Niagara Falls
Image by Flickr user Diego3336

Five Best Places to Celebrate the New Year


Don’t let yourself ring in next years new year sitting ¬†in front of the television set, or, perhaps worse, cooped up at a dismal house party with people who you barely know or care for. Instead, head out somewhere different where New Year celebrations are exciting, unique and fun. Here is a look at five of the best places on the planet to usher in the New Year in style.

Kiribati

Kiritimati

Image by Flickr user KevGuy4101

Lying some 4,200 miles from Sydney and 3,300 miles from San Francisco in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, the Kiribatian atoll of Kiritimati is the first place in the world to welcome the New Year. Just a few miles to the east of the International Date Line, this idyllic tropical island wakes up to sunrise 14 hours before London, and an astonishing 22 hours before Los Angeles, each and every day. So to usher in New Year’s Day before anyone else on your friend’s list, head down to Kiritimati and watch as the clock strikes twelve right on the beach, a cocktail in hand, and a thousand stars shining in the clear night skies. What’s more, a two and a half hour flight from Kiritimati’s Cassidy International Airport takes you to Hawaii on the other side of the International Date Line, where, 24 hours later, you can celebrate New Year’s all over again.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh New Years

Image by Flickr user DuckyDebs

Though temperatures get a little chilly in the Scottish capital in late December, the warmth that emanates from the locals at this festive time of year more than makes up for it. With stunning UNESCO protected historic architecture, a world class cultural scene and the natural grandeur of the landscape, Edinburgh is a fantastic location to visit year round. What marks it out as one of the top destinations in the world for a new year trip, however, is the famed Hogmanay, a three-day feast of non-stop partying that attracts over 100,000 visitors each year who come for fireball processions, traditional Scottish music, Keilidh dancing and soothing hot toddies. To cap off your trip to Edinburgh, ensure you’re stationed right on Princes Street when midnight hits to watch fireworks explode high above the castle. A wee dram, a thick coat and a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne should be enough to keep you warm through the festivities. The truly brave should wake up early on New Year’s Day, however, and attempt the early morning Loony Dook, a quick dip into the freezing River Forth, for the quintessential Edinburgh experience. Skinny dipping optional, of course.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

Image by Flickr user Paul Mannix

New Year Celebrations don’t have to be chilly affairs, huddling around for comfort in the damp, cool air. Head to Latin America and take in Brazil’s most lively city Rio de Janeiro to experience a New Year celebration down on the beach surrounded by bronzed babes, buff bodybuilders and a friendly Brazilian welcome. Copacabana and Ipanema beaches host the best gatherings in this bewildering seaside metropolis, with revellers numbering¬† in the millions, and a dazzling polychromatic display of fireworks lighting up the night sky. While plenty step out in their bikinis and bodysuits, the usual attire for a Brazilian New Year party is to dress in white, paired with, curiously, dyed underwear, tailored to match the wearer’s aspirations and hopes for the year ahead. Yellow is worn for those who want to come into money in the new year, while singletons on the look out for love wear red. So if you are in the mood for romance, look out for those with red underpants.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Image by Flickr user Diego3336

You may know all about the Big Apple’s Times Square celebrations during New Year, but for something a little less crowded, not to say a little less cliched, head upstate to Niagara Falls, where an alternative New Year’s display is held. Whereas New York City makes do with an illuminated ball that drops from the old New York Times building, Niagara Falls drops a 10 foot tall Gibson guitar, illuminated with neon and LED lights, at the city’s Hard Rock Cafe. A fairly recent tradition, first held in 2009, the Niagara guitar drop takes place within spitting distance of the falls themselves, an impressive sight over 167 feet high that doesn’t pause for a second to acknowledge the passing of the years. Niagara Falls also rings in the New Year with open air concerts, attracting famous bands and singers from around Canada. Recent years have seen the likes of the Barenaked Ladies, Simple Plan and Foreigner play to the assembled crowds.

Finland

Finland New Years

Image by Flickr user Sashapo

Known more for the famous Christmas traditions of Lapland, Finland also has a blast during New Year’s. One of Europe’s biggest and most elaborate fireworks displays lights up Senaatintori, a square in the heart of Helsinki, at the strike of midnight each year, but it is for an unusual New Year tradition that Finland makes this list. In homes up and down the nation families and friends gather to toast another with glasses of champagne and indulge in an impromptu spot of molybdomancy, the ancient practice of divination using molten metal. Lead or tin is placed in ladles heated upon an open flame or stove, causing the metal to melt. The liquid metal is then poured into a vat of cold water, causing it to harden again in often unusual shapes, which, it is said, foretell fortunes for the year ahead. Ring shaped metal symbolises love, or even a marriage, while round, coin shapes signify a lucky windfall. But remember to cross your fingers and hope that the metal doesn’t break up into pieces, as this is seen as a harbinger of misfortune.

Date posted: 12th January, 2012

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