In Wales, the back door releases the Old Year at the first stroke of midnight: it is then locked «to keep the luck in», and at the last stroke the New-Year is let in at the front.
It is commonly believed that New Year’s Day is less important in England than Christmas. It is true in the southern and eastern parts of the country. However, even there, the welcoming of the New Year is growing in popularity, particularly among younger people who prefer to spend Christmas with kin, but New Year with friends. New Year’s parties go all night through.
The most famous places of festivities are Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square in London where crowds of people greet the New Year with the linked-arm singing of «Old Lang Syne», kissing total strangers, blowing whistles and automobile horns and shooting firecrackers. Someone usually falls into the fountain in Trafalgar Square. Unfortunately for all these midnight celebrators, January 1st is not a public holiday in England.
In Scotland, New Years celebration is the greatest festival of the year, where it even has a special name, Hogmanay. Nobody, however, can successfully explain where this word comes from. After midnight people visit their friends. They carry cakes and spiced ale to wish their hosts a good year.
The first visitor, must bring a special present — a piece of coal — to wish good luck and warmth to the house. This is an old Scottish custom. The first footer may also bring a loaf of white bread and a bottle of whisky, On entering he must place the coal on the fire, put the loaf on the table, and pour a glass for the head of the house, all normally without speaking or being spoken to until he wishes everyone «A Happy New Year». He may also carry a silver coin to wish wealth.
New Year is considered the most popular holiday in every Russian family. At the beginning of December everybody has a festive mood. In the city the streets and shop windows are decorated with bright and motley garlands. A huge Christmas tree is put at the main square. We begin to prepare for the holiday. We buy Christmas-tree decorations, tinsel and gifts for each other at New Year’s fairs. At the end of December we put artificial Christmas tree and decorate it for the holiday. I help my mother to prepare a festive table on December 31. New Year’s Eve always seems to me magical and unforgettable. At midnight after president’s appearance on television chiming clock begins to strike. We wish each other a happy New Year and make a wish and then exchange gifts. When I was a child I found the gifts under the Christmas tree and I thought that Santa Claus had brought them. Although I’m already adult and I don’t believe that Santa Claus exists, on New Year’s Eve I want to find myself in the dream and to believe in a miracle.
New Year is a public holiday but it is not marked with any particular custom in Britain and America, yet it has a joyful celebration in Russia. People stay awake until after midnight on December 31st to watch the Old Year out and the New Year in. Many parties are given on this night. Theatres, night clubs and streets are crowded.