New Year’s Eve Traditions Around the World


We never forget the first time we spend a New Year’s Eve (NYE) abroad, especially when we’re in a country where the NYE traditions are very different from the ones back home.

On December 31st, 2006 I was working at a McDonald’s store near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My friend and I had chosen this job―which was part of an exchange program in the United States―because, among the jobs being offered by travel agencies in our hometown in Brazil, it was the one located closest to New York City.

As you can imagine, we really wanted to spend the New Year’s Eve in the Big Apple (that was actually one of our main goals for the trip). We never contemplated the possibility that our boss wouldn’t give us a day off on the last day of the year. However, that was exactly what happened.

We worked until 10 p.m. on that day and, being under 21 and not able to go to bars and regular clubs, we ended up going to a NYE party for minors at Club Zoo in downtown Pittsburgh.

It was precisely at that place full of party animals that I realized that not all NYEs are created equal. Besides the absence of alcoholic beverages ―which never happens in Brazil, even at a party for minors―I was the only person wearing white (Brazilians celebrate the NYE wearing white for luck and, up to that point, I had thought that the whole world did it too).

This experience made me realize that New Year’s Eve customs can vary greatly from country to country. The slideshow below shows some of the weirdest NYE traditions from around the world. Check it out:

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Read this post in Portuguese: As Tradições de Ano Novo ao Redor do Mundo

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3 responses to “New Year’s Eve Traditions Around the World

  1. I love this post! I’m spending my first NYE abroad in Paris. So far the only custom’s I’ve noticed are food-related – foie gras, smoked salmon, cheese, sausage, and a different drink to go with each! I’m also not surprised about your McDonald’s experience – very typical of American corporations and such a bummer! I love the wearing white on New Year’s for Brazil – I just realized my outfit for tonight is all white! Hopefully one day I can spend a NYE there :) Hope you’re doing well and I’m loving your blog!
    – Stephanie

    • Hi Stephanie!
      Thank you so much for your comment! I’m really glad you’re enjoying the blog! :)
      NYE in Paris sounds amazing! How was it? Is it similar to Bastille Day or more food/family oriented?
      I hope you’re having a blast in Paris! (Gosh, I miss that city!)
      You should definitely join me in Brazil for a NYE! I’m sure you’d love it here! :)

      • It was amazing! I thought there were going to be fireworks, but it turns out EVERYONE thinks that so they crowd to the Eiffel Tower and then are sorely disappointed when nothing happens. I went to a dinner party hosted by a Parisian friend, it was perfect and easy since we avoided any of the craziness in the city.
        I’m having the best time rediscovering the city in the winter, it’s beautiful. I loved all your road trip Instagrams, a lot of the places you went are on my travel bucket list!
        Bonne année :)

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