New Year’s Eve

Just about everyone in the world is familiar with the concept of New Year’s Eve. It is an event that occurs in every country and is known for being the day before a brand new year. A time of year when people gather to celebrate the trials and tribulations of the past year and set their sights on the coming year. A time when anything and everything seems possible.

For most countries using the Gregorian calendar, this time of year occurs on December 31st. It is a time when friends and family gather to enjoy each other’s company, good food, music, dancing, and probably too much alcohol. It is also the time of year when people start thinking about their resolutions—or what they want to accomplish—for the coming year.

How people in each country celebrate this holiday is as diverse as the countries themselves. In fact, sometimes holiday traditions vary from region to region within the same country. While we can’t cover every single tradition of this holiday celebrated in every country, what we can do is get a flavor of the holiday by looking at a few of them to see how people in those countries celebrate this day.

The United States

One of the biggest and most prominent traditions in the U.S. is the dropping of the ball in Times Square, New York. It is an event watched by people from around the world. It features a gigantic ball (weighing almost 12,000 lbs and measuring 12 feet in diameter) made out of Waterford Crystal dropping from the top of a seventy-foot pole in the last minute before New Year’s. When it reaches the ground, it is exactly 12 midnight Eastern Time. At this time, everyone grabs their significant other and plants a big wet kiss on them.


Known as St. Sylvester’s Day in Germany, one of the biggest celebrations in that country is in the city of Berlin. A huge outdoor party, one of the biggest in Europe, occurs on this night. It covers the 2 km stretch between Brandenburg Gate and Victory Column and features live music acts, disc jockeys, fireworks, light shows, and a lot of fun.


After sunset, many people in Iceland go to mass and enjoy time with their families around neighborhood bonfires. It may sound tame, but when the clock strikes midnight, the whole country explodes—literally. Over 500 tons of fireworks light the skies in this country. A way to blast in the new year.

As you can see, New Year’s Eve is a day enjoyed by people around the world. It is also a chance to think about the fresh start that one can have with the beginning of another year.

Where is it celebrated?
Barbados (Observance)Canada (Observance)Cayman Islands (Observance) Show all
When is it?
This year (2024)
December 31 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
December 31 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
December 31 Sunday