There are so many different cultures in the world, and they all celebrate their birthdays, holidays and events in different ways. So in this, the last Flickr Friday of 2012, we wanted to highlight some weird and wonderful New Year’s traditions across the globe.
Please enjoy this collection of interesting New Year’s traditions, and have an amazing 2013.
12 grapes for 12 strikes of the clock in Spain – Image © darthrevan1116
Wear polka dots in the Philippines – Image © imogene
Burning effigies in the streets in Ecuador – Image © Lea LSF
First image: Old Year Parade in Portmagee, Ireland
Guy Fawkes in the UK, then Diwali around the world, Thanksgiving in the USA to Hanukkah and Christmas just gone we’ve had plenty of things to celebrate at this time of the year; and to go along with all these festivities are the whizzes, pops and bangs of fireworks displays. However, fireworks design teams around the world are saving the best for last with New Year’s Eve being the highlight of their calendar. Here’s our guide to some of the best places in the world to see them master their craft and stop and shop coinstar Coinstar Money Transfer, ROMANIA, MURES welcome in 2013 with a bang. Literally.
Let’s start with the most obvious shall we? There’s no denying that Sydney has the best New Year’s Eve parties, with their consistently spectacular fireworks that the whole world tunes in to see. 7 tonnes of fireworks and 52 illuminated boats in the harbor light up the city, certainly making Sydney one of the most breathtaking places to usher in the New Year. It’s also the peak of summer in Australia; so on top of a world-class light show, the weather is gorgeous.
Sydney © Christopher Chan
Every year, Londoners and tourists alike line the banks of the River Thames, waiting in the cold and often the rain for midnight, breath hanging in the air. They wait so eagerly and jovially because London consistently offers some of the most well-choreographed, beautiful light shows on earth – and a wait in damp weather is always worth it. With the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee taking place in 2012, we fully expect this year’s fireworks display in London to be one of their best yet. For a different experience, head to Alexandra Park or Hampstead Heath for some of the best views at a distance without the crowds.
London © Beacon Radio
‘Hogmanay’ is Scotland’s chance to put its city on the map as one of the best places to see in the New Year. New Year’s in Edinburgh is all about its parties, with event being held all over town from the 30th including concerts, the torchlight procession and the world famous, family-friendly street party on Princes Street. At midnight, the cannon is fired from Edinburgh Castle to kick off a fireworks display which lights up the whole city.
Torchlight processional © Rude Cech
Fireworks are a huge part of Silvestre celebrations with many being let loose from peoples’ balconies and gardens – you have been warned! A number of organized displays take place throughout the city but one of the most popular is the always dramatic and visually brilliant fireworks set off against the stunning backdrops of Brandenburg Gate and Victory Column. Combined with the largest open-air New Year’s Eve party in the world (with live bands, electronic music, laser and light shows and heaps of good food and drink to find), New Year’s in Berlin is always an unforgettable experience.
Berlin © bby_
Amsterdam is at its most festive for the new year, and every year the city invites its inhabitants and visitors to join in a night of free live music and entertainment starting from 9pm and culminating in, of course, a massive fireworks display. Head down to Museumplein to join in this year or find a spot near the canals to watch the reflections of the fireworks light up Amsterdam’s beautiful waterways at midnight. Another popular view is of the fireworks over the Amstel River, with the Magere Bridge, popularly known as skinny bridge, offering the best viewpoint if you can find a spot.
Museumplein, Amsterdam © evghoul
There is one very special and unique tradition in Miami called the Big Orange; a fully lit up neon sign of an over-sized orange, which from 6 o’clock in the evening climbs up the facade of the Intercontinental Hotel, to be dropped at midnight to huge applause and cheering. This is also when the fireworks start, so be sure to head to Miami Beach early to get a good view of both.
Miami Beach © k_paulinka
Mexico City has an annual street festival warming up the locals right up until midnight. You should also expect a grape shortage across the city, as it is a Mexican tradition to eat a grape at each of the twelve chimes of the clock that ring in a new year. If you are staying at a nearby coastal resort, then make sure to visit one of Mexico’s electric beach parties. Enjoy your grapes while watching fireworks set off across the city and find some fireworks of your own to contribute your own fizzes, bangs and pops.
Mexico City © ToñoO
Boston is a great location for families to see an amazing fireworks display. While Public Garden is where Boston’s families traditionally gather to see the impressive fireworks that shoot up over the city at midnight, you don’t have to brave the cold temperatures or keep the kids up past their bed times as nearby Hampton Beach has its own firework display from 8 o’clock in the evening.
Boston © lukevu
Wherever you are in the world, and whatever the size of the fireworks display you are watching, we wish you a prosperous, exciting and travel-filled 2013.
First image © nikicorny
During the festive season, it’s not likely that any of us need much encouragement to start nibbling on Christmas treats, and it is a festive fact that we tend to eat more than we should with all the mince pies and roasted chestnuts coming to town. However you don’t need to stick to the same old thing. Why not spread your wings – and your waistband – by enjoying Christmas traditions from another country? Well, put down your turkey meat and gravy boat and come fly with us on a foodie’s tour of four festive countries in Europe at Christmas time!
Christmas table setting © Putneypics
Possibly fuelled by the chilly temperatures at this time of year, Danish families cook up a real feast for Christmas – or Jul – with roast pork or roast duck being the centrepiece dishes around which a variety of vegetables and potato dishes are served on Christmas Eve. Desert comes in the form of risalamande, a rice pudding with cherry sauce. Festivities begin at the start of advent in Denmark and as families gather at street markets popular sweet treats will include æbleskiver, doughnut style pancakes, and gløgg for those old enough to cope with this heady mix of mulled wine and spices. Denmark is also one of the places where those ‘chestnuts roasting on an open fire…’ made famous in the song are also enjoyed at Christmas. Glædelig jul!
