The world celebrated New Year’s Eve as the year changed from 2011 to 2012. New Year’s Eve is on December 31, the final day of the Gregorian calendar year.
The New Year was celebrated all over the world, but let us take a look at some of the more famous New Year Eve parties. One of the first big parties took place in Auckland, New Zealand where people enjoyed a display of fireworks over the Sky Tower on a foggy night. Confetti was showered on people at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China. About 1.5 million people gathered and watched the spectacular fireworks show over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in Sydney, Australia. They even had fireworks that looked like a rainbow. The Australians were enjoying the warm weather in the Southern Hemisphere, while thousands of Russians in the Northern Hemisphere were shivering on a winter night watching their fireworks show at the Red Square in Moscow. Citizens of the United Kingdom had a little extra reason to celebrate, since their country is going to host the Summer Olympics this year. Fireworks painted the sky over Big Ben and the London Eye in London. There was a huge street party at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. Many celebrated in Paris, France, with champagne on Champs-Elysees avenue. In Tokyo, Japan, many gathered at the Zojoji Buddhist temple and let balloons into the air carrying notes inside with their wishes for 2012. Some Japanese ate a bowl of long noodles which symbolizes long life. In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, over 2 million people went to the beach party at Copacabana. Many of them wore white clothes – a local tradition. In Cambodia, Buddhist temple bells were rung 108 times. According to Buddhist belief, people have 108 kinds of worldly desires and ringing a bell helps get rid of them. People celebrated and watched the giant crystal ball with more than 30,000 lights make its drop at the Times Square in New York, USA. In Madrid, Spain, people gathered at the Puerta del Sol clock and ate 12 grapes in the last 12 seconds of 2011. This is a tradition for bringing good luck. The Boshingak bell was rung 33 times to bring in the New Year in Seoul, South Korea.
Samoa used to be one of the last countries to see the New Year, but this year, it was one of the first. At midnight on December 29, the country skipped a day, and went straight to December 31. There is an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth, called the International Date Line (IDL), that separates two consecutive calendar days. It runs mainly along the 180º line of longitude in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Samoa moved west of the IDL to be closer in time to its big trading partners, such as Australia and New Zealand, which are to the west of the IDL.