Monday, 23 December 2013

The best places to see in the New Year

2014! A New Year and a fresh start!

While nostalgic expats all over the world might well try to keep their native traditions alive on Christmas day, with Panettone eaten in Poland and Turkey on the tables of Thailand, New Year’s Eve should not be so retrospective but should represent a fresh start.

As lips clash, glasses clink and hopeful New Year’s resolutions are immediately broken, why not embrace being an expat and get involved with those parties and celebrations that you would not be able to go to experience, if at home. 

In this post, we take a look at a few of the best New Year’s celebrations around the world, so that if you are lucky enough to be in one of these places as the clock strikes 12 one year, why not embrace being an expat and experience something new.

Image source: Creative Common/mediaite

New York
You can’t really talk about iconic New Year celebrations without mentioning Times Square in New York.  For over a century, every year at 11:59pm on the 31st December, as confetti bursts into the night sky, a sparkly ball (located on the roof of One Times Square and encrusted with crystal triangles and LED lights) descends almost 50 metres to mark the beginning of the New Year. The ‘ball drop’ is truly spectacular and the event also boasts performances from some of the most famous artists around the world so is definitely worth a trip, but be prepared to get there early, battle the crowds and wear plenty of layers!

Image source: Creative Common/project3

Rio de Janeiro
Spending the night (and day) on Copacabana beach in Rio will be truly unforgettable. With the midsummer heat, you can try your hand at a spot of Carnival-style Samba, enjoy a brilliant musical line-up and watch the incredible 15 minute fireworks display fired from the barges out at sea, before seeing in the New Year at one (or many) of the nearby nightclubs. It is customary to wear white in Rio, so steer clear of red wine, and avoid donning your best clothes in general, because you can expect to get covered in many a celebratory spray of champagne. If you have already spent one or two New Years at the Copacabana, then there are plenty of other iconic party spots where you can mix things up a bit - like the Lagoa and Sugarloaf Mountain.

Image source: Creative Common/joobili

If you’re in Germany, for some bizarre daytime fun, why not spend New Year’s Eve at the capital. Tourists and locals alike work up an appetite during the day with the Berliner Silvesterlauf, an annual pancake race which is as much fun to watch as it is to participate in. Prestigious athletes and fancy dressed novices alike combine to run either the 9.9k or 6.3k races, flipping pancakes as they go. There are also options for the younger crowd as children and juniors can run shorter distances of 2 or 4k. For a great party in the evening, head over to the Brandenburg gate, or establish yourself at one of the vantage points (Teufelsberg and Viktoriapark) to watch the fireworks. 

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