by June Ong
 3…2…1… Happy New Year! With 12 chimes of the bell, we have officially ushered in the New Year. Leaving behind our dusty footprints on the pages of 31st of December and embracing the New Year with a great heap of enthusiasm and an equally great heap of New Year resolutions. We are used to witnessing New Year celebrations in Malaysia, but are you aware of New Year celebrations in other countries? Well what better way to start of the New Year with an extra bit of global knowledge? Popcorns ready, let’s go.
 Costa Rica, where all trails seem to lead to waterfalls, misty crater lakes or jungle-fringed, deserted beaches. What makes New Year Eve celebrations different in Costa Rica than any other countries is how the natives make the celebrations feel like a close intimate affair. Unlike their counterparts in North America where a new year eve celebrations equal to socializing on street parties or at bars, spending the last few moments of the old year with a room full of loud partying strangers, natives in Costa Rica spend the night with their family and close friends only. Most of the party places around the country, such as clubs, discotheques and pubs shut off an hour before the stroke of midnight. However, whatever amount they amount to celebrate is still intensely gala, with lots of drinking, eating, cheering and genuinely having a good time with their friends.
 If you decide to spend the New Year’s at Costa Rica, the Costa Ricans or the Ticos as they prefer to call themselves, have a few traditions they like to follow and you might want to take a note of that if your new year brings you to the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica. Firstly, wearing yellow confers one with good luck in the coming year while wearing red underwear confers one with a love partner in the coming year. Furthermore, if one wishes to travel in the coming year, then there is a tradition of walking two times around one’s house or walk down the neighborhood street with a luggage in hand. In addition, there is the widely observed tradition of eating twelve grapes on the midnight of New Year’s Eve as each grape is considered to represent each month of the coming year.
 Moving on to New York:  Every year as the clock nears midnight on December 31, the eyes of the world would turn once more to the dazzling lights and bustling energy of Times Square. Anticipation runs high. New Year’s Eve at the symbolic center of New York City has become more than just a celebration – it’s a global tradition. There is the famous Times Square Ball, watching the ball drop as the clock approaches midnight but what if you decide to do something more different? You can take part in the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run, a 4 miles Central Park Race held annually by the New York Road Runners, promising a fun and healthy way to get your New Year started.
 Either way you spend your New Year, be it in a room of partying and enthusiastic strangers or having a nice sit-down dinner with your family, do embrace the New Year with a warm heart and an open mind. Life is full of obstacles but remember that there is always the silver lining. Do not be afraid of change, of problems and generally, of life. The New Year breathes in life and we should not run away from it. Stick to your resolutions and do not give up on your dreams. Do not reject and throw away your New Year resolutions when time starts to toughen up and soon you’ll find your greatest reward. Happy New Year.

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