How NYE is celebrated around the world

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How the planet will welcome 2013

How NYE is celebrated around the world
Happy new year! (ludwig wagner/iStock/Getty Images)

"Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness"

— William Shakespeare

So, what will you be doing on New Year's Eve? Chances are that you'll probably be down the pub with your mates, or hanging out at someone's party, getting a plentiful supply of booze down your neck, and struggling to try and remember the words to Auld Lang Syne. But, not everyone brings in the new year quite like us Brits. There are just about as many and varied new year traditions as there are countries on this planet of ours. And here's our look at some of the more interesting ways that the dawning of 2013 will be celebrated.

From grapes to underwear

Life would be kind of boring if each and every one of us was exactly the same, right? Too true! And that also goes for the way in which we, the Human Race, raise a collective glass to both the old year and the new one that's looming large on the horizon. If you fancy the idea of celebrating a brand new year in a far away, exotic land with a very alternative approach to that of the UK, well, the good news is that you have got plenty to choose from. They're all very different, but great fun, too.

Let's begin with Mexico, where a four-pack of lager, a couple of bags of crisps, and a midnight snog with someone who you know you'll regret puckering up to in the morning, just will not cut it. For the Mexicans, the new year begins with grapes. At each strike of the clock at midnight, everyone eats a grape and makes a secret and silent wish for the year to come. And to make sure the next 365 days are going to be great ones, there's a tradition of making a list of all the things that went wrong in the last year and, just before the witching-hour strikes, burning the sheet of paper on an open fire. Positive energy is the name of the game in Mexico.

Moving on, let's take a trip over to Spain, where old tradition holds that to ensure a fun, healthy, wealthy and great new year one thing above all else is essential: you have to wear red underwear for the New Year's Eve festivities. And it has to be right off the shelf, too. So, if Spain is your choice to see in the new year, don't forget a last-minute trip to get some brand spanking new undercrackers.

Food glorious food

While us Brits are most likely to spend New Year's Eve knocking back the ale, wine and whisky (and dearly paying for it throughout pretty much all of January 1), for many other countries it's food that is the central point of the celebration. And, depending on the nation in question, that food varies as widely as it does wildly!

On the matter of what to eat on December 31, for the Italians it's a filling dish of pigs trotters and intestines. Er, anyone for a nice plate of bacon and eggs? Cake, and lots of it, is devoured in Morocco, Lentils are big in Chile, and, in Argentina, a plate of cold veal with a tuna-flavoured sauce is all the rage. As for the Turks, they like to bring in the new year with tasty minced-meat-filled pastries. Meanwhile, on the big day, the Dutch are quite partial to an Oliebol; a sweet and nourishing doughnut-like snack that helps to soak up all that ale.

It's party time!

How NYE is celebrated around the world
Celebrating global-style (Konrad Fiedler/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Of course, there is one thing that the people of just about every nation on the entire planet have in common when New Year's Eve comes calling on them. That, needless to say (but, what the heck, we'll say it anyway) is the desire to have a great, fun, and rollocking old time as the hours and minutes count down to a new beginning and an equally new year. And that usually means a large amount of dancing, fireworks, music, and making new acquaintances - some far better than others, if you see what we mean. Which we know you do!

When it comes to partying on the biggest night of the year, the Puerto Ricans really know how to put on a show with large events dominated by traditional, Latino music and exotic and erotic dancing. Berlin, Germany is the focal point for a huge, open-air, night-long party that generally attracts audiences in excess of an incredible one million.

And, if you're tired of spending your New Year's Eve in chilly Britain, imagine hanging out on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the night, as thousands of fireworks light up the sky. Close on a million Brazilians can't be wrong! Maybe take a trip to New Zealand, where you can watch an amazing display of fireworks launched from the 1,076-foot-high Sky Tower. Or, to have what might just be the most memorable party of them all, head to Christmas Island, in the Pacific Ocean, which - because of its location and time-zone - is the very first place on the planet every year to experience the new year.

Tips and warnings

  • Write down the words to Auld Lang Syne. Take a taxi if you hit the town. Drink a glass of water in between the bottles of booze. Don't forget to make a new year's resolution. And have a great time!

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