Hogmanay around the world

From sizzling barbecues in Argentina and hot Glühwein in sub-zero temperatures in Germany, to eating grapes in Barcelona or black-eyed peas in Houston, Texas, find out more about the many different ways people around the world celebrate the New Year.


A wee dram with friends and Auld Lang Syne at midnight. It may be thousands of miles away, but New Year in Africa is not so different from right here at home . . .

South Africa

"New Year in is celebrated in many ways. Some of the younger generation go to dance clubs and party all night. Some cities organise street parties or concerts in the park, with local musicians. My parents usually go to a traditional Hogmanay, but I would say that most people like to spend the evening with friends. It could be at home for dinner or a braai (local word for a barbeque) or at a restaurant or dinner theatre or wherever there is good food, good music and good friends."

Beverley MacDonald, Johannesburg


Barbecues in Texas, champagne in Nova Scotia, Asado Criollo in Argentina and Auld Lang Syne being sung everywhere from Albuquerque to Chicago . . .


"We celebrate with friends and family. Scots and their friends get together in a traditional get together where the 'Argentine barbecue' 'Asado Criollo' is combined with the joy and spirit of the Scottish Country Dance. After singing 'Auld Lang Syne', our hopes for the New Year are expressed.

From a distance, Scots and their friends in Argentina wish everyone in Scotland and around the world a happy, peaceful and prosperous 2008!"

Monica Loreto, Buenos Aires

New Mexico

"New Mexico is unique in that it has a variety of Native American communities and a vibrant Hispanic community to go along with the English-speaking culture. Singing Auld Lang Syne has become traditional for most mainstream New Mexico society, but the Pueblo Indians hold ceremonial dances (often sacred) that I suspect would bypass the singing. And relatively few would connect the song to Burns and Scotland."

Ferenc (Frank) Szasz, Albuquerque

Nova Scotia

"New Year's Eve is celebrated in a variety of ways. Some quietly pass the time at home, while others ring in the New Year with a party which always includes 'Auld Lang Syne' at the stroke of Midnight. One Digby Tradition is the Annual Levee in which citizens gather at the Town Hall in the afternoon of New Year's Day to wish each other well."

Kristy Herron, Digby


"The celebration of the New Year where I am from (Texas via Indiana) is by the gathering of friends and or family and after eating, drinking and dancing, the New Year is brought in with the fanfare of cazoos and other loud noise-makers, the popping of champagne bottles and the singing of 'Auld Lang Syne'. Everybody kisses everybody else, then they go home. Or pass out. In some homes in Texas the people eat black-eyed peas for good luck. In the Midwest they may eat pork and saurkraut – at midnight – so they will have money in their pocket in the New Year."

Carol Decker, Houston


Did you know that in Taiwan they set a place at the New Year table for those unable to be there in order to symbolize their presence in spirit if not in body?


"New Year's Eve is spent by bidding farewell to the old year and thanking the ancestors and the gods for their blessing and protection. Children who have left their hometowns return on this day to share New Year's Eve Dinner with their families, and for those unable to make the journey, a table setting is placed to symbolize their presence in spirit if not in body."

Reggie Wu, SDI , Taipei


From huge street parties in Sydney to the southern hemisphere's largest Highland Games in Waipu, New Zealand, they certainly know how to celebrate New Year down under!

New Zealand

"We don't eat an awful lot, simply snacks throughout the evening, and usually play some games with music on and when it's near New Year we go outside into the normally warm night and ready our glasses and our fireworks. When the Year dawns we hug and wish each other Happy New Year, and watch the fireworks herald it in as we sing Auld lang Syne. Many kiwis now save their 'Guy Fawkes' fireworks for New Year.

Thereafter we eat some snacks that were in the oven and watch to make sure our first foot is tall, dark, and handsome.

The largest Highland Games in the Southern Hemisphere is at Waipu on 1st January so many head there on that day."

Tommy Robertson, Auckland


Drinking hot Glühwein in sub-zero temperatures in Germany, midnight street parties in Sweden and consuming one grape for each peel of the midnight bells in Barcelona! Europe has many different ways of celebrating New Year.


"Traditionally drinking hot Glühwein in sub-zero temperatures, the Germans will celebrate Hogmanay with family and friends watching the fireworks light up the Stuttgart sky."

Ross Hepburn, Stuttgart


"The Spanish do pretty much the same as us – gather, drink a lot and wish each other a happy new year. There is one interesting difference included however: which is to consume 1 grape for each peel of the bells at midnight = 12 grapes downed in the time it takes you to say Hogmanay!! Try that in George Sq. with a few nips under your belt!"

Mike Thom, Barcelona


"Swedes in general gather together for parties, big or small, including dinner, festive outfits and champagne (any bubbly will do) and other beverages (mostly alcoholic).

At midnight there are lots of fireworks. Sometimes set up by the council, but often also in somebody's garden and on the streets where lots of people meet up for midnight. Then the party continues into the small hours. . . And we say 'gott nytt år!' to each other!"

Jeanette Hagerstrom, formerly Helsingborg, now Glasgow.

Visit Scotland: Find out how you can enjoy a Scottish Hogmanay

Last updated 16 Oct 2014