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Top 10 places to ring in the New Year

3, 2, 1 . . . Happy New Year! Whether counting down to 2006 at tried-and-true celebrations like New York’s annual Times Square extravaganza, or by eating a grape for every stroke of midnight in Barcelona, your adrenaline is sure to be racing as 2005 winds down in our .
/ Source: Sherman's Travel

3, 2, 1 . . . Happy New Year! Whether counting down to 2006 at tried-and-true celebrations like New York’s annual Times Square extravaganza, or by eating a grape for every stroke of midnight in Barcelona, your adrenaline is sure to be racing as 2005 winds down in our . We love the ultimate party city, Vegas, for its most over-the-top show of the year; schussing the slopes of the majestic Rockies; and even standing under the breathtaking fireworks cascade over Sydney’s harbor. Should you agree that one day of feting simply won't suffice, experience the celebration Scot-style, with merrymaking in Edinburgh that lasts four long days or, head to the bustling Thailand capital of Bangkok, where you can ring in the new year no fewer than three times – Western, Chinese, and Thai style – between December and April. Beach-lovers can also experience sandy revelry with a twist on December 31 in Rio, Miami, and Goa.

Snow bunnies will use any excuse to hit the slopes, and a New Year’s celebration is better than most. This fabled, fabulous resort has long played host to the free-spirited and the Forbes/Fortune crowd who can’t get enough of the sophisticated action on and off the slopes. Whether schussing down the ski trails of Snowmass or Aspen Highlands, dining on gourmet cuisine, or savoring martinis with the well-heeled, Aspen makes for a glittering Alpine getaway and a stylish end-of-year send off.

New Year’s Eve is thrice as nice in Thailand, where you’ll have three annual chances to rid yourself of the old and ring in the new. First off, there’s the New Year’s celebration with the Western world on December 31; between mid-January and February, Thailand then tips its hat to its Chinese neighbor, with massive celebrations in Bangkok’s Chinatown. Finally, the centuries-old tradition of Songkran kicks off on April 13, a joyous occasion that celebrates the first day of the traditional Thai calendar with three days of parades, feasting, costumes, and, most outrageously, a water-throwing festival in which passersby are drenched.

Don’t miss your siesta – Barcelona’s all-night New Year’s fiesta requires some stamina! The Spanish version of año nuevo kicks off with family and friends sharing a sumptuous meal and mucho vino at a private home or restaurant. The onset of 12 a.m. means a frantic race to stuff your face with 12 good-luck grapes – one for each stroke of midnight. You’d be wise to concentrate on the task at hand – if you succeed at this long-standing Spanish tradition, you’re ensured a year of prosperity and good luck! Once the last one is downed, crowds spill out into the Gothic Quarter and Las Ramblas, drawn by the pulsating music and chatter emanating from numerous bars and nightclubs.

The Scottish capital boasts one of the world’s biggest New Year bashes: Hogmanay. At the close of each year, a four-day fête counts down to the big kahuna on December 31, complete with parades, concerts, carnivals, dog races, firework shows, and a slew of hedonistic events and parties. Major international artists perform along Princes Street during the Royal Bank Street Party on New Year’s Eve, while age-old national customs, like “first-footing”, are practiced all over town.

Located on the western coast of the Indian Peninsula, Goa’s lush green vegetation and breathtaking beaches not only offer some of India’s most beautiful natural scenery, but also serves as the backdrop for some of the globe’s hottest New Year’s celebrations, complete with all-night seaside bashes packed with partygoers entranced by techno music. If you’re looking for a place to kick back, party and relax, just follow the local Goan motto of sossegarde – take it easy – and enjoy the fun!

Viva Las Vegas is never more vivacious than when the no-holds-barred party capital of the world hosts the biggest party of the year. Throwing down in Sin City has become a consistently bigger and better New Year’s phenomenon in recent years, as partiers are lured by dazzling pyrotechnics, wild street parties, super-chic nightclubs, gourmet restaurants, big-name performers – and hundreds of thousands of fellow revelers with whom to enjoy it.

While the winter chill keeps many of us bundled up and indoors on the big eve, South Beach is as hot as ever and we’re not just talking about the weather. Miami’s trendy Art Deco neighborhood buzzes with a sexy scene that’s even more energized than usual when the year comes to a close. Cool and well-dressed hipsters bounce from bar to club, not to mention scads of Hollywood A-listers who flock south for some of the year’s most exclusive fiestas.

For the ultimate New Year’s experience, there’s no better place to be than in the center of the City that Never Sleeps. Times Square has been home to the renowned ball drop countdown for almost 100 years (it dates back to 1906); today, millions of visitors flood New York City’s confetti-covered streets to partake in an all-night, over-sized street party filled with live music, celebrity visits, and tons of Happy New Year paraphernalia.

Sure, Carnival might get all the glory, but New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro is memorable in its own right. An extravagant beachfront spectacle, known as Reveillon, sees an eclectic blend of traditions unfold along Copacabana, attracting some 2 million faithful practitioners of the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé – and a lot of curious tourists.

Sure, you’ll get your no-less-than-spectacular fireworks, delectable Brazilian food, and pulsating samba music to enjoy during the warm summer day’s festivities, but you’ll also see ritualistic offerings to the sea-goddess Yemanjá, made by white-clad revelers who rush to the surf to release small wooden boats.

Sydney is renowned across the globe for hosting one of the ultimate New Year’s Eve bashes. Indeed, this Aussie capital pulls out all the stops, with an array of glamorous citywide celebrations and a stellar pyrotechnic presentation over the harbor. Bursts of dazzling colors explode over the Sydney Harbor Bridge, reflecting in the water and dancing over the Opera House’s scalloped roof. And as it’s summertime down under, you can delight in sun-drenched spoils the next day.

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