Welcoming 2014

The world celebrated New Year’s Eve as the year changed from 2013 to 2014. 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. A laser light show was held at a section of the Great Wall of China near Beijing, China. North Koreans enjoyed a fireworks show over the Juche Tower in Pyongyang. About 1.5 million people gathered and watched the spectacular fireworks show over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in Sydney, Australia. Fireworks painted the sky over the Red Square in Moscow, Russia. If you were hungry, you should have been at the celebrations at the London Eye in London, UK. They had edible banana-flavored confetti, peach-flavored snow, and bubbles with an orange scent. A beautiful fireworks show was staged over the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Many celebrated in Paris, France, with champagne on Champs-Elysees avenue. There was a huge party with fireworks at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. In Tokyo, Japan, many gathered at the Tokyo Tower and let balloons into the air carrying notes inside with their wishes for 2014. Japanese also gathered at the Zojoji Buddhist temple in Tokyo to pray. 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 two 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 sky was lit with an incredible fireworks show over the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in Dubai, UAE. The fireworks show in Dubai was so grand that a world record was set for the “largest ever fireworks display”. You can watch a video here.

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 with a trinket 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. 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 sea waters.

Did you know?

Two major sporting events that take place every four years are going to be held this year. Russia is going to host the Winter Olympic Games, and Brazil is going to host the FIFA World Cup Soccer.

Did you know?

Samoa and Kiribati were the first countries to welcome 2014. Here is a website that tells the order in which the countries around the globe welcomed in the New Year.

Image Credits: http://www.sochi2014.com/ for Sochi Olympics’ logo, http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/ for FIFA Worldcup’s logo, Rob Chandler for Sydney’s fireworks image

Sources: http://www.theglobeandmail.com, BBC, New York Times, The Guardian, Hindustani Times, worldtimezone.com, guinnessworldrecords.com