Whether it’s singing Auld Lang Syne, watching the ball drop in New York City or witnessing a dazzling fireworks display, there are many ways you can celebrate New Year. At home you’ll no doubt have your own traditions, perhaps coming together with family and friends to reflect on the past year and toast to the new one. However, not everyone rings in the new year the same way, which is why we thought we’d take the chance to widen our perspective and see how people around the world celebrate New Year’s Eve.


One of the most truly magical places to see in the new year is certainly Antarctica. Even at the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica research station, the researchers and scientists take a moment to celebrate. In spite of the weather, last year the station gathered for a summer BBQ outdoors, and when midnight came during the broad daylight, everybody wished each other a happy 2015. If you’re embarking on the New Year in Antarctica expedition with Aurora, you’ll spend December 31 on board the Polar Pioneer, with a party under the midnight sun.


As part of our Arctic voyages, the AE Expeditions crew spends a fair amount time navigating the seas around Scotland, making it a place close to our heart. As many will perhaps know, the Scots have their own unique way of celebrating New Year’s Eve called Hogmanay. The festival had its origins as a pagan celebration centred around the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year). Great fires were lit to represent the impending return of the sun and to chase away evil spirits – a tradition still going strong today with a magnificent fireworks display taking place in Edinburgh, the heart of Hogmanay festivities. Other traditions involve a clean out of the house and a settling of old debts and bills for the best fresh start to the year. The streets of Edinburgh play host to a truly magical torchlight procession, where thousands carry candles through the city. There is also the high-stakes swim of ‘Loony Dook’ where participants brave South Queensferry’s glacial water. Fortunately, there are bonfires nearby to warm up in time for a New Year’s toast!


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