News / Asia

New Year's Celebrations Ring in 2014

World to 2013: So Long!i
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December 31, 2013
It’s the last day of 2013… depending on where you live. Parts of the far, far East already have turned their calendars to 2014, while the Western World and the United States await their turn. Arash Arabasadi has more for VOA from Washington, where the party is still hours away.

Related report by Arash Arabasadi

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VOA News
Fireworks are crackling through the night skies across the globe as revelers celebrate the first moments of 2014.

Crowds gathered in public spaces in major cities across the Asia-Pacific region to ring in the new year with music, fireworks and revelry. As clocks marched toward midnight around the world, crowds massed in Moscow, Dubai, London, New York and other major cities ahead of their celebrations.

Dubai created what it called the world's largest fireworks show. About a million people are expected to gather in New York's Times Square to watch a giant ball drop at the stroke of midnight, the best known of the American New Year's Eve rituals.

Fireworks erupted from Auckland's Sky Tower as people danced in the streets of New Zealand's biggest city. In Sydney, Australia, more than a million people watched fireworks launched for the first time in more than a decade from the sails of the city's famed waterfront opera house. Billowing fireworks soared over Hong Kong's skyscrapers.

In Japan, some celebrators ate noodles and seafood - thought to bring good luck in 2014 - and offered prayers at Buddhist shrines and temples.

Celebrations were somewhat muted in the Philippines, where officials say about 260 people were injured by fireworks or stray bullets in the days leading up to New Year's Eve. The mood also was somber in areas still recovering from Haiyan, a November typhoon that killed thousands of people.

Cape Town, South Africa, was set for a particularly poignant celebration to include a tribute to anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, who died December 5.

  • Pro-European Union activists hold lights as they sing the Ukrainian national anthem, celebrating the New Year in Kyiv, Ukraine, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • A boy wears a holiday mask as he and other children hang around a group of French soldiers on New Year's Day, Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Nicole Tacher, 11, lays in confetti on a hotel balcony as the new year is celebrated, Times Square, New York City, New York, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • A man with a New Year's hat attends the annual New Year's Berliner Seehunde (Berlin Seals) swim at Oranke Lake, Berlin, Germany, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Sikh devotees throng to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • A Chinese man burns incense while offering prayers on the first day of the new year at the Yonghegong Lama Temple, Beijing, China, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Pakistani Christians attend a prayer service on the first day of the new year at a local church in Lahore, Pakistan, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Bolivian dancers perform on the Champs Elysees to celebrate the new year, Paris, France, Jan. 1, 2014,
  • Argentine-born Maestro Daniel Barenboim, center, conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during the traditional New Year's concert at the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna, Austria, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Indian families enjoy a ride on decorated horse carts on the first day of the new year, Kolkata, India, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • People stand in line to offer new year prayers at Sensoji temple, Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 1, 2014. 
  • Fireworks light up the sky as onlookers welcome the new year, Manila, Philippines, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Performers gather for a group photo after the end of a New Year's Eve countdown to 2014, Beijing, China,  Jan. 1, 2014. 
  • Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center during a pyrotechnic show to celebrate the new year in Hong Kong, Jan. 1, 2014. 
  • Crowds celebrate at midnight on New Year's 2014 at Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 1, 2014.
  • A professional diver holds a "Welcome 2014" banner while swimming next to a stingray during New Year's Eve celebrations inside a large aquarium at an ocean park, Manila, Philippines, Dec. 31, 2013. 
  • A man leads his horse past a message left by a visitor on New Year's Eve, along Clifton Beach, Karachi, Pakistan, Dec. 31, 2013. 
  • Lights and lasers illuminate the Great Wall of China to celebrate the new year before the countdown event at the Badaling section of the Great Wall, Beijing, China, Dec. 31, 2013. 

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