News / USA

New Year Celebrated Around the World

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.

Watch related video from VOA's Arash Arabasadi

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VOA News
Major cities across the world celebrated the beginning of 2014 with fireworks and music, ringing in the new year with record setting celebrations and good spirit.

About a million New York City revelers braved frigid temperatures and high security, waiting hours in Times Square for a giant Waterford crystal ball to drop at the stroke of midnight.

With neither the current nor the incoming New York City mayor present to push the button to start the ball drop, the honors were performed by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a New York native.

The city of Nashville, Tennessee dropped a giant music note at midnight, while the city of Vincennes, Indiana dropped 14 watermelons in tribute to 2014. From space, the crew of the International Space Station -- two Americans and a Japanese crew member -- sent their greetings to Times Square and the rest of the world via a video from NASA.

In Pasadena, California, people celebrated the stroke of midnight while camped out on the street along the route for the annual Rose Parade. The parade is followed Wednesday by the Rose Bowl, one of several post-season college football games played on New Year.

Elsewhere, crowds gathered in public spaces around the world to ring in the new year, massing in Moscow, Dubai, London, New York and other major cities ahead of their midnight celebrations.

London's partiers were treated to edible banana-flavored confetti as they watched fireworks over Trafalgar Square.

Dubai created what it called the world's fireworks show, igniting 400,000 fireworks that aimed to set a new world record, besting last year's record of 77,000 in Kuwait.



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 celebrated by eating noodles and seafood -- thought to bring good luck in 2014 -- and offering 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, had a particularly poignant celebration, which included 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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