It’s supposed to be the biggest party of the year across the globe, but who does it best? From bagpipes and whisky at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, to dancing on Brazil’s beaches beneath a starry sky, we give the lowdown on some of the best New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world.
Valparaiso, the brightly coloured town east of Santiago known for winding, cobblestone alleys and former resident Pablo Neruda, really comes alive on New Year’s Eve. With the impressive fireworks show from the harbour as a glittering backdrop, a million people come to party on the beach from the 28th until the 31st. New Year’s Eve culminates in a set of very specific yet brilliant traditions followed ritually by the locals, which involves devouring a dozen grapes (for good luck), sporting yellow underwear and slipping a $1,000 peso note in your shoe.
Do as New Yorkers do and watch the ball drop in Times Square – in Hong Kong, that is. The light shows in the city are extraordinary, especially from a boat in Victoria Harbour. Before the fireworks kick off at midnight you’ll be able to catch the Symphony of Lights display too, setting the night sky alight in a kaleidoscope of colour.
Head to the Scottish capital for ‘Hogmanay’ and you’ll no doubt find yourself being swept along in the glowing torchlight procession, mumbling the lyrics to the biggest rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in the country with fellow party-goers, and dancing to the live music played throughout the evening. You’ll be captivated by the fireworks exploding above Edinburgh’s historic skyline, illuminating Edinburgh Castle in a way you’ll never forget. Make for River Forth on New Year’s Day to watch (or join) the barmiest Scots plunge into the icy river for the annual charity event, Queensferry Loony Dook.
The steamy streets of Rio are thronged with party-goers on New Year’s Eve: clad in white and swaying to rapturous live music, like Brazilian samba or rock shows, all night long. Copacabana Beach is at the heart of it all with an enthralling fireworks display watched by two million revellers, who bring in the countdown by showering themselves with foaming champagne.
As if the falls weren’t impressive enough already, the New Year’s Eve celebrations see North America’s most iconic waterfall illuminated in an explosion of colour and lights, with dazzling fireworks set off around Victoria Park in Ontario. Accompanying the light shows is the annual rock-pop concert with international artists performing throughout the evening. On New Year’s Day, go ice-skating at Horseshoe Falls and witness the remarkable lighting displays at the Winter Festival of Lights.
The world’s most epic firework display arguably takes place in the iconic Sydney Harbour, a tremendous extravaganza of entertainment to spark off the New Year in style. Views from the water are truly exceptional but grabbing a front-row seat at one of the harbour’s waterfront restaurants is also a fantastic option. The celebration includes a Light Parade on the water, aerial acrobatics and a warm-up fireworks show at 9pm. With 1 billion people tuning in to watch the event on TV, it’s clear that New Year’s Eve in Sydney is an unmatched spectacle: definitely one for the bucket list.