Love it or hate it, New Years Eve is a special day. It’s a time to reflect on what changes we want to make in our lives, just as much as it’s a time to celebrate and let loose with our friends and families. And for some lucky people, it’s a chance to steal a New Year’s kiss!
But beware, depending on where you’re ringing in the new year, locking lips in public could get you into some serious trouble, and not the good kind ;) Proceed with caution!
1. Dubai, UAE
You definitely don’t want to mess around in Dubai, where kissing in public is illegal. Same goes for “petting,” so keep those paws in your pockets.
According to Chinese custom, public displays of affection (PDA) are not the norm and are generally considered taboo.
3. University of Zimbabwe
At the University of Zimbabwe, students can be expelled for public displays of affection. Specifically, the rules forbid students to be “caught in an intimate position, kissing or having sex in public places”. Sorry guys, back to studying for you!
In spite of recent changes in Vietnamese culture, the society is still on the reserved side when it comes to PDA. Outside of the main cities of Hanoi and Saigon, “amorous liaisons” are considered taboo, so behave yourself, please.
5. Catholic Mass around the world
During each Catholic mass, church goers are asked to offer a sign of peace. Traditionally, this has included a handshake or a kiss between couples and family members, but the Vatican is now urging Catholics to keep their lips to themselves.
If you were hoping to do a little hand holding when the clock strikes 12 then you’re in luck. This practice became acceptable a few years ago. Kissing, on the other hand, is out of the question- unless it’s between friends and family members of the same gender. But don't get too excited- that's not to say they're particularly tolerant towards homosexuality.
For now, best to keep the PDA on the low. According to Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), “whoever, to the annoyance of others, a) does any obscene act in any public place, or b) sings, recites or utters any obscene songs, ballad or word, in or near any public place, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with a fine, or with both.” Because obscenity is not strictly defined, it’s left for interpretation. And if you think that leaves you in the clear, think again- Richard Gere got himself into a pretty sticky situation when he publically smooched Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty.
Long walks on the beach at sunset are sure to set the mood, but watch yourself- handholding and kissing between people of opposite genders is considered unacceptable in Indonesia.
Thailand is known for its gorgeous beaches, beautiful temples, delicious food, and its sex tourism. But don’t be fooled- the country as a whole has conservative beliefs when it comes to PDA. Kissing in public is a major no-no, while handholding is becoming more acceptable in cosmopolitan areas such as Bangkok.
I should note, this list is far from complete. So, if you’ll be traveling over New Years, do a little research. It’s always fascinating to discover how different cultures approach subjects like PDA or dining etiquette. Showing a little respect can take you far, and who ever said privacy was a bad thing?