Fun Activities to Do When Celebrating a Foreign New Year

The year is coming to an end, making way for another one.

Time flies, even when the world is doing its best to slow it down.

happy new year and tangerines on a white table
Celebrate a foreign New Year this time around!

Well, since the holiday season is nearing and a lot of us want to make the best of it, why not opt to travel? Spend your vacation somewhere else and experience just how different countries are in terms of celebration and tradition!

Be In the Middle of the Festivities in Beijing, China

As one might expect from China, celebrating the new year doesn’t just happen with fireworks. They take it a step further by having festivals and coloring every inch of their streets with red.

In China, putting up red decorations means warding off ghosts and welcoming power and happiness. They also give out red envelopes filled with money to children and senior citizens. This is their version of gift-giving and it even moved on to apps to make it easier on people who live far apart.

People also look forward to the traditional lion and dragon dances during the celebrations. Their New Year festival isn’t complete without these dances. The locals perform these dances in order to bring luck and prosperity for the upcoming year.

Thailand’s Traditional Yet Beautiful Celebrations

In Thailand, visiting temples is the most common thing to do to honor the new year. People have a gift-exchanging tradition too and bond together with their families for the celebration. Thai people take great importance in the concept of family, so they make sure to spend the holidays together.

If you plan to go to Thailand this year, prepare yourself for some very religious celebrations. Visiting temples is the main thing that the locals do for New Year’s, so expect a more toned down celebration as they make way for the more traditional aspects of the holiday.

There is also something else to look forward to in the coming February, and that’s the Lantern Festival. The date changes every year, and for 2022, it’s on February 15.

lanterns in the night sky
Take your celebrations just a step further by celebrating New Year’s abroad.

The reason why the date keeps changing is that they rely on the traditional Thai lunar calendar. The Lantern Festival, or Loy Krathong, takes place on the 12th month in their calendar.

If you’re in Thailand for that, you will be able to witness a night sky filled with floating lanterns that light up the darkness.

The Philippines Being Colorful and Loud

New Year’s abroad differs in how every country wants to greet January 1st. Take the country known as the Pearl of the Orient Seas. In the Philippines, it’s customary to make as much noise as possible by the time the clock strikes 12.

The fireworks are there as a staple and they’re already loud enough on their own. But it’s common tradition to be louder than your neighbor when January 1st arrives, particularly at midnight.

Children and adults will blow horns as loud as they can, almost like a funny competition as to who can be the loudest. Pockets are filled with coins and they make it a point to jiggle it like their lives depended on it.

Car and motorcycle owners turn on their vehicles and make them purr and growl as much as they can, letting the noise and smoke litter the area.

Discos and dance parties happen in the middle of the streets, with music blaring so loudly it could wake up the dead. Pair that up with the many fireworks that paint every inch of the night sky no matter where you look, and you’ve got yourself a memorable start of the year.

a hand holding up a sparkler
Fireworks are a staple in any New Year's celebration.

They have a famous slogan that goes “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” and they take it up to a whole new level, wearing the word “fun” with pride.

And then there’s the Media Noche, a New Year version of the Noche Buena, where they eat at midnight. It’s slightly tame compared to its Christmas counterpart, but with the addition of round food (cake, pizza, tikoy, donuts, and so on) and 12 round fruits. As long as it’s round, that fruit will be on the dining table because it’s supposed to bring in good luck.

Everywhere you look, there’s something happening. It could be drinking, singing, dancing, a feast, children being supervised on fireworks, and adults putting on a fireworks show. It’s one foreign new year you will never forget, where the entire country just parties until morning.

Russia and Ukraine’s Orthodox Christmas and New Year

Before Russians celebrate Christmas, they probably celebrate New Year’s first.

They follow the Russian Orthodox Church’s calendar, which means that Christmas falls on January 7th instead of December 25th. You will most likely be celebrating a late Christmas if you visit for the New Year.

On the 14th of January, you will again celebrate the New Year according to the Julian calendar, after your Julian calendar Christmas.

Ukraine, too, does the same thing, since they follow the same calendar. It’s not a public holiday, so offices will remain open during the Orthodox New Year. But people still celebrate the festive Christmas season. This is mostly because they too have their Christmas on January 7th.

There will be some culture festivals, sleighing competitions, midnight feasts, and church masses that they have to attend. Their holidays are taken a lot more seriously than most, since they are some of the most Christian countries.

Travel the World to Greet the New Year!

It’s nice to get out of your comfort zone every once in a while. Everyone around the world has their own yearly tradition, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy someone else’s.

Traveling opens a lot of gateways. You might enjoy the Philippines more or maybe you might meet a pretty Ukrainian woman and fall in love. That’s the best thing about traveling. You get to experience different things while getting to keep some special traditions for yourself. Whether that be unforgettable memories or a newfound love is the question.

So while there’s still time, book a ticket! Go to any of these countries and spend the holidays somewhere new and nice. Bring some friends and family or go alone – the point here is for you to enjoy the holiday season. So go for it!

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