Music is a part of every society, past and present and is common to all human cultures across the globe. The emotions caused by music, the attitudes of the composers and players, and the venues it is played in can also vary from time to time and place to place. The music one person loves might be painful to another person to listen to and vice versa. 

Whether you love classical, jazz, country, rock or pop this article serves as a gateway to the different music genres from different parts of the world that people from various cultures listen to on New Year’s. Hopefully, you can find a few classics to update your playlist along with some of my favourite music-related quotes from legendary characters.


Happy New Year by ABBA 

In Vietnam, Happy New Year by ABBA is very famous around this time of the year. The Swedish band recorded this song back in 1980. The reason that it is liked so much in Vietnam is because of its melody that brings the spirit of new year, without adding too many difficult words and keeping it simple.


Nanakusa Nazuna or Seven Herbs, Shepherd’s Purse

It is a song in Japanese language and is sung in Japanese households around the time of New Year. Japanese people have a long thought that a variety of epidemics will be spread by birds. In order to avoid infections like avian influenza, they needed to maintain their health and follow a  well-balanced diet during the winter months. So, on the 7th of New Year, rice porridge with seven herbs was eaten as part of a festival, and this is essentially what this song means. It was supposed to keep one well and fight off evil spirits.

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

/Bob Marley/


The Kalenta of the New Year

Kalenta means carol. It’s chanted to herald the arrival of St. Basil. St. Basil is comparable to Santa Claus or St. Nick, but on New Year’s Eve, he distributes gifts to youngsters. He is from the Turkish city of Caesarea. On New Year’s Eve, carolers sing this in his honor.

United States of America

St. Basil

This is an English translation of the Greek New Year’s song The Kalenta of the New Year. On New Year’s Eve, Saint Basil acts as a Greek Santa Claus, bringing gifts to the youngsters.


Auld Lang Syne

It was a 16th century or earlier Scottish folk song. It was initially performed to a different tune from the one used now. Robert Burns, a Scottish poet, penned the version we know today around 1788. It’s mostly based on and set to the same tune as the earlier song.

“Music is good to the melancholy, bad to those who mourn, and neither good nor bad to the deaf.”

/Baruch Spinoza/



Mykola Leontovych (1877-1921) wrote and composed Shchedryk as a New Year Carol in 1916. The melody is based on a traditional Ukrainian folk song. This carol celebrates a prosperous New Year. It is a Christmas Carol as well as a New Year’s Song.


I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing By

The popularity of this song is because of the history behind it. I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing By was first printed in the 17th century, presumably in Derbyshire, and was also reprinted by William Sandys in 1833. As I Sat on a Sunny Bank was possibly the song’s original title.


It is a Happy New Year’s Morning

On New Year’s Day in Morriston, children used to sing this song. They would go door to door in the area, while singing this song and asking for money or sweets.

“Without music, life would be a blank to me.”

/Jane Austen/


Mi Gente and Mayores

People in Spain tend to resort to these recent hits to dance and vibe on. These can bring anyone on the dance floor by just the tune of these.


In Da Getto

The track, produced by Skrillex and Tainy, is built around an interpolation of the Nineties dance hit In De Ghetto by David Morales and the Bad Yard Club featuring Crystal Waters and Delta Bennett.


Zitti E Buoni

Zitti E Buoni (Translation: Shut Up and Behave) was the Italian entry at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in Rotterdam performed by Måneskin. Although the band is Scandinavian, the people in Italy have been taken by storm as the language is Italian. 

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

/Berthold Auerbach/



Désolé, which means sorry in French, boasts a simmering groove that takes a delightfully dramatic turn toward the end with a steady swell of strings and horns and is loved by French people.


With the release of their wacky music video for the song Skibidi, which has approximately 445 million views on YouTube at the time of writing, Little Big really hit the big time. In Belgium, the music won the Ketnet award for Hype of the Year, and the dance culture journal Mixmag commended it. The song was also included in the video game Just Dance 2020.

Written by Faiq Saeed