New Year's Eve Traditions

Not all cultures consider January 1st the start of a new year, but those that do celebrate with various activities, some longstanding, other more modern.
In the United States of America, people dance, drink champagne, eat cakes and other goodies, and watch the ‘ball drop’ in Times Square, either in person, or on TV.
In Canada, people can attend a free concert and a huge firework display in Queen Victoria Park overlooking Niagara Falls, and, as with Times Square, those unable to go there can watch the festivities on TV.
In England, people in London gather along the Thames to watch fireworks and some of the more exuberant ones jump into the fountains in Trafalgar Square.
In Scotland, Edinburgh hosts an all-night Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) street party, and after midnight (or at least early on New Year’s Day) people go first-footing. The Scots believe the coming year will be a good one if their first-foot (the first person to cross their threshold) has dark hair. Fair-haired people are not allowed to cross first unless they’re carrying something dark, like a lump of coal.
In Spain, people eat twelve grapes at midnight (one for each stroke of the clock) to bring good luck in the forthcoming year.
In Portugal, street parties are held, and people make a lot of noise, believing that will help chase out any bad times from the past year.
And in Japan, 108 bells are rung before midnight to rid people of the troubles of the old year.


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