Global New Year fireworks usher in 2013

2013-01-01 08:02
Spectator boats in Sydney Harbour look on as New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. (Greg Wood, AFP)

Spectator boats in Sydney Harbour look on as New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. (Greg Wood, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - World cities from Sydney and Hong Kong to Dubai and London rang in the New Year with spectacular fireworks on Monday, as revellers at Times Square in New York sought to top off the global extravaganza.

The celebrations kicked off on a balmy summer's night in Sydney with a $6.9m pyrotechnics display curated by pop icon Kylie Minogue the highlight.

It was followed by a kaleidoscopic eight-minute jamboree in Hong Kong, with the city's famed Victoria Harbour lit up in spectacular fashion, as other Asian cities joined in, including long-isolated Yangon for the first time.

As the stroke of midnight moved westward through time zones, the world's tallest building, Dubai's Burj Khalifa, was the centrepiece of festivities in the huge expatriate and tourist hub.

And in Britain, tens of thousands braved rain on the banks of the Thames as the London Eye dramatically changed colour and 11 minutes of fireworks raised the spirits.

"What an amazing end to an incredible year," said the British capital's own colourful Mayor Boris Johnson, alluding to the Olympic and royal spectaculars of 2012, as an estimated 250 000 people lined the riverbanks and gazed skyward.

Sombre mood

While up to a million partygoers were expected to view the traditional drop of a giant crystal ball at Times Square, the mood was more sombre in Washington as US lawmakers failed to make a deal over looming tax rises for Americans.

It didn't dim early enthusiasm in the Big Apple though, where South Korean pop sensation Psy will join a host of US music stars at the festivities.

Thousands turned up early to be sure of a good view of the nearly 5 443kg ball, which features 32 000 LED lights and 2 688 Waterford crystals and slides down a pole to mark the final minute of the year.

"It's something you need to do in your life. It's New York and New Year's Eve," said an excited Juli, 18, visiting from Austria.

In Rio de Janeiro, officials have promised a bumper 16-minute, 24-ton display opposite Copacabana Beach.

There was little prospect of such fanfare in Venezuela, though, as the cancer-hit health of President Hugo Chavez cast a shadow over the start of 2013 and prompted the cancelation of major celebrations.

In Caracas, the mayor cancelled a traditional end-of-year concert in Bolivar Square, instead asking people to pray at home for ailing Chavez, who suffered a new setback after his latest round of surgery in Cuba. The streets were quiet.

'Here to have fun'

In Myanmar, however, an estimated 50 000 flocked to Yangon's revered golden Shwedagon Pagoda for the city's first public New Year countdown and fireworks display, seen as further evidence of opening up after decades of military rule.

"I came here to have fun and leave disappointment behind," said 27-year-old reveller Sithu.

Meanwhile, in Russia, President Vladimir Putin used a traditional New Year's address to call for unity following a year of protests against his return to the Kremlin for a third term.

And in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated New Year's Eve vespers in St Peter's Basilica, voicing solidarity with the poor and calling on believers to pause to reflect from time to time despite busy lives.

"We have to know how to stop and think. This way our soul can find healing for the inevitable wounds of everyday life," he said.

In Spain, revellers who gathered in Madrid's Puerta del Sol square ahead of midnight - cowed by cold, rain and recession - sought to numb the pain of economic crisis with a glass of wine and plenty of cheer.

Manuela Ibanez, 51, who came from Barcelona with her two daughters, said: "At times like this we forget the crisis."

In Paris, however, there was less cheer as authorities issued a reminder that all fireworks are officially banned for the night.

Fireworks

Earlier in Asia, in regions devastated by Typhoon Bopha which hit the southern Philippines in early December killing more than 1 000 people, many survivors said food, work and permanent shelter topped their priorities.

In the capital Manila, authorities had been bracing for the annual rush of injuries as families celebrated with do-it-yourself firework displays and shot celebratory bullets into the air.

Seoul ushered in 2013 with a ritual ringing of the city's 15th-century bronze bell 33 times, reflecting the ancient practice of marking a new year.

Millions visited temples and shrines in Japan for "ninen-mairi" two-year prayers, gathering at family homes to feast on soba noodles and watch the New Year variety show "Kohaku Uta Gassen" or the Red and White Song Contest.

Fireworks also went up in cities across China. And In Taiwan, hundreds of thousands defied chilly winds to pack the square in front of the Taipei City Hall for a concert featuring Taiwanese pop diva A-Mei and Hong Kong-based singer and actor Aaron Kwok.

But in India, rocked by the deadly gang-rape of a young medical student, the armed forces cancelled New Year celebrations while many hotels and bars scaled back parties out of respect for the unnamed victim.

NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Puppy goes crazy over iPad game

Violet the puppy loves playing Cat Fishing 2 on the iPad!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Printable solar panels will bring exciting new opportunities!
Now there’s a special lane for texting while walking
LOL! 7 brutally honest texts from parents
This lock means keys are something of the past!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Operations Manager (Finance)

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Switch Consultants (Pty) Ltd
R30 000 - R40 000 Per Month

Java Developer

Cape Town
Communicate Cape Town IT
R25 000 - R28 000 Per Month

Microsoft CRM Implementer

Cape Town
Datafin Recruitment

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

As the Moon moves out of restless Gemini into sensitive Cancer today you are able to relax your active mind and be more receptive...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.