As the clock ticks down to midnight, a crowd gathers in Times Square, waiting for a glittering ball to descend and launch the New Year. But this isn’t New York, it’s Hong Kong, where a ball drop has also become an annual tradition.
Around the world, locals celebrate the passing of one year to the next in similar ways: fireworks, street parties, dancing, and generous helpings of food and drinks. Still, each destination has its own cultural twists and distinctive setting. In St. Petersburg, Russia, for instance, folks bundle up to admire fireworks above the partially frozen Neva River—and send hundreds of paper lanterns up into the night sky.
Party people can stay out late in Reykjavik, Iceland, then go for a dip in the hot springs. Or they can join the massive beach bash in Valparaíso, Chile. For good luck in 2014, do as the Chileans do and wear yellow underwear, eat a dozen grapes at midnight, and put a $1,000 peso bill in your shoe.
Beachfront fireworks shows ring in the New Year in Maui, HI, which caters to couples and to families. The Bahamas offers similar warm-weather appeal along with traditional Junkanoo costumed street parades.
Whether you’d rather cozy up by the fire with a fine wine in Sonoma, CA, sing “Auld Lang Syne” on a torchlight procession through Edinburgh’s cobblestoned streets, or party until the sun comes up, there’s a destination that will start your New Year right.