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New Year's Tours & Trips

The celebration of the New Year is a tradition eagerly enjoyed by people from all over the world. Although many have their own traditions for New Year's, the theme of “new beginnings” rings true no matter where you find yourself celebrating.

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How is New Year's celebrated?

  • In New York

    Every year more than one million people gather in the heart of New York City to watch popular musical acts perform hit songs in the lead-up to midnight, at one of the largest outdoor parties in the world. The big moment begins at 11:59pm when the famous New Year’s Eve Ball begins its descent from atop a flagpole. When it completes its drop at the stroke of midnight, crowds erupt into cheers as confetti rains through the sky and friends and family embrace to welcome the new year. 
  • In London

    Catch one of the best fireworks displays in the world in London, England. Join thousands of spectators lined along the Thames or in Trafalgar Square as you eagerly await the stroke of midnight. If fireworks don’t interest you, most restaurants or bars will host ticketed events and parties, or you can spend a magical evening ice skating at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. No matter where you go, there’s so much to see and do in this incredible city.
  • In Sydney

    Famous for the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, Sydney is an exciting place to celebrate New Year's Eve. Watch the incredible display of pyrotechnics and head to Birchgrove Park for the best vantage point over the city. Another option is to camp on Cockatoo Island and watch the sky come alive from the opposite side of the harbour. Perfect for families and children, you can camp under the stars and forget about traffic jams after midnight.

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New Year's Facts

  • Which nations celebrate the New Year first?

    After travelling all around the world, the New Year will eventually come full circle and while New Year’s Eve is celebrated at different times around the world, the first place where you’ll hear, “Happy New Year!” will be in Samoa, Tonga and Kiritimati (Christmas Island) and part of Kiribati. On the other end of the spectrum, the last place or places to ring in the New Year will be American Samoa and Baker Island in the US.
  • Why do we celebrate New Year's?

    The first celebration of New Year's goes all the way back to Ancient Babylon. The first new moon that followed the vernal equinox was considered to be the beginning of the new year. The Babylonians would hold an enormous festival called Akitu that celebrated the victory of the mythical sky god Marduk over the evil sea goddess Tiamat.
  • When is the Chinese New Year?

    Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year, or 'Spring Festival' is China's most important festival and is celebrated between January 21st to February 20th, and is determined by the lunar calendar. Each Chinese year is associated with an animal sign according to the Chinese zodiac, and it is believed that years begin and end at Chinese New Year, rather than January 1st.
  • Which countries celebrate Chinese New Year?

    In China, the celebration of Chinese New Year is a public holiday which lasts for a few days, however it is also celebrated in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, North Korea, Brunei, Indonesia, South Korea, and Vietnam. It is not an official public holiday in western countries like Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, but is still widely celebrated.
  • When is the Jewish New Year?

    Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of Jewish New Year, is one of the most important dates in the Jewish Calendar and is celebrated for two days in September. The date itself marks the first of the High Holy Days, celebrated ten days before Yom Kippur. Around the world, the Jewish New Year honours the creation of the world and allows people to embrace the opportunity to ask for forgiveness.
  • What should I do for New Year's?

    Depending on where you are in the world, there are endless ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve. If you’re travelling, you could always join a short 3-day tour over New Year’s Eve, and some tour operators even run exclusive, one-off departures that combine Christmas and New Year’s Eve so you’ll be able to celebrate with a group of like-minded travellers from around the world.

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History of New Year's Eve

As you can probably tell, New Year’s has some very diverse traditions depending on where you call home. It seems as if everyone has had their hands in the pot throughout the centuries to bring us to an almost universal date (and style) of celebration. But where did it all begin?

The earliest recorded celebrations in honour of the arrival of the new year can be dated back to Ancient Babylon. The Babylonians considered the first new moon that followed the vernal equinox to be the beginning of the new year. They would hold a massive festival called Akitu that celebrated the victory of the mythical sky god Marduk over the evil sea goddess Tiamat. As calendars grew more sophisticated throughout antiquity, patterns were recognized and with that came new traditions celebrating important events. 

Early renditions of the Roman calendar left out January and February (likely a smart move we might want to revisit) and it wasn’t until the reign of King Pompilius that these months were added. Eventually, the calendar fell out of sync with the sun and in 46 B.C. Emperor Caesar called on his best mathematicians and astronomers to introduce the Julian calendar, which closely resembles the calendar we currently hold dear today. Caesar then introduced January 1st as the first day of the year which was appropriate as the month’s name is derived from the Roman god of Janus, the god of new beginnings. 

There would then be a brief time in Medieval Europe when Christian leaders changed the date of the new year from January 1st to resemble their own beliefs, but eventually, this decision was reversed by Pope Gregory XIII.

New Year's Essentials

- Depending on where you celebrate, dress in layers
- Most dance clubs and restaurants will require advanced reservations
- Keep your valuables close
- Withdraw cash in advance
- Purchase alcohol in advance to save time (where it is permitted to drink alcohol outdoors)

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