After years of the same old New Year’s Eve parties, singing Auld Lang Syne, counting down at midnight and kissing as the clock strikes 12, it may be time to shake things up a bit. With some creativity, you can host an international-themed New Year’s Eve party that incorporates traditions from around the world. Here are a few ideas.
As you clink champagne flutes with your guests at midnight, try saying cheers in another language. Offer a “cin cin” or “a votre sante” as a toast to the New Year.
Food and drink
Branch out from the typical offerings and add some international flare to your food and beverage service. Incorporate drinks, wines or beers from around the world and serve some traditional foods from other countries. If you hang with an international crowd, ask each person to bring a food or drink from their home country.
Count it down
If you live in the US, it may be harder to pull this off, but depending on the hours of your party, you can start the night by counting down each time another timezone passes the midnight mark. If you chose a different country, countdown in the local language and toast with a native drink. Help everyone keep track of the countdowns by hanging clocks around the party space, setting them to the time in another location, and labeling them with the name of the country of city they represent.
Celebrate cultural traditions from around the world
Every country seems to have its own special way of celebrating the passing of the old year and the welcoming of the new. In Germany and Scandinavia, Herring is served on New Year’s Eve while in Denmark, people eat marzipan cake for dessert. In Greece, it’s customary to eat Vasilopita, a cake baked with a coin inside. The person who bites into the coin will have good fortune for the next year. In Mexico, Spain and Portugal, people eat 12 grapes as the clock chimes 12 times at midnight. Each grape represents one wish for the coming year.
In many cultures, wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve is said to bring love, while yellow will ensure money comes your way. In Hungary the people burn effigies known as “Jack Straw”, who represents the misfortunes of the past year. Burning the effigy is supposed to get rid of the bad luck. In several cultures, it is also believed that carrying a piece of luggage at midnight will ensure that you have many safe travels for the coming year.