Bright Places, How To

Bring in the New Year with an International Twist


One thing that is so special about New Year’s is that it is something that is acknowledged all across the globe. Many other holidays pertain to a specific religion or nation, but the coming of the New Year relates to everyone, regardless of people’s beliefs or nationalities. In this sense, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day represent a connection between people in countries in all corners of the world.

If you are thinking of hosting a New Year’s party this year, it might be fun to give it a global twist and incorporate elements of the celebration from different countries. Below I have included some suggestions for throwing a New Year’s party with an international kick:



According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2015 is the year of the goat. If you are considering sending out paper or electronic invitations, try to find some way to include a goat. You can find countless templates and images online.


In Greece, it is customary to hang an onion on the door as a sign of rebirth. Doing so would be a nice nod to the Greek celebration.

In Japan, pine branches representing longevity, bamboo representing prosperity, and plum blossoms representing nobility are placed throughout the home. If you can obtain any of these items, I suggest decorating your house with them.

Because it is the year of the goat, you should also try to find ways to display images of goats throughout your house or wherever you are throwing the party. Be creative!


If you are planning on having a potluck, choose a particular cuisine and then assign everyone a type of food (entrée, appetizer, dessert, etc) relating to it. Organization will help you avoid 10 pizzas, a tray of sushi, and some tacos. I mean, you may like that, and that’s fine! Personally, though, I like things to be a little more cohesive and to make sure that there is enough of everything. Feel free to choose whatever cuisine appeals to you.

It is easy to find the types of food people in different cultures eat on New Year’s. In Spain, it is customary to eat 12 grapes, one for each stroke of the clock at midnight. This might be difficult to facilitate, but it could be fun to have grapes available so as to include this tradition in some way.



Even if you are going for a global vibe, you do not have to abandon any New Year’s Eve traditions you are accustomed to, such as watching the ball drop in Times Square in New York City.

A new activity you could do is string tying, like they do in Thailand. In Thailand on New Year’s, people will tie string on the wrists of others as a sign of respect. This is something that could be easy to manage if you were interested.

One unusual tradition in Denmark consists of people breaking plates on their front door. The more broken crockery there is, the more friends one will have in the coming year. You could request that everyone bring a plate so as to partake in this tradition.

Practically every culture has its own way of recognizing New Year’s. Participating in traditions of different cultures can provide a great new perspective on one of the biggest days of the year.