As we say goodbye to the Year Of The Horse according to the Chinese Calendar, we take time on the last day of the year to reflect on the past 364 days. We look back on the lessons we’ve learned, our accomplishments, and often set goals for the future. We remember with fondness and love those we’ve lost. We pray for the return of our loved ones in uniform around the world, and know that they will remain in our hearts as we move forward into the New Year. So tonight, let go of any sadness or negativity by throwing open all your windows at midnight, or just grab a broom so you can sweep away all the sorrows of yesterday out your door as the clock chimes in the end of the year. It’s the eve of a New Year, anything is possible with hope in our hearts in the coming Year Of The Sheep, and here are some unique and festive ways to celebrate it!

new year's eve around the world

Hanshan Temple Bell Ringing Festival, Suzhou, China 

In Suzhou, China you can literally ring in the New Year at the Hanshan Temple Bell Ringing Festival. The Hanshan Temple is among the most famous temples in China. In ancient times the monks at the 1400-year-old temple struck the bell at midnight to remind people a new day was dawning. According to local legend it is said that each layman has 108 kinds of annoyances per year. Of course, who has really stopped to count them all, but 108 sounds about right. To hear the bell toll is said to dispel one kind of annoyance. So, when you listen to all 108 bell tolls on New Year Eve you will have good luck and happiness in the coming year.

Join the New Year’s Eve feast before the bell ringing that includes performances of traditional music and dance. Within the ancient halls of the temple you’ll find colorful dragon lanterns and decorations evoking wishes for an auspicious New Year. As the evening progresses you’ll hear the monks chanting Buddhist sutras, and then silence as all who have gathered listens respectfully as the bell is rung 108 times. Listen closely, and you’ll hear the last echoes of the bell before the explosion of countless firecrackers celebrate the welcoming of the New Year.

Celebrate New Year’s Traditions In Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival kicks off with a Torchlight Procession. Then, get ready for the world famous Street Party that includes a Concert in the Gardens. Throughout the festivities you can enjoy the very best in music, art and theatre created and curated by Scotland’s most innovative artists and musicians. Or you can snuggle with family and friends for the Midnight Fireworks. While mingling with over 130,000 other festival attendee’s you’ll have a chance to experience the country’s tradition of first footers bringing coal, toasting with a dram at midnight, and wishing good luck to the home-owner for the year ahead.

When you awake in the morning on New Year’s day those who have registered for the Scot: Lands New Year’s Day celebration will learn the secret location of the event. Those who registered for this event selected a secret start point, either “Destination 1” or “Destination 2.” Then, they’ll receive an email that reveals the starting point on this exciting cosmic journey across Edinburgh’s Old Town to explore the newly discovered constellation of Scot: Lands.

South Queensferry Loony Dook: While groups of folks are wandering around town in search of the incredible new worlds in secret venues throughout the Old Town. Others will be preparing for the Loony Dook. Perhaps, you’ve heard of the Polar Bear Plunge, well, near Edinburgh you can take a dip at the world Famous Loony Dook, which is part of the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival. This event raises funds for area charities, and what a better way to start off the New Year than by helping others.

On New Year’s day there will be the Dookers’ Parade, which is led by the Beastie Drummers. Then, all  the Loonies will gather for the Dook that will have almost 1000 brave Loonies who will dive into the freezing waters of the Forth Estuary in the shadow of the iconic Forth Bridge. For those on the sidelines, you can cheer these brave souls at various vantage points along the route or down on the beach. Afterwards, stop in for a pint and a bite at one of the pubs, cafes or restaurants in South Queensferry.

Downtown Indy’s New Year’s Eve Indy 500 Car Drop, Indianapolis, Indiana

 Each May race fans turn their eyes to the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the greatest spectacle in racing; the Indianapolis 500. In the spirit of racing, Indianapolis invites race fans from around the world to join them on Georgia Street for a countdown to the New year with a unique twist; Indy 500 Car Drop.

Before the countdown to midnight you’ll have plenty of activities to enjoy at the interactive sports zone in Entry Pavilion at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with the Pacers, Fever, Colts, Indians, Fever, Indy Eleven and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As for music, you’ll hear tunes from a Billy Joel tribute band called An Innocent Band, Corey Cox, The Groove Factor, Greta Speaks, and DJ Lockstar will help rock Downtown Indy throughout the evening. And, headlining the entertainment will be The White Panda, who’ll get you in the groove for the New Year with their electronic dance music.

Everyone can celebrate the New Year at parties to join in and around Downtown Indy with events that include:

The Family New Year’s Eve, Indiana State Museum

The Countdown to Noon, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

New Year’s Eve at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

New Year’s Eve at the Slippery Noodle Inn

Frozen in Time: A Supper Club Wine Pairing and Cabaret

CIROC the New Year, Regions Bank Tower

Wild Wednesday Facts:

Did You Know: Dick Clark had hosted his New Year’s Rockin’ Eve celebration since 1972. We’ve watched him ring in the New Year for years, and now Ryan Seacrest has taken over as host of the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve festivities. Ryan’s special guest will be Taylor Swift, and they’ve got plenty of music and entertainment planned to help you ring the New Year.

Have you’ve thought of your New Year’s Resolution yet? A lot of people have, and among some of the most popular resolutions are: Lose Weight, Stop Smoking, Go back to school, and Find a new job.

A classic New Year’s Tradition is to kiss a loved one at Midnight. This one kiss is not only a symbol of your affection, it also is said to welcome good luck into the relationship. So, get ready to pucker up!

While you could eat black eyed peas and lentils on New Year’s Eve for good luck, why not try a new tradition? When you head out to go shopping for your New Year’s Eve party pick up a few vines of grapes to welcome in the coming year. This tradition hails from Spain, where they eat 12 grapes for each month of the New Year for good luck.

Do you have a favorite New Year’s Eve tradition?

With a passion for travel and creativity, Journalist and Photographer, Melody Schubert let’s her imagination guide her as she explores the world. For her, everyday is an opportunity to embrace something new, and explore intriguing and overlooked destinations that express the heart of a region, and share these discoveries with readers of Travel Freak. She is also Editorial Executive for USA Travel Magazine - where she shares more of travel interests.


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