Get to know about New Year's Eve in 12 countries!

 Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The switch of the year, a celebration known as "réveillon" is a symbolic moment worldwide, mostly in Western. It is a celebration that represents a new beginning, new opportunities, and positive expectations. Learn about New Year's customs in 12 countries. With one more turn, the Sun completes around Earth.

New Year's Eve around the world has typical local traditions, but the purpose is always the same: peace, love, health, and prosperity in the coming year!

What the term "réveillon" means?

The word "réveillon" comes from the French réveiller and means "to awaken" or "to revive" (figurative sense). Thus, réveillon represents the awakening of the new year.

In ancient days, the term "réveillon" meant an evening meal to prevent people from sleeping in order to enjoy a party. Later, this term had to do with the Christmas Eve meal. In the 17th century, "réveillon" was the name for the parties of the French nobility that took place late at night. Years after, noblemen from other countries repeated the custom. By the time the word came to designate the New Year's Eve party.

Origins of the celebration that traditionally opens the new year

The parties to celebrate the new year began in Mesopotamia about 4 thousand years ago. This celebration took place at the end of winter and the beginning of spring. 

The Persians, Assyrians, Egyptians, and Phoenicians celebrated their New Year in September, and the Greeks in December.

What do New Year's Eve be like in 12 countries:

1 - Brazil  

The Brazilian style is to have New Year's Eve dinner at home with friends, and with relatives, at home, in a restaurant, or a club. The hottest New Year's Eve parties in the country are in: Rio de Janeiro (RJ), Camboriú (SC), Jericoacoara (CE), Fernando de Noronha (PE) and Ilha do Mel (PR).

The habit of wearing white clothes on Brazilian Réveillon was spread by practitioners of Candomblé (an afro religion). It is a way of seeking purification and protection for the coming year. The underwear, however, can be the favorite color of its user. 

As Brazilians are superstitious by nature, each one has his favorite sympathy that is applied exactly at midnight. Get to know the most famous ones:

  • Jumping seven waves: a habit used in coastal cities, when the beggar has to jump seven waves and make seven personal requests while jumping. 

  • Offerings to Iemanjá: the practice of giving gifts to the protector of the waters comes from African religious rituals.

  • Lentil and pomegranate: Eating lentils at the end of the year supper will bring luck in the upcoming New Year. The pomegranate seed attracts prosperity and abundance for the coming year.

2 - USA

The American style is similar to that of Brazilians’. The most famous celebration is in New York in the heart of Times Square. On the afternoon of December 31, the streets begin to fill with people. Later, thousands of people countdown to the arrival of the New Year.

3 - Australia

The most famous New Year's Eve party in the country on the other side of the world takes place in Sydney Bay, near the Harbour Bridge, where everyone watches the beautiful fireworks and have lotta fun until the morning. 

4 - England

The hottest place to enjoy New Year's Eve in London is to stand next to the famous Big Ben, waiting for the 12 bells that declare the arrival of the New Year.

5 - Scotland

The Scottish New Year's Eve is more important than Christmas for the Scottish people. It takes place in Edinburgh. It is Viking style and lasts three days, becoming known as Hogmanay, when cookies are exchanged in order to attract good luck in the coming year. 

6 - Russia

The party that closes the year in this country, turns out to be the most celebrated among all others. Before midnight, Russians stay with their families, but after that, they take to the streets of Moscow to celebrate the arrival of the new year. There are two Russian Réveillons because the country adopts the Gregorian and Julian calendar, with another New Year's Eve party taking place on January 14.

7 - Japan

The rite of New Year's Eve celebration in the Nippon world is sacred, so the Japanese prefer to remain reclusive during this three-day transition. In the final minutes of December 31, a Buddhist ritual begins with 108 chimes of the temple bells. Each strike represents a wish and one's own purification.

8 - France

The most famous place to spend New Year's Eve in France is on the Champs-Élysées, where you can enjoy the fireworks display that lights up the Eiffel Tower. The party continues in the restaurants and so on the boats that sail along the illuminated Seine River.

9 - Grece

Imagine enjoying New Year's Eve in Athens' Syntagma Square, with the Acropolis and the Parthenon in the background! Quite fancy, isn't it? During these exquisite celebrations, the Greeks exchange a cake similar to a panettone, where a gold coin is placed. Afterwards, it is distributed to the guests, and whoever keeps the piece with the coin in might have good luck throughout the next year. 

10 - Germany

In Berlin, a large stage is set up in front of the Brandenburg Gate, where, at midnight, fireworks light up the Germanic skies. Then all people around have their beer and typical food right next to the historical gate.

11 - Bulgaria

The pat on the back is the most famous custom among Bulgarians and serves to announce the arrival of the new year. This tradition begins with children going from house to house to congratulate the residents, wishing them health and wealth in the upcoming new year. 

12 - China

The Chinese New Year begins on the 23rd day of the last lunar month, and it is dedicated to a specific and chosen animal of the Chinese sign. The burning of fireworks, in the Chinese tradition, attracts luck and keeps away negative things from the beginning of the year. During these celebrations, gifts are exchanged with family members in red envelopes (usually with money inside).


New Year's Eve, a.k.a. “Réveillon” means festivities, changes, perspectives, new hopes, and so on. Still, it is also an opportunity to show some good examples when at the party outside the home such as keeping cans, beer, and water bottles, fireworks packages in order to recycle them afterwards. In short, start your new year by showing others that you have got ecological consciousness. In other words, you do respect people and the environment!