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The beginning of the year provides a chance to start fresh, enjoy the new, and make resolutions to make changes (even if you never quite get there). Why not have one last fling before quitting, whether you’re trying to lose weight or break a terrible habit? Plan your farewell celebration in style at one of the most spectacular New Year’s Eve parties ever among these 7 countries.
Let’s look at the best locations where the New Year is not simply an Eve but also a fresh start, a new challenge, and a fresh perspective.
Rio De Janerio
The largest and wildest New Year’s celebration in the world, Reveillon, is held every New Year’s Eve at Copacabana Beach in Rio. More than 2 million Cariocas (people from Rio de Janeiro) assemble on the beach, covering a 2 1/2-mile stretch of sand in pure white clothing. Brazilians honour Iemanja, the sea goddess, by fusing local traditions with African rites.
In addition to the typical white clothing, the surroundings are highlighted with red (symbolising romance), green (for good health), and yellow and gold (for prosperity) ornaments. Just make sure to leave your black clothing at home, as according to Brazilian folklore, it is a bad omen.
Theme parks in Orlando celebrate the new year in style. The Jingle Jungle Parade takes place in Disney‘s Magic Kingdom, and just before midnight, Epcot presents the stunning light and laser show “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.” A “symphony of the senses” is performed by MGM Studios’ Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights as fake snow starts to fall and thousands of lights sparkle against a backdrop of heavenly angels and spinning carousels.
On New Year’s Eve, the Thames River is the centre of a flurry of activity in London. Thousands of people come to ride the enormous Ferris wheel known as the towering London Eye, and it is also where the midnight fireworks display is launched from. To view the displays, crowds gather on the Tower, Westminster, London, and Blackfriars bridges.
Watch the event on one of the large screens in Trafalgar and Parliament squares if you can’t get a spot near the river. Participate in the majestic New Year’s Day parade the next day, which starts at Westminster, travels through the heart of the nation’s capital, and ends in Green Park.
Sydney hosts the second-largest New Year’s event in the world (and first place in the world to ring in the new year, time-wise). It also has the biggest fireworks show in the entire world: The show normally consists of six barges travelling over a 3 1/2-mile stretch of water while using 30,000 pyrotechnic effects over the course of 12 minutes.
With the famous Sydney Harbor and the Sydney Harbor Bridge as the locations, the spectacle draws crowds of up to one million people. A 9-mile path for the late-night Harbour of Light Parade has lit boats that cruise around the coastline. Visit Bondi Beach’s ultimate dance party if you need a break from the city.
To commemorate the opening of The New York Times offices, Times Square had its first New Year’s hullabaloo in 1904. Nowadays, hundreds of thousands of people flock to the city’s busy hub on December 31 for a party unlike any other in the Big Apple. Bring a picnic to last you the entire day because food and beverage sellers are not allowed. Restaurants in the area are open, but the lines can frequently last for hours.
The renowned New Year’s Eve Ball is raised to the top of One Times Square’s 77-foot flagpole as the sun sets and drops for 60 seconds right before the clock strikes midnight.
The annual Hogmanay festival, which literally translates to “final day of the year,” draws tens of thousands of joyous and, um, inebriated Scots to the streets of central Edinburgh, along with a sizable number of foreign tourists. Famous musicians perform on stages dotted throughout the city as traditional ceilidh dancing enlivens the mood in Princes Street Gardens.
While the crowds swarm Princes Street, those in the know sneak up to Carlton Hill, the highest point in downtown Edinburgh, just before midnight to witness the fireworks. The next day, those who are fit can take part in the One O’clock Run down the Royal Mile, choose to plunge into the River Forth after the Loony Dook parade (a charity event), or go on a run or ride.
Parisians certainly know how to ring in the New Year right: for an entire month, they share bises (small, platonic kisses) and say Bonne Annee to one another! (Happy New Year! ), and continue sending greeting cards and presents through February 1st. The bustling Champs-Elysees, where visitors may catch a view of the Eiffel Tower and the flashes of light it produces as midnight approaches France, serves as Paris’ epicentre on New Year’s Eve.
For a more laid-back New Year’s celebration, head up to Montmartre, or head over to the adjoining red-light district of Pigalle to catch a cabaret at the risqué Moulin Rouge. Alternatively, you can think about reserving a seat on a bateau-mouche (riverboat) dinner cruise along the Seine to unwind after a demanding year.