New Year’s Day is a holiday in São Tomé and Príncipe as part of celebrations that start 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.
Lying just off the Atlantic coast of Central Africa, São Tomé and Príncipe is fast becoming a centre of trade, business, and culture. It is rising a tourist destination too, including for New Year’s season.
Being a former Portuguese colony, the twin islands partake of some of the Carnival spirit of Brazil and Cape Verde. And islanders are not shy about bringing that spirit to bear in electrifying New Year’s Eve celebrations.
You will find traditions similar to those in other countries, such as watching the clock till midnight, dancing, singing, feasting, and partying till the next morning, and making “resolutions” for the coming year that often are not kept.
But additionally, you may run into some “tchiloli” around this time of year, which are traditional, costumed plays put on for up to six hours straight by locals. These plays are about the days of Charlemagne and were imported from France during the colonial era.