Sint Maarten 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.
In Sint Maarten, the holiday season starts at the end of the year on Christmas Day. It continues on Boxing Day, which is a public holiday observed on the day after Christmas. The next week culminates in the festivities held on New Year’s Eve on 31 December and New Year’s Day on 1 January.
The main centre of fireworks and other events is Philipsburg, the largest city. But there are fireworks displays and bonfires in other parts of Sint Maarten too. Many visit Maho Beach, Great Bay Beach, the Sint Maarten Zoological Park, and other sites during the holidays.
As to New Year’s pastries, the Dutch heritage comes through strong. Traditional sweets include oliebollen, a kind of raisin donut topped with sugary icing, appelflappen, which are fried apple pies, butter-and-lemon flavoured breads, waffles, and bacon-infused pancakes.
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