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Celebrate New Year's Eve the Nordic Way


Written December 21, 2022

Across the Nordic nations and North America, as the clock ticks down to midnight, people celebrate.

Expect fireworks in the sky over Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo, and Stockholm. Reykjavik has become famous for its bonfires with tours offering to take visitors around to the very best party spots.

The Danes watching the show from home will also be jumping off their chairs. For the last 60 years, the jump from a table, chair, or couch marks a leap into the new year!

Staying up late in Finland is “kukkua aamyöhön” or “to cuckoo until the early hours.” New Year's Eve is a time for parties and gathering with friends...and nobody wants to go to bed early.

In Reykjavik and other Icelandic spots, look for bonfires to be lit between 8pm and 9pm on New Year's Eve. Folks start gathering early in the evening, shoot off personal fireworks, and then head out for more parties. 

Family and friends in Norway wish each other 'Godt nytt år, takk for det gamle" (Happy New Year, thank you for the past one).

In Sweden, almost every New Year’s Eve for more than a century, actors and singers have recited the poem ‘Ring out Wild Bells’ by Lord Alfred Tennyson (1850) in a public performance. Edvard Fredin translated Tennyson's poem into Swedish around 1890 as "Nyårsklockan."  Starting in 1897, Swedish actor Anders de Wahl began reciting the poem during the annual New Year's Eve festivities at Skansen in Stockholm. De Wahl performed the poem each year until his death in 1956. After which, a number of other actors and singers carried on the practice. Today you can watch this along with the Stockholm fireworks on television. 

Read the poem aloud in your preferred language at the stroke of midnight to copy this charming tradition!

Ring Out, Wild Bells

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.



Ring, klocka, ring i bistra nyårsnatten
mot rymdens norrskenssky och markens snö;
det gamla året lägger sig att dö...
Ring själaringning över land och vatten!

Ring in det nya och ring ut det gamla
i årets första, skälvande minut.
Ring lögnens makt från världens gränser ut,
och ring in sanningens till oss som famla.

For full text in English and Swedish, please see this website.