New Year Celebrations Takes Centre Stage Globally
An estimated 1.6million people turned up to watch more than 10,000 aerial fireworks, 25,000 shooting comets and 100,000 pyrotechnic effects on show during this year’s New Year’s Eve display over Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
Hundreds of umbrellas and tents began popping up on Sydney’s Blues Point early Wednesday morning as people settled in to wait for the symphonic light display, with huge queues forming overnight to secure a prominent view.
While much of the evening was dedicated to celebrating, floral tributes to Martin Place siege victims Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson were on display amid the evening’s fireworks.
‘It is in memory of the two young and talented people that we lost because of that siege,’ said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
‘We remember the trauma the hostages experienced, the bravery of the police and we remember the way Sydney responded as we expected – an inclusive, welcoming, multicultural community,’ he said.
Sydney Harbour will be a beacon of celebration as Australia farewells another year, sending 2014 off with an extra round of fireworks.
In the Chinese capital Beijing, eight hours ahead of London, an event will be held in the Olympic Park designed to highlight the capital’s bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Skaters will perform and Olympic medalist figure skater Zhao Hongbo, Paralympics gold medalist swimmer Yang Yang and pianist Lang Lang will appear.
Japan prepared for ‘osechi ryori’, the country’s biggest traditional holiday on New Year’s Day. At midnight, temple bells will strike 108 times, the number of evils, or temptations, as defined by Buddhism.
There will be fireworks and bonfires around the nation as millions of people flock to neighborhood temples and shrines to pray for health and happiness.
In Rio De Janeiro, two hours behind London and Greenwich Mean Time, more than 1million people are expected to flock on Copacabana beach, where two dozen artists and DJs will perform on three stages. Tourists and locals routinely party until dawn on the beach, staying awake to watch the tropical sun rise for the first time in 2015.
A massive fireworks display blasted from boats in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean will light the sky over the crowd, which traditionally dresses in all white, a Brazilian New Year tradition to bring purification and a peaceful year.
Another tradition calls for partygoers to enter the sea up to their knees and jump over seven waves shortly after the New Year begins, for luck.
New Year’s Eve celebrations have already started across North America with New York’s traditional crystal ball already in place in Times Square.
The Waterford crystal ball will drop at midnight, in a tradition being increasingly copied across the United States with twists celebrating local icons. Las Cruces, New Mexico, is spicing up New Year’s Eve with its first chili drop. In Miami, a 10-meter (35-foot) neon orange will light up, while Atlanta and Nashville, Tennessee, will drop a peach and a musical note, respectively.
Flagstaff, Arizona, celebrates with a 2-meter (6-foot) pine cone that drops from a downtown hotel. Nearby Prescott drops a 2-meter (6-foot) spurred cowboy boot in a nod to its western culture.
On Lake Erie in Port Clinton, Ohio, the community will carry on its tradition of dropping a 270 kilogram (600 pound) walleye made of wood and fiberglass.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will ring in 2015 with a nod to its mining history, with a replica of a pasty – a baked pastry filled with meat and potatoes traditionally associated with Cornwall in the UK – to drop in Escanaba, one of the remote region’s largest cities. The meal was popular by miners who immigrated to Michigan decades ago.
In Scotland celebrations have been underway since Tuesday night when Edinburgh kicked off the Hogmanay festival, which is the UK’s biggest outdoor winter music festival.
Large crowds are expected at the world-famous street party which will see performances from Twin Atlantic, Twilight Sad, Eddi Reader and this year’s Mercury Prize-winners, the Edinburgh-based act Young Fathers.
The concert in the gardens is being headlined by Lily Allen, who will be joined by special guests Bjorn Again and Soul II Soul. A midnight fireworks display will welcome in 2015, followed by the traditional mass rendition of Auld Lang Syne.
In London fireworks will light up the sky above the South Bank at midnight and celebrations will carry on until 12:45am with a live DJ set.