours of 10am and 2am. Somehow my kids manage to sleep through them, but my super-sensitive mom ears guarantee that I'll be up late enough to see the ball drop in Times Square. This year I escaped from the madness with a trip to the US. I celebrated the turn of the calendar page at 30,000 feet with 280 of my new "closest friends". I hoped to get a New Year's kiss but my seatmate took one look at my mom jeans and feigned sleep. On the bright side, I was able to stockpile my wine allotment and toast the event with myself. I hope all parents had a nice and quiet New Year's like I did. Happy 2013!

I decided to celebrate a quiet New Year's Eve with my folks in Cordoba Argentina. My father barbecued a goat, cow brains, and sausages while my mother baked potatoes in the oven. She also made Armenian empanadas and Argentinian empanadas (Criollas). For dessert we are having a fruit salad. Then we will celebrate with sidra as the New Year approaches. The only downer to this celebration is that my spouse and I can't celebrate the New Years together because he returned to the States to get some important documents apostilled and notarized.

Mrs Dubai wrote 4 years ago:

What a lovely idea for a feature. I really enjoyed reading all the different traditions.

ExpatsBlog.com wrote 4 years ago:

Thanks for the update Jorge - sounds interesting with the cow brains, we've never tried them! We're glad you liked this feature Mrs Dubai... thanks for being a part of it :)

New Year's Eve in Iceland is a really amazing experience. The sale of fireworks is basically unrestricted between Christmas and New Year's--most of them are sold to benefit the Icelandic Search and Rescue volunteer teams - and people buy enormous quantities of sparklers and poppers and actual, professional grade fireworks to set off on New Year's Eve. (I read that 500 tons of fireworks are set off in Iceland each NYE, which, based on what I saw, must be true.) On New Year's Eve, I went up to Hallgrímskirkja, the big church on a hill in the center of town, which is a great vantage point to watch fireworks being set off around the city and also right there in the square. Hundreds of people come out to watch and take part. It was the best fireworks display I've ever seen, and probably the longest, too! The whole city pretty much shuts down at mid-afternoon, save a few restaurants and bars. And even those close down in time for the fireworks at midnight. From about 12:30 to 2:00 AM, though, a lot of bars reopen so that people can continue their celebrations into the wee hours of the morning.

Ute wrote 4 years ago:

This is a great idea! I've spent NYE in Southern-Switzerland this year and we had a ice combination of Italian zuppa di lenticchie con zampone and more Northern Swiss Fondue and Raclette. The zuppa di lenticchie is supposed to bring luck in the new year (like in Italy). The fireworks are much less than in the Netherlands, where we often spend our NYE. - Happy 2013 to all! (btw the Fireworks picture from Utrecht shifted to Zurich...)

ExpatsBlog.com wrote 4 years ago:

Larissa - that's a great idea that the proceeds go to charity in Iceland! Lynn - love it, very funny! Ute - thanks, we're glad you like it! Thank you all for sharing your NYE antics with our readers and HNY :)

Sami Veloso wrote 4 years ago:

Lovely to read all the different ways expats celebrate New Year. Happy New Year to all of you!!

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