New Year's Eve Traditions Around the World

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Old New Year's traditions meet new...and Blockbuster rakes in

Did you know that many Americans and Canadians now choose to rent videos on New Year's Eve and have a few friends over to watch a favorite flick or two rather than brave the winter nights on icy roads after a few alcoholic libations?  This according to a recent survey by the Blockbuster Company, which stated that video rental sales go way up on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. 

What about celebrating the New Year in other countries?  Here's a snapshot of the New Year's traditions of a few countries around the world.


In Spain, New Year's Eve revelers stop what they are doing at midnight and
feed each other 12 grapes for good luck -- one for each toll of the Puerta
del Sol clock located in the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid and widely
regarded as the center of Spain. The 12 tolls are broadcast by all the
television channels and people stop wherever they are to mark the coming of
the new year. New Year's Day is a time to rest up from the festivities and
rentals spike in Spanish Blockbuster stores.

Hong Kong

New Year's is the biggest holiday of the year in Hong Kong with most workers
getting three days of holiday. The traditional celebration starts with a
reunion dinner on New Year's Eve with all family members returning to the
patriarch's home for dinner. The dinner includes chicken (prosperity), fish
(abundance), mushroom and seaweed (prosperity) and other goodies such as
shrimp and abalone. The family then goes to a New Year's Eve bazaar to buy
flowers and do last-minute shopping before the stores close for the evening.
The "Good Luck" flowers to buy are chrysanthemum (prosperity), water lily
(good health) and peony (love). Shoppers take care to avoid white roses and
cactus (bad luck). A trip to the video store before the reunion dinner is
also common practice to stock up on movies for the three-day holiday making
New Year's Eve the busiest day of the year and New Year's week the busiest
week of the year for Hong Kong Blockbuster stores.


You won't find Australian's dreaming of a white Christmas, unless it's the
sand on the beach. New Year's Eve is the middle of summer with temperatures
sometimes reaching 100 degrees (40 degrees Celsius). Aussies celebrate with
BBQ and parties with family and friends, and that often means a fun movie to
set the holiday tone. As the New Year approaches, they gather around the
television for the Sydney Harbor fireworks.


The holiday experience in Scandinavia is often shaped by the unpredictable
weather, making movie watching a favorite pastime. New Year's Eve is a time for late-night celebration, which makes New Year's Day the biggest rental day
of the year for Denmark Blockbuster stores.