Welcome 2013

The world celebrated New Year’s Eve as the year changed from 2012 to 2013. 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. People celebrated at the Summer Palace 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. 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. Along with welcoming the new year, citizens of the United Kingdom celebrated their country’s success in hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics. Fireworks painted the sky over Big Ben and the London Eye in London. A beautiful fireworks show was staged over the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Many celebrated in Paris, France, with champagne on Champs-Elysees avenue. In Tokyo, Japan, many gathered at the Tokyo Tower and let balloons into the air carrying notes inside with their wishes for 2013. 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. In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, over 3 million people went to the beach party at Copacabana. Many of them wore white clothes – a local tradition. Confetti was showered on people as they watched the giant crystal ball make its drop at the Times Square in New York, USA. The South Korean singer, PSY, performed his famous “Gangnam Style” as part of the celebrations at the Times Square. The Boshingak bell was rung to bring in the New Year in Seoul, South Korea. The sky was lit with colorful fireworks over the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in Dubai, UAE.  There was a huge street party at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.

Ten-nine-eight-seven-six-five-four-three-two-one! Thousands of people joined the countdown to welcome 2013 in Yangon, Myanmar. It was the first time that the country officially held a New Year’s countdown. In fact, public gatherings were banned in Myanmar until recently. Myanmar has been going through changes and is moving towards becoming a more democratic country.  There is another country where public New Year celebrations took place for the first time. That was in North Korea. Not all countries celebrated the New Year. Many celebrations in Cyprus were cancelled because the country has been struggling with money issues. Some of the money saved was distributed to kids who needed financial help.

Welcoming the New Year comes with unique traditions in different countries. A common New Year’s Eve custom in Spain is to eat one grape for each of the last 12 seconds of the year for good luck. A January 1st tradition in Greece is to bake a cake called the St Basil’s cake. A trinket is placed inside the cake. The cake is distributed and whoever finds the trinket in their piece of cake will be lucky for the next year. Venezuelans wear yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve for good luck. Some children in the Philippines jump up and down at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve in the hopes of making them grow taller. Some Japanese eat a bowl of long noodles which symbolizes long life. A popular tradition across many European countries is to take a dip in the cold ocean/sea waters.

Did you know? Most of the Western world follows the Gregorian calendar which was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII.

Did you know? In December, the video of Gangnam Style became the first video ever to have been watched over a billion times on YouTube.

Image Credits: Mathew Field for Opera house image; Diliff for London Eye; Nicolas Lannuzel for Burj Khalifa