The United Kingdom is known for its spectacular celebrations of New Year's Eve and Day. The country celebrates New Year on January 1 as it fallows the Gregorian calendar. The official decree to establish this was made in 1752, which was binding for three major countries that form the large chunk of UK's territory, namely, England, Scotland and Wales, along with Northern Ireland, plus the colonies that were part of its territory during that time. However, before this declaration, British celebrated New Year on Christmas Day, i.e. 25th December. Today, New Year has become a festive extension of the festive season that extends right from Christmas and keeps people in a jubilant festive mood. Cities across UK are decked with bedazzling multicolor lighting on this occasion and the country glitters like numerous diamonds, when seen from a bird's eye view. Extravagant New Year bashes, elaborate meals, foot tapping music, and vivacious people, all mark the celebrations of New Year in United Kingdom a lovely affair. This article further elucidates these aspects of New Year celebrations in Great Britain.
New Year Traditions and Celebrations
New Year is celebrated in all the regions of UK with great fervor and revelry. However, one can see certain distinctions in the customs and methods of celebrations related to this day in every region, which makes it necessary to give them a separate mention.
The English believe that clocks represent transition in time. One of the most vivacious celebrations of New Year takes place in London at midnight on New Year's Eve around the famous Big Ben, which is a huge clock placed in the Palace of Westminster's clock tower. The live broadcast of these colorful proceedings is telecasted across the country by BBC that can also be seen in other English regions, such as Wales, and Northern Ireland. Other than this, the country is dotted with numerous hotspots that host vivacious New Year parties, which include pubs, clubs, and private houses. A unique popular tradition followed by most Britons is the joining of hands at the stroke of midnight, while forming a circle and then singing the famous New Year song 'Auld Lang Syne'.
London, being the capital of the nation, is definitely the hub of various intriguing New Year celebrations, which includes the annual grand New Year parade that has been a part of the celebratory tradition of this day ever since 1987. The spectacular parade organized to welcome 2012 was participated by over 10,000 mesmerizing musicians, cheerleaders and performers that charmed the audiences. Besides this, at the stroke of midnight, stunning musical fireworks show was set off from the top of the London Eye and Big Ben with the ringing of each gong to welcome the New Year. Some other major cities of England that hold awe-inspiring celebratory events on this occasion are Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Newcastle. Many of them hold New Year carnivals and fancy dress competitions along with fireworks. In Bideford town of Devon, the New Year is ushered in with ethereal notes of Auld Lang Syne played by the lone piper at midnight.
Welsh people have their own set of fascinating traditions, which add interesting regional flavor to New Year celebrations held here. They include exchange of gifts and money among near and dear ones. As per this ancient custom, people still gift each other cheese and bread. The capital of Wales, Cardiff sees thousands of revelers descend upon it on this occasion to enjoy various live events held here, which include music, catering, ice-skating, funfairs and fireworks, the venue for many of these being Cardiff Castle and Cardiff City Hall.
The 5 km long Nos Galan road race, held every New Year's Eve, is a significant New Year tradition of this region and has been so since a local runner Bernard Baldwin started it in 1958 to honor the world-renowned Welsh athlete, Guto Nyth Brān. It is held at the town of Mountain Ash. Today, this race has become quite an elaborate entertainment event, which includes various exhilarating street performances, fun congenial races organized for the children, and the main racing event, participated by elite runners from various parts of the world.
Hogmanay is what New Year is known as in Scotland and the Scottish have various charming customs related to this occasion, which makes its celebration even more enchanting. One such tradition is known as First-Footing, according to which people visit homes of their near and dear ones on New Year and gift them a bottle of whisky and a lump of coal. One of the world's best and most famed New Year celebrations are organized at Edinburgh, the Scottish capital. The tremendous street celebration takes place on the Princes Street. Here, the New Year is welcomed with the resonating sounds of the cannon fire at the stroke of midnight from the historic Edinburgh Castle. The New Year revelry continues for around four to five days in Edinburgh, commencing on 28 December and culminating on January 2. New Year is a public holiday in Scotland. Other Scottish cities known for splendid New Year festivities are Aberdeen, Glasgow and Stirling. One can see incredible events and fireworks hosted by them as well on New Year's Eve.
All of UK is decked up like a huge carnival on New Year's Eve, where one can enjoy various extravagant celebrations.