Svalbard celebrates New Year’s Day with a public holiday every 1 January, as does most of the rest of the world. However, the celebrations really begin on New Year’s Eve and reach a high point with the turning of the clock from 11:59pm on 31 December to midnight on 1 January.
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New Year’s Day is a time of resolutions and starting fresh for some, while for others it is spent recovering from a big, late night spent with friends and family.
Every New Year’s Eve, Svalbard’s “snowy desert” glitters and reflects the lights of fireworks in the sky and of whole little towns decked out with lights.
You can get New Year’s Eve feasts at local restaurants, where traditional Norwegian dishes like rakfisk and lutefisk are served. The former is a fermented form of fish, while the latter is fish pickled and dried. There will also be many other delicious dishes and champagne to wash it all down with, preferably at the stroke of midnight!
Many in Svalbard go on snowmobiling or dogsledding tours. This is a great way to view polar bears and other wildlife, the majestic surrounding mountain heights, and the ever-glowing Northern Lights. You can also head out to a special camp just outside of Longyearbyen, the main town, to “Camp Barentz” to get the fullest possible view of the Northern Lights at night.
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