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The coming of a new year is celebrated all over the world. Yet each culture and country has its own peculiar way of celebrating it. Lets have a look at how the New Year is welcomed in some cultures.

The Portuguese people eat twelve raisins as the clock strikes the last twelve seconds on New Year's Eve. This is done to ensure twelve happy months in the coming year. In Northern Portugal children go singing carols from home to home and receive candies and coins.

Most Americans celebrate the new year with dance parties. Times Square, in New York City, drops a ball each year to welcome in the new year. This is broadcast all over the United States and the program is hosted by the television celebrity Dick Clark.  At the stroke of midnight people kiss or blow their car horns. Plastic horns and whistles are also blown. Champagne is the customary drink.  

In Great Britain the custom of first footing is practised. The first male visitor entering the house after midnight is thought to bring good luck. He usually brings a gift such as money, bread, or coal to ensure that the family will have plenty of these things all year round.

In Australia January 1 is a public holiday and many people have picnics or go to the beach. The celebration starts on December  31 and at midnight people whistle, blow car horns and ring church bells to welcome in the New Year. The first day of the year is a day for outdoor activities such as rodeos, picnics, races and surfing.


The song, "Auld Lang Syne" is sung at the clock strikes midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year. It was partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700's, and was first published in 1796 after Burns' death. Early variations of the song were sung prior to 1700 and inspired Burns to produce the modern rendition. An old Scotch tune, "Auld Lang Syne" literally means "old long ago," or simply, "the good old days." For the lyrics click here.