New Year's Eve Around the World

by Joseph McKeown


Santa has come and gone (obviously, he uses Global Entry). It's time now to decide how to celebrate New Year's Eve (for those of us on the Gregorian calendar). In the always-delightful-never-crowded New York City's Times Square, you can watch that famous ball drop. This ball (a geodesic sphere, rather) is twelve feet in diameter, weighs 11,875 pounds, and is covered with 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles. Before you go make sure to have some some black-eyed peas and collared greens for good luck and fortune in the new year. Approximately one million people are expected in Times Square. There is no alcohol allowed.

In Paris at midnight, the Eiffel Tower will have a light show "offering a truly festive and magical sight for the eyes!" If your eyes survive, take a walk down the Champs-Élysées and have a glass (okay, bottle) of Champagne. Or avoid Paris and go to Plérin in Brittany for a New Year's Eve swim in the freezing sea. Better have a drink after that. Salut!

In Beirut, smash some china with Orthodox Christians (or how about some celebratory gunfire?). In Spain, as the clock strikes midnight, eat twelve grapes keeping time with the striking clock to have twelve prosperous months. Or gather with the locals in the plaza where bars typically stay open all night. In Japan with your family, watch NHK's Kohaku, "a marathon TV show in which J-pop stars reprise the year's most nauseating hit singles." In Mexico City, wear red underpants, run around the block carrying an empty suitcase, and eat twelves grapes (okay, sounds familiar) in quick succession each time making a wish for the coming year.

In Rio de Janeiro, wear newly-purchased white clothing, cleanse yourself in the ocean, and throw small mementos into the surf making a wish (if the waves do not bring the mementos back, the wish will be granted), and, of course, head to Copacabana Beach for the fireworks display. In Santiago, wear yellow underwear (if you're a woman looking for love), eat twelve grapes (yes, again), and head to Valparaíso for the reportedly largest fireworks display in South America. In Bangkok, for a Times-Square-like countdown party, go to Central World shopping mall for friendly crowds, live bands and DJs, and more fireworks.

Or you can take comedian John Oliver's sage advice and skip all New Year's Eve celebrations. But whatever you do, Happy New Year!