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How Have Different Cities Celebrated New Year’s Day?

New Year’s Day finally arrived and there were plenty of celebrations all around the world. Out went 2019, and 2020 rolled in with a fresh sheet ripe to note down new memories.

To ring in the dawn of the new decade, different cities chose to celebrate in various manners.

London

Thousands of people lined the Thames as London kicked off the new decade to the roar of football anthems, in the buildup to the Euro 2020 football tournament.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, had promised the display would be the best the capital “has ever seen”.

Big Ben rang out 12 times to mark the start of the new year despite the bell falling mostly silent in 2019 while renovation work is completed.

London’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display was sold out, with around 100,000 revellers packed into the streets around Victoria Embankment.

Around 2,000 fireworks set off during the display were fired from the London Eye, with the remainder coming from barges moored in a central location along the River Thames.

Dubai

For nearly 10 minutes, fireworks lit up the sky over Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, as hundreds of thousands gathered downtown to watch the spectacular display.

The New Year’s Eve display at the 2,716-foot-tall skyscraper was just one of seven different fireworks shows across the emirate. Tourists, especially from Europe and Russia, flock to the sunny beaches of Dubai at this time of year to escape the cold, dark winter.

Moscow

The Russian capital has had an unusually warm December and temperatures in central Moscow as midnight approached were just above freezing. Otherwise, there were fireworks and a message from President Vladimir Putin urging them to work together in the coming year.

Putin made the call in a short speech broadcast on television just before the stroke of midnight in each of Russia’s 11 time zones. The recorded message was followed by an image of the Kremlin Clock and the sound of its chimes. State TV showed footage of extensive festive fireworks in cities of the Far East.

Beijing

President Xi Jinping delivered a New Year speech in Beijing to ring in 2020, pledging to achieve the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects in the “milestone” year.

“Let’s seize the day and live it to the full,” Xi said, as celebrations were well underway including a spectacular party at Shougang Industrial Park, one of the venues for the Beijing 2022 Olympics.

Jakarta

Tens of thousands of revellers in Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta were soaked by torrential rains as they waited for New Year’s Eve fireworks.

Festive events along coastal areas near the Sunda Strait were dampened by a possible larger eruption of Anak Krakatau, an island volcano that erupted last year just ahead of Christmas Day, triggering a tsunami that killed more than 430 people.

Sydney

Australia ushered in New Year’s Day with a huge fireworks display in Sydney, despite the calls to cancel the event as devastating bushfires raged across the country.

Critics had wanted Sydney to use the Aus $6.5 million ($4.5 million) spent on the display to fight bushfires ringing the city, but officials said the event was worth Aus $130 million to the economy and cancelling it would not have helped those impacted by the fires.

More than 100,000 fireworks lit up the skyline for the hundreds of thousands of spectators thronging the city centre.

Auckland

As the most populated city in New Zealand, Auckland always puts on a good show and the Sky Tower display was spectacular as half a ton of fireworks burst from the landmark towering over the city centre to celebrate New Year’s Day.

Thousands gathered around the tower, where – for the first time – lasers and animations accompanied the fireworks display.

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