Five Alternative New Year’s Events

If you haven’t already achieved 89.5% of your 2011 New Year’s resolution, then today’s the day, because that’s exactly how far through the year we are. “Where’s the year gone?” I hear you say, for the tenth year in a row. “We haven’t even had summer!” You joke. We laugh. You cringe.

So, with little more than a month remaining until your big plans for celebrating New Year’s Eve fall apart at the mercy of a dozen text messages from unreliable friends*, it’s time to start making plans for the big night.

*Just me then?

In my completely unfounded opinion; in order to have an extraordinary year, you need to kick it off with an extraordinary New Year’s Eve party. So I’ve done the legwork for you, by taking some of the world’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations and flipped them on their champagne-laden heads to provide an offbeat alternative.

If you have some ideas for alternative ways to world’s biggest celebrations, then spark up the debate. Whether it’s a rural shindig, an unsung pilgrimage, or a fresh event, help us to discover new ideas via the comment thread below this post.

Here’s my alternative events for celebrating the New Year, from around the world:

London’s River Thames becomes…

London is a global gathering for all things New Years Eve, with the fireworks along on the banks of the Thames attracting over 250,000 people from around the world.

However, if you like the sound of gathering beside the water beside a large illuminated circle, then consider Thailand’s famous Full Moon Party.

Held on Koh Phangan, an island off Thailand’s south-east coast, the monthly Full Moon Party has earned itself a reputation as Asia’s biggest — and most unrelenting — party, with the New Year special remaining one of the island’s largest events of the year. Book ahead to avoid waking up on the beach with a Full Moon Hangover.

Spark of Inspiration...

Image by Ev0luti0nary

NYC’s Times Square becomes…

Times Square in New York City provides one of the world’s most iconic New Year’s celebrations; but if you still want to be surrounded on all four sides by patriotic party-goers, then gather around Cuzco’s Plaza de Armas.

A long night of drinking and dancing is fuelled by sporadic bursts of fireworks. Dress yourself from head to toe in yellow (yes, including your underwear), the Peruvian colour for good luck, and grab a handful of (yellow) confetti to bring in the new year Peru-style.

Sydney’s Harbour Bridge becomes…

Sydney’s extravagant fireworks display might lay claim to being the world’s biggest New Year’s event, but if it’s a bridge over coloured-water you’re aching for, then look no further than Prague.

The Czech Republic capital offers up excellent night-life throughout the year, but on New Years you should snag a spot along the city’s famous Charles Bridge that crosses the Vltava River, for a view of the main fireworks. Keep your eyes peeled and camera primed, for spontaneous displays throughout the streets, as Praguers quench their thirst for fireworks.

Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach becomes…

Rio’s most famous beach attracts no less than two million revellers to the hallowed sands, where people gather to honour the Goddess of the Sea, Lemanja. But if it’s a party atmosphere in the Southern Hemisphere you’re angling for, look no further than New Zealand’s Rhythm & Vines Music Festival.

Now in its 9th year, this award-winning music festival attracts 25,000 people to let loose to the sounds of some of the world’s best musicians. This year, expect to wind up the year with Pendulum, Calvin Harris, Example + DJ Wire and over fifty more acts. It’s a three day affair, held in Gisborne on New Zealand’s central east coast.

NZ's Rhythm & Vines Festival started out as a party for friends, and now welcomes over 25,000 people

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay becomes…

There’s no doubt that Edinburgh lays claim to hosting one of the world’s most traditional New Year celebrations, with its Hogmanay extravaganza. However, for an equally sentimental affair, look no further than Japan’s Oshogatsu.

A week long celebration, aimed at purifying your environment for the year ahead — this typically involves cleaning your house, but seen as you’ll be on holiday, a quick wash behind the ears should suffice. As the clock approaches midnight, find yourself a bowl of soba noodles or a stack of mochi (rice cakes), and a temple, and you’ll be deep within one of Japan’s most anticipated festivals.

There’s five exciting alternative New Year’s Eve celebrations to consider before the end of the year. A great blend of traditional, cultural and party atmospheres that should give you plenty of inspiration for the coming year.

If I’ve stirred the party-monster inside you, check out these related travel deals:

If you’re interested in visiting Japan or Thailand for NYE, consider building it into a bigger trip with these Asia tours. PLUS, I’ve found the perfect tour that visits Prague for New Year. And, as always, keep an eye out for our cheap flights deals around the world.

Where will you be heading this New Year’s Eve? Share your ideas with fellow readers, right here on the brand new STA Travel Blog.