Take a look at our top New Year’s traditions around the world!

Sandra Oberg

Travel, Travel News, Work & Play Guide

Are you away over the New Year on a business trip? I think we all can agree that New Year’s celebrations are about getting together with friends or family. To wish everyone a bright and peaceful new year – no matter where in the world you are. There are hundreds of different ways to celebrate, we find it exceedingly interesting to hear about people’s traditions worldwide. Here are our top New Year’s traditions around the world!

  1. Scotland
  2. Russia
  3. Brazil
  4. China
  5. Japan


Let’s begin with Scotland… You may have heard the word “Hogmanay”. So what is Hogmanay? This is the Scottish word for the last day of the year – a more traditional word for New Year’s Eve(since the 17th century). Unsurprisingly, Scots are well-known for their late street parties on New Year’s Eve. They even have an extra bank holiday for them to recover! But what other New Year’s traditions do the Scots have on this merry and sparkly celebration?

“First-footing”, the first person who crosses a doorstep of a home in the New Year must carry a gift for luck. If not – well, you may end up with bad luck for the rest of the following year!

At Hogmanay, many Scots starts singing ‘Auld Land Syne” right after midnight. They form a circle around the dance floor, holding hands with the people next to them. Towards the last verse, they cross their arms across their breasts – and reach out their right hand out to the person on the left, and so it goes on until the end of the song. In the end, everyone rushes to the middle still holding hands.

Do you have the evening off? Then this is definitely an experience not to miss if travelling to Scotland over Hogmanay if you enjoy a bit of dancing!

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Courtesy of Lynda Hinton – Unsplash.com

Happy New Year in Scottish: Haud Hogmanay!


How about celebrating New Year’s twice a year? – do it like the Russians! For many other countries most of the winter holidays have passed, but not in Russia(plus other ex-soviet countries such as Ukraine and Georgia). Many people may say that New Years’s Eve is even bigger than Christmas in these fascinating countries.

Russia’s “old” New Year is celebrated on January 14th, this is the smaller celebration of the two New Year’s holidays and is usually spent with family.

The “new” New Year’s celebration is on the same date as most countries, on the 31st of December. Many Russians go to concerts or go to watch fireworks with their families. If you are in the area, we recommend going to their biggest fireworks at the Red Square in Moscow.

Families tend to have very late dinner this evening, after midnight is when the fun starts, the Kremlin Spasskaya Clock Tower chimes and the Russians begin to sing their national anthem. This is when people go out to meet their friends.

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Courtesy of Viktor SOLOMONIK – Unsplash.com

Happy New Year in Russian:  S Novim Godom!


In Brazil, the new year is referred to as “Reveillon”, which is a French term. People around the country carefully plan their food and clothing. It is crucial to have the right meals and clothes to bring as much luck as you can for the next year. Different colours of clothing have different meanings, you will spot many people dressed in white – it is believed to bring peace.

Girl dressed in white celebrating New Years in Brazil.
Courtesy of Junior REIS – Unsplash.com

Most of the big celebrations are held in Rio De Janeiro. In this beautiful city, you will have a view over one of the world’s biggest fireworks. The best part is it’s in the middle of the summer – no need to stand outside being freezing cold. Enjoy watching the fireworks on a long white beach with a Piña colada in your hand, or whichever cocktail you prefer!

The beautiful Nomah Sao Luis Apartment delivers high-quality studio accommodation in a central São Paulo location in this big thriving city.

Happy New Year in Portugese: Feliz Ano Novo!


Chinese New Year is very different to what we are used to. First of all, it is celebrated from the end of January until mid-February. Secondly, it goes on for 16 days! However, the preparations for the festivals even start seven days before Chinese New Year’s Eve.

During the preparations, people decorate their houses with red lanterns, red spring couplets, paper cuttings, and New Year’s paintings. The decorations are to keep evil spirits away and pray for blessings, health and peace. Another Chinese tradition is to offer sacrifices to ancestors, it shows respect and devotion. It is believed that in return the ancestors give them protection.

The best and fun part(according to us) starts on New Years Day – people put on their new clothes to say “gongxi”, which means “respectful joy”, “greetings” or “best wishes”, wishing each other good luck and happiness. Each year China choose an animal for the festivals, next year(In 2022) is the year of Tigers. images of tigers will appear on decorations. This is the time to go outside to explore the streets! You will experience unique festivals with music and dancing – big tigers and dragons dancing around the streets, and the most amazing fireworks. Check out the dragon below!

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Chinese New Year in China
Courtesy of Jacob Buchhave – Unsplash.com

Happy New Year in Chinese: Xin nian kuai le!


New Year is the most important holiday in Japan, most businesses shut down from January 1-January 3. This is the time to spend some quality time with loved ones. The New Year’s traditions are there to leave the old year behind, moving on to a new fresh start. The Japanese need to have finished all duties in time for the “bonenkai” parties – this is held to say goodbye to the old year, move on from stress and worries.

People’s homes are firstly deep cleaned, then decorated with ornaments made of pine, bamboo and plum trees. For New Year’s eve, most families visit temples or a shrine – people line up at the main hall to pray for lucky charms for a good year. Here you will also find lots of different food stands with delicious food to try! Towards the evening many Japanese watch a music show called “Kohaku uta gassen”, this is a TV program with many of the top J-pop stars performing.

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Courtesy of Yu Kato – Unsplash.com

Happy New Year in Japanese: Yoi otoshi o!

Did your business trip happen to fall over New Year? Maybe you are looking for somewhere to stay to experience different New Year’s traditions. Situ offers a wide range of accommodations in many different countries around the world, including the ones above. The Situ team is always happy to help, there are no impossible bookings! Visit our website here to find more information, or call us on 01392 690 079 or email us at [email protected]