2 Places to Celebrate the New Year, All Over Again

Head to Belgrade or Hong Kong to find the New Year ... again.

If you had such a good time celebrating the New Year that you can’t wait to do it again, know this: You do not have to wait until the 2014 celebration. Serbia and China make it easy to relive the New Year revelry.

OK, so you probably already know about the Chinese New Year, which is celebrated roughly two months after we celebrate the New Year in Western culture. In 2013, we start the “Year of the Snake” on Feb. 10. Much like you’ll find in the Western world, fireworks and firecrackers (technologies original to China) are traditional "booms" and "bangs" to create a bit of revelry announcing a new year. Far and away, Hong Kong is the best place to be immersed in the experience.

But what you probably didn’t know is that the Western world also has an alternate New Year’s date. It goes back to the 16th century, when the Gregorian calendar (the one we all use) supplanted the Julian Calendar (named for Julius Caesar). According to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, some parts of the Orthodox Church decided to stick with the Julian calendar, one of them being the Serbian arm of the Orthodox Church.

That brings us to Belgrade, where Serbian New Year is celebrated on Jan. 14. That means this Sunday night, Jan. 13, is New Year’s Eve. Our Where Budapest editor, Nick Robertson, is going to chase down this experience, and tells us that “restaurants offer special dinner events; many kafanas (pubs) host parties, and fireworks are blasted above the Cathedral of Saint Sava at midnight.”

Getting three chances to celebrate the new year sounds like one perfect travel excuse to us.

Fireworks for the Serbian New Year over the Cathedral of Saint Sava (©Tourist Organization of Belgrade)