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Festivals: New Year's Eve (31st December)

Type: Reference material

Many cities and countries around the world are very proud of their New Year celebrations. Cities organize street parties with fireworks, music, food and dancing. Here are some examples of how Christmas is celebrated in different countries:


In Scotland many of the traditions of 'Hogmanay' (as the New Year festival is known there) are becoming rarer but in more isolated areas people still go 'First Footing'. The tradition of First Footing involves the superstitious belief that the first foot to cross the threshold of a house determines the luck that will come to the household and the people who live in it for the year to come. People therefore visit each other carrying 'gifts' that include whisky and coal.


Rio de Janeiro has a huge party for New Year. Their Reveillon features a big fireworks display along Copacabana beach. At least 2,000,000 people all dressed in white are there to watch and take part. Many follow religious rites including making offerings to the goddess Lemanjá. Lemanjá is the mother of the waters for members of the Afro-Brazilian religion Umbanda. Offerings of flowers and perfume are thrown into the sea alongside a lot of more secular celebration.

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