BlogNew Year's Traditions Around the World

New Year's Traditions Around the World

Written by E-QIP on December 27, 2018

All of us at E-QIP love a good party, and we can’t think of any day better suited to partying than December 31.

The start of the new calendar year is observed in some form in most cultures, making it one of the most universal celebrations in the world--which is not to say that the way it’s celebrated is at all universal.

From feasts to free-for-all parties, there are countless ways to mark the end of one year and the start of another. We asked members of E-QIP’s diverse community of students, teachers and staff to share their favourite New Year’s traditions. (And if you’re secretly hoping one of them will invite you over for a meal, you’re not alone!)


"In Brazil, most people like to go to the beach and jump over seven waves for luck. Most people go to church. Some people like to meet with their family and drink wine and drink beer and eat barbecue and they like to swim in the evening."—Michelle (student)

"After Christmas, every radio station in Québec is playing rigodons, a style of folk music we listen to around New Year's. For me, New Year's is always spent with family. We have a big meal (lots of Christmas leftovers) and then everybody grabs a spot on the couch to watch the Bye Bye, a yearly review comedy sketch show. They countdown to midnight live on the show and then we do a champagne toast!"—Rachel (English teacher/front office team)

“In Japan, we have specific food for New Year’s. We prepare osechi, which is like a big lunch box, and we eat this and rice cakes. Usually we make osechi before New Year’s on December 31 because we shouldn’t do anything on January 1 or January 2, just rest. And then children can get money from adults and it’s called otoshidama. So if I go greet my grandmother or mother’s sister with “Happy New Year,” they give me money.”—Shiho (student)

"Most Latinos/Hispanics celebrate on the 24th and a lot of Québécois aussi! The Christmas celebration is like New Year’s. At midnight we open presents and party. Christmas Day is a recuperation day with a nice Christmas atmosphere."—Lyle (teacher)

"Just like all Filipino celebrations, many New Year's traditions involve food! It’s very common to prepare pancit, a noodle dish, as it represents good health and a long life. We also gather 12 round pieces fruit and place them in a bowlthey represent good luck for each month for the 12 new months ahead. You’ll also notice everyone wearing polka dot patterned clothing as it epitomizes prosperity in the new year!"—Denise (social media coordinator)

"I lived in South Korea for 8 years. On New Year’s, they ring a giant bell called Bosingak at midnight to ring in the New Year in Seoul. So many people turn up to watch itlike 100,000 people."—Julie (English teacher)

How will you be celebrating the New Year?

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