New Year’s Eve is a spectacular global celebration to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new year. The new year is celebrated on December 31, the last day of the Gregorian calendar, at midnight, when we transition from the old year to the new, and is marked by gatherings among friends and families and, in some of the world’s largest cities, a mesmerizing citywide parties, often featuring fireworks and music. Noisemaking is a typical part of most cultural celebrations for the new year, as is often said, “Let’s ring in the new year!”
Who Celebrates the New Year First and Last?
If you want to be among the first to welcome the new year, then you had better head to Kiritimati, or Christmas Island. Located in the Indian Ocean, Kiritimati is the world’s largest coral atoll and is the first inhabited landmass west of the International Date Line. However, the first major city to celebrate the new year is Auckland, New Zealand. Because New Zealand is in the Southern Hemisphere, it is summertime and their celebrations include outdoor concerts and, as with most other major cities, a stunning fireworks display. And, if you are curious about who is the last to ring in the new year worldwide, those who live in Honolulu, Hawaii; Adak, Alaska; Papetee, Tahiti; and Pago Pago, Samoa are the last.
The Largest New Year’s Eve Celebrations
The largest New Year’s Eve celebrations are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Sydney, Australia; London, England; and New York, New York.
Rio de Janeiro
Renown Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro is host to the largest New Year’s Eve celebration worldwide. Each year, nearly 2 million people flock to the beach to enjoy enormous parties that include African, Christian, and indigenous traditions. During the day hundreds of people come to the sea to pay homage to the Afro-Brazilian Orixá, or goddess, Iemanjá. Locals throw white flowers into the sea and placing offerings on the beach in her honor. If you plan to go, make sure you are dressed only in white as white is considered a symbol of good luck and fortune. You can accessorize with red (symbolizing romance), green (for good health) and yellow and gold (for prosperity). Imagine 2 million people on the beach dressed only in white—what a spectacular display of unity to welcome the new year! At midnight, a mesmerizing display of fireworks starts but the party continues well into the next day!
Sydney is host to the world’s second largest celebration and it boasts the world’s largest fireworks display for the nearly 1.5 million people who attend and its worldwide television audience. Sydney spends approximately $4 million on myriad fireworks which use 30,000 effects. Not only that, the magnificent display requires six barges spanning almost 3 ½ miles of water, both arches and all the roadways of the Harbour Bridge, plus eight city buildings to awe its multitude of spectators of 12 long minutes.
Times Square first became a fathering place for New Year’s Eve in 1904 to commemorate the opening of the New York Times headquarters. Today, nearly 1 million people converge on the city’s center to watch the infamous New Year’s Eve Ball drop down Times Sqaure’s 77-foot flag pole. It starts its decent at 1 minute until midnight and, when it has dropped, two tons of confetti are released on the crowd below. The confetti will include messages from people around the work—hopes, dreams, goals—that have been left on the New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall at the Times Square Information Center. If you aren’t able to join the revelers, leave a message online and you can watch your message flutter down on all those in Times Square on New Year’s Eve!
London dazzles spectators with fireworks along the infamous Thames River. The midnight fireworks display will be launched from the London Eye, a gigantic pseudo-Ferris Wheel that is celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary this year. Nearly 700,000 people head to Tower, Westminster and Blackfriars bridges to get the best view as the new year arrives, heralded by Big Ben’s chimes.
HAPPY NEW YEAR !!
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