Travel Picks: Top 10 New Year favorites

New Year celebration

On the stroke of midnight, Buddhist Temples across the country ring their bells exactly 108 times. One of the most breathtaking celebrations takes place at the Zojoji Temple in Tokyo where thousands of people gather to release silver helium balloons carrying New Year's wishes into the midnight sky.

After the clocks strike 12, many families visit a shrine or temple for Hatsumode (first shrine visit of the year).

On New Year's Day, the Japanese give money to children in a tradition known as otoshidama. Money is handed in small decorated envelopes called pochibukuro. The amount of money given depends on the age of the child, but it is not uncommon for kids to get more than ¥10,000 (US$120).

5. Philippines

In the Philippines, New Year's Eve (Bisperas ng Bagong Taon) is a public holiday and people usually celebrate in the company of family and close friends. Traditionally, most households host or attend a Media Noche (dinner party).

Most Filipinos follow a set of traditions that includes wearing clothes with dots (in the belief that circles attract money and fortune) and bright colors to show enthusiasm for the coming year.

Throwing coins at the stroke of midnight is said to increase wealth as does serving circular shaped fruits and shaking of coins inside a metal can while walking around the house.

Things really get loud as people make noises by blowing on cardboard or plastic horns (torotot) banging pots and pans, playing music, or lighting fireworks to scare away bad spirits.

6. Scotland

Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and has become one of the world's most recognized New Year's celebrations.

The roots of Hogmanay date back to the celebration of the winter solstice, incorporating elements of the Gaelic celebration of Samhain.

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