Chemmie Squier | Acting Fashion & Beauty Editor | 1,023 day ago

Midnight Snogs, Champagne and Dancing: Here's What Midnight On New Year's Eve Looks Like Around The World

The Debrief: Midnight in the UK might be about Jools Holland's rendition of Auld Lang Syne and necking as much cheap cava as you can manage, but what do girls around the world do on New Year's Eve?

New Years Eve is a funny one. For one, it’s notorious for being a let down because, no matter what, it gets ridiculously hyped up. I even tried searching on Twitter to see if I could pinpoint the moment this year when the population en masse started discussing it, but didn't even got past the last hour's tweets after 15 minutes of scrolling. 

By the time it rolls around, if you’re not doing something spectacular like partying on a super-yatch in Sydney Harbour you’ve basically failed at NYE. Stupid, really, considering most people’s reality is getting off your face on cheap cava at your mate's house. Happy bloody New Year. Then of course comes a jerky, half-hearted, sway to Auld Lang Syne (probably being played on Jools Holland) before, yep, even more cava.

However you end up spending your night, the whole concept of a 'new year' is weirder still. The promise of a new start, a clean slate, pastures get the idea. How about we cut the crap, just a little? We all know that by mid January all those glimmering hopes have all but faded and you’re back eating cheese on toast in your bed for dinner again, even though you swore that habit would be left firmly in 2014.

For me, the start of 2015 signals the end of a year that has been a very mixed bag; most prominently the end of a big relationship but the start of my career. Swings and roundabouts, right? But how do girls across the globe spend the 31st December? I spoke to five women from different parts of the world to see what they'll be doing as the clock strikes midnight... 


Elly, 24, an Acupuncture student and herbalist from California, USA

How are you spending your NYE? At home hosting an intimate gathering of close friends. We live in a beautiful house with seven roommates, each person can invite 3 friends

Will you be drinking? If so, what do you like to drink? There will likely be champagne involved, or maybe some other fancy cocktails. But the main theme of the evening will likely have a more psychedelic nature.

Who will you be spending it with? My boyfriend, roommates, and close friends

Are midnight kisses a thing that happen in America? Absolutely

When will you get ready? An hour or two before friends arrive

What will you wear? A sexy dress or fun costume, or mix of the two. Something comfortable to change into later

When did you start planning what you were doing for it? It was only decided in the last week we would host a party.

What are your new years resolutions? Spending more time alone, being in nature more often, do well in grad school, travel outside of the country

Has 2014 been a good year for you? It has been a great year, lots of learning and growing, and big decisions were made

What music will you be listening to? Electronic, ambient, bass heavy, perhaps people playing acoustic music as well

What was your best NYE ever? Performing at a music festival in the snow, Snow Globe in Lake Tahoe, surrounded by friends

Are there any American traditions for NYE? New years kiss, champagne, last year we held a new years day brunch... I think that will happen again


Bianca, 30 a PA/Business Support to Al Brown and contracting for Rhythm and Vines from Auckland, New Zealand

What's it like to be one of the first places to welcome in the New Year? It’s a special and magical experience and a feeling of escapism being around good friends, new friends, live music and watching the sunrise come over the hills at Waiohika Estate. 

How are you spending your new years eve? I am spending it at Rhythm and Vines Festival in Gisborne, New Zealand. I will be event managing the Vintage Club (VIP) and having fun at the same time!

Will you be drinking? If so, what do you like to drink? I will have a few on NYE and 1st of January, most likely bubbles or wine of some sort.

Who are you spending it with? Old friends and making new friends from all over the country!

What will you be doing at midnight this year? Watching the amazing fireworks they put on and live music on the Rhythm stage from the Vintage Club (VIP) whilst toasting with friends and singing at the top of my lungs!

Are midnight kisses a thing that happen in NZ? Yes they are, if you are lucky to get one!

What time will you start getting ready on the day? I need to be at Rhythm and Vines ready for work by 4.30pm, so I will be at the beach relaxing all day and then a quick shower to get ready to wear my festival kit.

