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New Year Traditions all over the World

While Christmas celebrations usually mean some solemn time with the family at home, New Year festivities are generally as rowdy as a wrestling match spiced up with colourful fireworks, counting-down-the-clock traditions, and endless playing of the Auld Lang Syne. These practices vary around the world, and here are just some of the remarkable New Year traditions from around the globe.

In UK alone, a number of New Year festivals are held in each city. In Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival, a Viking warship is pulled to the top of the Calton Hill during the Torchlight Procession. In the city’s capital, London, the party begins when the Big Ben strikes midnight, and a 10-minute fireworks display from the London Eye follows. The annual Bond Ball inspired by the 007 movies and various New Year’s Eve shindigs keep everybody busy as they welcome the New Year.

New Year in Scotland is characterised by the “first-footing tradition.” Neighbours drop by each other’s houses and gives out New Year wishes. People are considered lucky if their “first foot” is a tall, dark, and handsome man.

The Big Apple joins in the revelry on New Year with its world-famous New Year ball-dropping in Times Square. Millions of people gather in New York City as they wait for the descent of the ball, which signals the start of the fun New Year festivities.

The Japanese people happily welcome the New Year by letting go of the past year’s grudges and problems through the Bonenkai or “forget-the-year” parties. On midnight of New Year’s Eve, Buddhist temples strike the gongs 108 times to expel all 108 types of human weakness.

If Japanese people forget about the past year’s events as the New Year approaches, the people of Talca in Chile do the opposite. They cherish the memories of their dead relatives and spend New Year in cemeteries with a mass and classical music. Unlike almost all the New Year celebrations around the world, New Year in this Chilean city is spent in solace and tranquillity.

Lake Baikal in Southern Siberia, Russia takes the New Year parties underwater through a traditional New Year dive. Professional divers cut a hole in the ice covering the 40-metre deep lake. One carries the New Year tree to the bottom of the lake, and others dance around it. Ice Maiden and Father Frost, prominent figures from the Russian culture, are present in the extraordinary tradition, and divers take pictures with them.

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