Accessibility links

Cultures Welcome The New Year in Unique Ways

An Andean priest in Lima, Peru

An Andean priest in Lima, Peru

The media often portray fireworks as how much of the world marks the start of a new year but many cultures also turn to their religious and cultural roots.

Shinto shrines in Japan become the center of a ritual to leave the bad behind and start the New Year purified.

"I heard the brushing-off ritual gets rid of all the harmful energy from my body," says Japanese skateboard designer Yasuhito Ono.

Evil is banished through music and dancing on the streets of this central Romanian town. This is a part of an old tradition where dancers wearing costumes or animal furs dance from house to house to bring good luck.

In Brazil, many people flock to Copacabana beach to ask the Afro-Brazilian goddess of the sea, Iemanja, a wish in exchange for a gift.

Those who want a glimpse of 2010 can have their fortunes read by an Andean priest in Lima, Peru. Indigenous Peruvians brought their New Year rituals to the nation's capital, in the Fair of the Wishes. Fair-goers can take part in ritual cleanings and make a wish for the New Year.

"The fair of the wishes is a festival of faith and hope. All of us have a goal for next year - to have a house, a car, finish a job, get into university, open a business, have a company, we always have a goal, and in this fair of the wishes, they can get a little piece of that dream," Shaman Lidia Cortez explains.

Through rituals, and prayers, almost everyone dreams of a better New Year, as people around the world say goodbye to 2009.