What are you wearing for it? I always buy a festival kit each year a Christmas present to myself really, so I am unsure yet. But most likely some cute shorts, a singlet with a nice bra underneath, my leather fringe bag and then some accessories. Our theme is White Nights this year, so most likely some white make up/face painting and some white feathers. 

When did you start planning what you were doing for it? I started planning the event mid October

What are your new years resolutions? To brush up on my Italian, do a nutritional course, tennis lessons and more European travel!

Has 2014 been a good or bad year for you? It has been a fabulous year! I went overseas for a year travelling by myself and I feel I have really come back and settled in to Auckland again, we have a great city and we are very lucky how cosmopolitan it really is! 

What music will you be listening to? Do you dance? I will be listening to the line up at Rhythm and Vines this year including, Bastille, Chase and Status, The Broods (kiwi band), Mo, Chet Faker and more

What was your best ever NYE? My best was 2006, with Mylo playing on the Vines stage at Rhythm and Vines Festival! Best set ever! 

Are there any traditions that take place in NZ on NYE? New years in NZ traditions, hmm people always go away to another beach destination and hang out with friends, go to a music festival and have a good time!!


Agata, 23, a Sociologist and part-time Coffee Shop employee from Warsaw, Poland

How are you spending your new years eve? I’m going to a party on the outskirts of Warsaw at my best friend’s house. There will be couple of her friends. It won’t be anything big, just a small intimate party – around 20 people, maybe a few more.

Will you be drinking? If so, what do you like to drink? There will probably be quite a lot of alcohol like on every New Years Eve party. Mostly vodka and beer. Of course traditional champagne at midnight. As I’m not to good at drinking shots I will probably stick to beers and drinks.

Who are you spending it with? As I mentioned before – with my best friend and her friends, I know most of them so it should be fun. I’m also taking my boyfriend who will be visiting me from Denmark for Christmas and NYE.

What will you be doing at midnight this year? Drinking Champagne and wishing everyone, who is present, everything best like always.

Are midnight kisses a thing that happen in Poland? It’s not mandatory, but if you have someone to kiss, just do it.

What time will you start getting ready on the day? I didn't plan it that thoroughly yet, but as it’s outside of Warsaw and I’ll have to get there by car I'll probably start around 6pm or later.

What are you wearing for it? I haven't decided yet but I got few new dresses lately so probably one of those - they're all black, although  I didn't do that on purpose. I'm leaning on one, which is quite special as I got it from my grandma. It’s probably around 50 years old but still looking like brand new. At least I’m sure it’s one of a kind.

When did you start planning what you were doing for it? As I’m planning to move out from Poland in few months so a while ago I planned with my best friend, who I know since we were 4 years old, that we will spend this NYE together for a first time since we know each other. But exact plans clarified around week ago.

What are your new years resolutions? Don’t really have any. Some time ago that I never kept them so I just gave up on this tradition. I decided to stop lying to myself.

Has 2014 been a good or bad year for you? It was a hard year with a lot of challenges but all in all it was really good year for me, even though New Years Eve preceding it wasn't too good.

What music will you be listening to? Do you dance? Hard to say. If It was my choice, there would be playing rock music, but knowing my host and her friends – there will play more of party-dance music. I always promise to myself that I won’t dance but always end up doing it anyway.

What was your best ever NYE? Actually it was nothing special. Few years ago two of my friends and I decided that we are tired of big parties so we decided to spend it together – eating, drinking, talking and watching movies. We had a lot of fun together and it was so much different then usual party.

Are there any traditions that take place in Poland on NYE? Only one I can think of is everyone getting really, unbearably drunk.


Katie, 31 an English Teacher from Seoul, South Korea

How are you spending your new years eve? We spend time with close friends or boyfriend/girl friend or family but most people like to go out and have dinner.

Will you be drinking? If so, what do you like to drink? Lots of people will be - in Korea we have a alcohol called 'SoJu' people like to mix with beer with Soju but some people hate that smell, so they only drink beer or wine. 

What will you be doing at midnight this year? I like to just stay at home and watch TV, but people who live in Seoul  like to go to Jongno to ring the bell at Bosingak. It's only ever rung on New Year's Eve and people make a wish when the bell's ringing. 

