New Year’s Eve in Africa
How Africans Celebrate New Year’s Eve
By Anouk Zijlma, About.com Africa Travel
New Year’s Eve is celebrated in many communities across Africa. In most African cities, hotels and bars will be full of party goers celebrating the New Year. Every country in Africa enjoys a public holiday on January 1st, regardless if they celebrate their traditional New Year on that day. Ethiopia for example enjoyed a huge New Year’s celebration in September 2007, to welcome the year 2000 – but the Addis Ababa nightlife will still be rocking on the eve of December 31st.
New Year’s in South Africa
South Africa is one of the best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve if you like big parties. The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town hosts one of the country’s biggest bashes with fireworks, music, dancing and more. Other Cape Town venues that are hosting big parties can be found here. Once you’ve finished parting, don’t forget to check out the big Minstrel Carnival on New Year’s Day.
Durban’s beaches are full at this time of year and the waterfront with its many clubs and hopping nightlife are perfect for celebrating the New Year in style. The beaches along the Garden Route are also famous for all night parties with drumming, singing and dancing.
Johannesburg used to celebrate the New Year by firing gunshots and throwing fridges off balconies, but that appears to be under control now. Instead you can usually head downtown to the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown and party the night away with 50,000 of your friends and carnival troupes. You can also head to any of Johannesburg’s numerous nightclubs and bars that all have big nights planned.
New Year’s in North Africa
African Muslims enjoy several celebrations around this time of year. There’s Eid ul-Adha which is an important festival, happens on (very early) October 26 (2012). Tunisians, Algerians, and Moroccans will enjoy a traditional slaughtering of a sheep or goat, and celebrate with large family gatherings.
In North Africa’s Maghreb region New Year’s Eve is actually celebrated around 12 – 15 January. The Amazigh (Berber) people of North Africa will celebrate their own New Year, Yennayer, for the 2,963 rd time (in 2012/13) in accordance with the Julian calendar. If you’re in Algeria or Morocco you’ll get to enjoy steaming plates of chicken and couscous as a New Year is welcomed.
If you’re visiting Morocco, Tunisia or Egypt over New Year’s Eve (on the 31st of December) there will be no problems finding a spot to welcome in the New Year with a toast and a handful of resolutions. Tour operators and hotels will all make sure you don’t miss out. Saying hello to 2013 is especially fun in the desert.
New Year’s in Ethiopia and Egypt
Of course, in Ethiopia or Egypt, the Coptic Christians celebrate the New Year in September and Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January. Ethiopia celebrated their millennium with huge festivities in September 2007. Egyptians and Ethiopians still get the 1st of January off though, so there will be parties at the big hotels and resorts.
Personally, I’ll be celebrating at home with my family and I’ll use this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year, or as they say in KiSwahili, Heri ya mwaka mpya.
About.com Africa Travel. New Years Eve in Africa. 31 December 2013. Retrieved from: http://goafrica.about.com/od/africafestivalsandevents/a/newyears.htm