For 100 years, TIMES SQUARE in NEW YORK has drawn huge crowds for their annual New Years Eve celebration! More than 1 million people crowded the streets last night.

Elsewhere around the world, JAPAN (top left) inundate their postal system with New Years Greeting cards to one another. The post office starts accpeting the greeting cards around mid-December, but do not deliver them until New Years Day. – an you imagine our post office delivering cards on Christmas day?!

In Mexico (top right), several superstitions are noted. Family and friends gather and each eat 12 grapes, one for each stroke of midnight, and make a wish for each grape consumed.  (Can’t you just drink some champagne and make wishes….)  Also it is believed that if you wear red underwear on December 31st, you will have good luck with love in the new year. If you wear yellow underwear, you will have good luck in financial matters in the new year. And if you take your luggage out and walk around the block, travel will come to you in the new year!

In Ecuador ( left), they celebrate New Years Eve with the “anos viejos”, or old years, which are stuffed dummies made with paper and sawdust and fireworks – which are then burned. The dummies represent various local and international personalities that represent the passing year.  Children and women – and even some men dressed as women –  wear black and play the role of the old years widow and ask for money and candy in the street for the dummies funeral!

And in Brazil (below ) the Saint Silvester Road Race is the oldest and most prestigious street race in Brazil. For 80 years now, on December 31st, this marathon runs about 9 miles, but with the harsh weather conditions frequently leave runners with heat stroke and dehydration! – Oh yeah, sign me up, that’s how I want to spend my New Years Eve!

New Year’s Eve is marked by festive Fiesta de Iemanjá held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Crowds head to the beaches to offer flowers and gifts to Iemanjá, the Goddess of the Water in the Brazilian Umbanda religion. The Copacabana beach is flocked with millions of people who come to visualize the colorful candles floating on sea. 


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