Risalamande © bosworth.dk
Christmas dinner in France is rather elegantly known as Le Reveillon de Noël and is eaten during the evening and into the night of Christmas Eve. The French being the culinary connoisseurs that they are, le Reveillon often consists of numerous different courses starting with Champagne and amuse-bouches followed by foie gras and smoked salmon with lamb or poultry as the main meal. This is then followed up with a refreshing green salad, and next come cheeses with the final course being une bûche de Noël; a Christmas log cake decorated with frosting and figurines. That’s if you’re still awake, of course. Should you be lucky enough to be heading to Provence for Christmas be warned that they take the number of courses to an entirely new level, with it being a local tradition to serve thirteen different desserts! Joyeux Noël!
Bûche de Noël © masatsu
Famous for the Lebkuchen that many now recognise as a traditional German Christmas treat, it’s comforting to know that the Germans are still as crazy for these gingerbread cookies as we’d like to think, and the tradition of building gingerbread houses is also strong in many parts of Germany. With the main gathering and meal being served on Christmas Eve, many families in southern Germany will sit down to eat Schäufele, a smoked joint of ham, served with potatoes and vegetables. Of course, Christmas is also a good an excuse as any for the Germans to eat lots of sausages with Weisswurst – a white sausage stew served with vegetables, veal and bacon being a popular dish in North Germany. Christstollen, a spiced fruit loaf, is a very common seasonal cake eaten at this time of year. Fröhliche Weihnachten!
Schäufele © Ctz NÃ¼rnberg
In the predominantly Catholic country of Portugal, Christmas is a widely celebrated occasion shared with extended family and friends, though gifts aren’t traditionally given to children until January 6th, the day which marks the Epiphany of the Wise Men. The main Portuguese meal takes place on Christmas Day starting with consado, a meal that is often centred around roast turkey – though roast lamb or goat isn’t unusual. With it being one of the most popular Portuguese dishes year round bacalhao, salted codfish with potato, is also often served. Bolo Rei, which translates as King Cake, is a wonderful white flour fruitcake decorated with glazed fruits, and most bakeries will serve a number of different variations during the festive period. Feliz Natal!
Bacalhao © zcamerino
There are so many delicious, edible ways to enjoy yuletide. We hope that however you spend yours, and whomever you spend it with, it is filled with good cheer, laughter and just… one… more… piece. Merry Christmas!
In this week’s Flickr Friday, we’re taking a look at Christmas trees in cities across the world. Many urban centres try to outdo each another with the biggest, brightest and most cleverly designed Christmas trees that their top creative minds can come up with. A lot of the time there’s also a story behind them; like the tree in London’s Trafalgar Square which has been donated to the city by Norway every year since 1947, for services rendered in the Second World War.
Please enjoy this collection of festive and arboreal images, and have a joyful weekend.
Rio de Janeiro © alobos Life
Berlin © fotoeins
Tokyo © toooooool
Prague © hdc.
New York © Luke Redmond
Madrid © alvarezperea
Strasbourg © hoosadork
Warsaw © Daniel*1977
Vienna © rabasz
London © micamica
While much of the world is putting up trees for Christmas or lighting menorah for Hanukkah, there is another spiritual celebration awaiting us in December, one that is mysterious, ancient and intriguing, allowing a perfect excuse to visit this beautiful and historic corners of the British Isles.
Let us tell you about winter solstice…
Frost & berries © Unhindered by Talent
While temperatures have been plummeting in Europe for what feels like many months already, winter solstice actually marks the official beginning of winter. Most people in the UK will be aware of the day winter solstice falls on, as it’s also the shortest day and longest night of the year. Not everyone will know though that this is also the time when the sun appears lowest in the sky due to the Earth’s angle on its axis and its position relative to the sun. It is for these reasons that celebrations are focused on the specific time the sun rises, reaches its peak and then sets. This year the sun will be at its highest point at 11:12 am on 21st December.
There is evidence to suggest that this astronomical event has been recognised since neolithic times, when the stars, moon and sun influenced farming and mythologies and theories about life. Archeologists say that Stonehenge was built in around 3100 BC for the marking of the sun’s setting on winter solstice, and a prehistoric monument of similar age found in Ireland called Newgrange was built on a man’s line of sight for the sun’s rise on the same day.
Newgrange © Collin Key
While Stonehenge is a magnificent and mind-blowing sight to see at any time of the year, marking winter solstice here a once in a lifetime experience, with several solstice stalwarts from a number of “New Age Tribes” gathering to mark the most important day in their calendar. Winter solstice is seen as an occasion of ‘spiritual awakening’ and people watch the sun to see what it predicts for the year ahead.
With access to Stonehenge being limited all year round and in particular on winter solstice, there is a special organised tour on the day so you’ll need to book tickets in advance.
Winter solstice at Stonehenge © Mark! Ch.
Not far from Stonehenge is Glastonbury, a place more famous for its muddy music festival that its historic roots as one of the most popular places to celebrate winter solstice. On what is believed to be a man-made mound – though it has never been excavated to investigate further – stands Glastonbury Tor: a lonely church tower believed to be the last in a long line of monuments that have stood here in honour of both winter and summer solstices. This site has connections to many historic legends, including that of King Arthur. Climb up to have breathtaking views of the sun rising and setting across the patchwork of green fields that make up the surrounding countryside.
Glastonbury Tor at dawn © midlander1231
If you’re looking to become an observer – or participant – in winter solstice in Glastonbury or Stonehenge, you could combine this experience with a stay in the Somerset countryside, where rolling hills will keep you away from the hustle and bustle of cities, and may just provide the perfect backdrop to your own private winter solstice celebration.
First image © Hackworth