Are midnight kisses a thing that happen in South Korea? People kiss if they want but its not tradition here. You dont have to - often people pray at midnight. 

What time will you start getting ready on the day? Probably late afternoon - it's not a holiday so lots of people will be working. 

What are you wearing for it? Just normal clothes. It's really cold here on New Years Eve so we are wear really heavy coats and wrap up for the night out.

When did you start planning what you were doing for it? I only ever plan it the day before!

What are your new years resolutions? Getting married - ha! 

What music will you be listening to? Do you dance? I like to listen to all kinds of music - but I don't dance, I'm not very good at it. 

Are there any traditions that take place in South Korea on NYE? We go to the "Bosingak"(ringing bell place) to hear the wath-Night bell. The president rings the bell 33 times. 

What's the difference between New Years Eve and Soellal (Korean Lunar New Year celebrated on 19th February 2015)?  Soellal is celebrated in much the same way as New Year's Eve - although on 31st December people often stay at home but with Seollal we meet  up with our extended families and have Rice cake soup. This is traditional in Korea. It called 'Duck Gook' (made of rice). Seollal is much more important because we meet up with all of our cousins (who we don't often see ), and the kids wear kids wear korean traditional dress. It called 'Han-Bok.'


Photographed by Andoni Beristain

Ane, 25, Features Editor of La Monda Magazine, from Urretxu, Spain

How are you spending your new years eve? I come from a very traditional part of Spain; a little town the Basque Country, up in the mountains. Our tradition is to spend New Year's Eve having dinner with our families unlike other parts of Spain; you really need to have a big excuse not to go to this dinner. So, I'll meet up in our family farm with my uncles and cousins and we'll have a big dinner there and only after hitting midnight I'll go out with my school friends. 

Who are you spending it with? Family first; our mentality is like you have to celebrate the new year is here with the people that are the most important, which means family. Then, at about one AM, I'll meet up with my childhood friends, a big group of people who I'm still very close to. They are like family too.

What will you be doing at midnight this year? The tradition dictates in Spain that you should have one grape with each bell stoke at midnight, so you end up eating 12 grapes quickly while trying not to choke, faint or die. It's nearly impossible, I tell you. Here there's a big clock in the centre of Madrid, in La Puerta del Sol; the major national TV channels broadcast live from there the coming of the new year, so families usually watch that on TV. Then we have a toast with champagne.

Are midnight kisses a thing that happen in Spain? No. I had a NYE in London surrounded by English people and I really didn't know what to do when that moment came. I still don't get it very well, to be honest.

What time will you start getting ready on the day? At around... 7pm probably. 

What are you wearing? God knows, depending on how cold it is. It can easily snow where I live, or even more easily rain, and I'm not going anywhere fancy, so I can wear whatever I plan on the day. 

When did you start planning what you were doing for it? It's not really something you can plan; it's always been the same and I guess it will always be. Traditional, isn't it?

What are your new years resolutions? I've got many, 'cause I love making lists that I'll probably never accomplish. I do want to read and write more, keep on working on my projects, look at the nice side of live, be ok with the things I can't do 'cause there are so many thing I actually can do, meet people, laugh a lot, work hard, spend time with people that deserve it, enjoy every minute of this existence... as you can see, there are many things. Also, I should really exercise at some point. 

Has 2014 been a good or bad year for you? It's probably been the best year of my life, although my grandma passed away in May and I miss her everyday. 2013 was very very bad for me and I'm glad I've learnt a lot from that year, that I was able to turn really hard times into something good. 2014 it's been a fabulous transition. 

What music will you be listening to? Do you dance? I always have to start the new year with a song that will be like a good luck charm, listen to it on my own. This year I'll probably go for 'Run Wild' by Jimmy Jay, a 1959 song. When I'll go out, we'll just go to normal bars, so I'll try to survive dancing to whatever Enrique Iglesias has decided to release this year. 'Dancing,' I mean.

What was your best ever NYE? All have been pretty much the same and all have been wonderful. Actually, the worst one was the one I spent in London, to be honest. I felt I had to be with my family. 

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Tags: Around The World, World News Wednesday, Christmas