New Year’s Eve celebrations around Europe

New Year’s Eve is always a time for celebration and reflection. The excitement of what the new year may bring, mixed in with the feelings of the year gone by. It’s a great time to have some fun, celebrate with loved ones and look forward to whatever the future may hold.

Here in Scotland, New Year’s Eve, or Hogmanay as it’s known, is a really big deal. It seems like the world descends on Edinburgh to take in the fantastic atmosphere of the world-famous festivities and street party. The fun starts on New Year’s Eve with a torchlight procession through the middle of the city, before rounding the evening off with an amazing fireworks display. At Hogmanay, the city centre comes alive as thousands of people descend on the streets to enjoy live music, mulled wine and the world famous fireworks as the clock strikes 12.

Across Europe, lots of cities have their own traditions that makes New Year’s Eve so special.

New Year Edinburgh

Bonne Année!

Bringing in the New Year in France is all about celebrating in style. France doesn’t do anything by halves so ringing in the new year is about enjoying the best food, bubbly and company. Also known as Saint Sylvester’s Eve, the evening includes a gorgeous feast including Champagne and foie gras with friends and family. As the clock ticks down to midnight, people take their place under the mistletoe which plays a part in New Year’s celebrations (as opposed to Christmas ones like in the UK) to pucker up for celebratory kisses to celebrate the arrival of the new year.

In large cities, such as Paris, there isn’t an official fireworks display but rather a light extravaganza. The centre piece of New Year’s Eve in Paris is unsurprisingly the Eiffel Tower which hosts the dazzling lightshow. The best viewing point to enjoy the celebrations from is the Champs-Élysées which offers a great view of the Tower.

Christmas in Paris

Prospero Año Nuevo!

New Year celebrations in Spain centre around the eating of grapes, but not just any grapes, magic grapes. Yep, you read that correctly.

Family and friends gather together to enjoy a large dinner and to celebrate the arrival of the new year and one tradition of the evening is eating twelve grapes as the clock counts down the final twelve seconds to midnight. If you manage to eat them all, one at a time, finishing on the final chime then it’s thought to be good luck and you will be in for a healthy, happy and prosperous year. In villages, towns and cities, people gather together in local squares to eat the grapes together.

Madrid is particularly famous for its New Years celebrations at Puerta del Sol Square. Thousands of people descend on the square in front of the large clock to countdown, eat grapes and then break out the bubbly and have a massive party.


Square in Madrid

Buon Anno!

You better get your lucky red pants on to celebrate New Year authentically in Italy! Among other superstitions, including eating white lentils at midnight to bring good fortune, it’s considered to bring you luck if you welcome in the New Year wearing red pants. Known in Italy as Copodanno, the evening is filled with good food, drink and lots of merriment. The holiday celebrations generally continue through until January 6th when the Festa della Befana signals the end of the holiday period.

For a magical celebration, the city of Rome has it covered. Every corner and monument in the city is illuminated with a warm glow to take on a truly enchanting atmosphere. The heart of the celebrations takes place in the Piazza del Popolo (the people’s square) where everyone in Rome comes together to enjoy the fantastic atmosphere and to dance and sing to live music in the run up to midnight before enjoying fireworks as the clock strikes 12.

Christmas tree in Rome

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing to bring in the New Year, we hope you have a fantastic time and wish you all a very happy new year!

See you on the other side for more fun-filled, memory-making holidays in 2016!

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