New Year’s Eve is celebrated in unusual ways in different regions of Britain

New Year’s Eve is celebrated differently- and at different times – around the world.

Many of these traditions originated hundreds of years ago. But, even within the UK, traditions can vary from region to region according to personal folklore, or history, which dictates the different rituals.

Here are the most popular traditions in different cities…


London’s New Year celebrations are probably the most widely broadcast, appearing on the BBC every year.

It includes a huge fireworks display, with some pyrotechnics even being set off from theLondon Eye Ferris wheel.


While Newcastle celebrates the new year in a traditional, booze-soaked manner, smaller villages in Northumberland have their own traditions.

The village of Allendale, known for its brewery, has an annual New Year tradition which dates back to 1858.

The Tar Bar’l parade takes place every year on New Year’s Eve and involves local men in traditional costume carrying barrels filled with burning tar through the streets.

The flames create a colourful display and the fire symbolise Pagan new year rituals meant to cleanse and purify.


Welsh people call New Year ‘calennig’ and they spend the festival exchanging gifts and money.

Traditionally, children make sweet treats consisting of an apple on a stick with raisins and fruit stuck in – also known as a Calennig.

Modern celebrations also take place, the biggest being in Cardiff.

People in Cardiff celebrate with live music, fairground rides and a Winter Wonderland.


The New Year celebration grew in popularity in Scotland after the invasion of the Vikings, who used to light large fires to ward off evil spirits and to celebrate the winter solstice.

After the Church of Scotland discouraged the celebration of Christmas in 1583, the Scottish people put a bigger emphasis on their New Year celebrations.

The Scottish celebration of Hogmanay (New Year) has the biggest festivities in Edinburgh.

A huge street party takes over Prince’s Street, with live music, fireworks and a cannon is fired at Edinburgh castle to mark midnight.

The festivities last over four days, including a ceilidh and the Stoats Loony Dook parade on New Year’s Day – a fancy dress dip into the waters of the Firth of Forth.


Yorkshire has its own fiery traditions, with the Fire Festival in Flamborough.

It’s a Viking themed parade which starts with the burning of a longship – the only one in England.

This burns away the old spirits and welcomes in new ones for the new year.

Another interesting Yorkshire tradition is the incantation they say during the New Year countdown.

In the lead up to the clock striking midnight, chant “black rabbits, black rabbits, black rabbits” and when it turns 12 o clock, they say “white rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits”.

This brings them good luck in the coming year!

Lake District

The Lake District has a more serene way of celebrating New Year.

A few of the villages have their own traditions and events every year, like Keswick, where locals gather in front of the clock tower in town to count down to midnight.

Many hotels in the Lake District have New Year events, especially in Bowness on Windermere, where locals and visitors gather on the jetty to watch fireworks set off by hotels on the shore.

Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa in the Lake District provide a New Year’s celebration including a six course dinner, casino night and fell walks. Contact them on 017687 76551 to find out more and book your stay.

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