Ringing in the New Year is a tradition that goes back thousands of years around the world, and these days it’s a grand celebration no matter where you are.
From Sydney, the first major city to count down to midnight, to New York’s Times Square and the famous ball drop to Las Vegas with its party atmosphere, there’s a celebration for everyone.
Times Square, New York City
Since 1907, revelers have gathered in New York City’s Times Square to ring in the new year with fireworks, celebration and a ball dropping as the clock counts down to midnight. Now, it’s become an international destination, with star-studded musical performances, celebrity appearances, and famous hosts.
The ball is more than 11,000 pounds, covered with thousands of crystals and LED lights, and stays on top of One Times Square all year long.
About one million people crowd into the square and more than a billion people tune in worldwide.
Sydney, Australia has had a New Year’s Eve celebration for several decades. The city is the first major population center to jump into the new year.
The celebration actually takes place twice, once at 9 pm for families, and then again at midnight for committed revelers. Over one million people gather in and around Sydney Harbor, centered at the Opera House, for the countdown and twelve minute fireworks spectacular. The celebration is also a major broadcast event, with over one billion global viewers.
Las Vegas, Nevada
If you don’t want to celebrate New Year’s Eve bundled in a coat and hat, head to Las Vegas for a crazy day-long celebration. The famous Las Vegas shows are especially memorable, with everyone dressed up to the nines and enjoying the atmosphere, special shows and concerts, and fine dining.
There’s an outdoor block party with 300,000 partiers on the Strip. At midnight, the casinos launch a coordinated fireworks display.
Celebrating the “western” new year rather than Chinese New Year, Hong Kong celebrates all day and all over. There’s a massive fireworks display that counts down with hourly bursts until a massive show begins just before midnight. Because the fireworks are launched in the harbor, there are countless areas to watch with an excellent view.
There are also New Years Eve cruises you can arranged to have an experience of a lifetime.
Everything on display in Dubai, the capitol of the United Arab Emirates, is done to entertain and impress. New Years Eve celebrations are no exception.
There are multiple opportunities to celebrate in style, including gathering at the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
People gather around outside to celebrate and watch the amazing fireworks display launched from the building itself.
Of course there are dozens of other parties and fireworks shows across the city, and yachts and hotels that host extravagant feasts and celebrations for revelers from around the world.
One experience you can’t get anywhere else is to celebrate the new year at the Palm Jumeirah, the artificial reef of islands designed for upscale visitors. The celebration there holds nothing back, and it’s truly something, celebrating New Year’s Eve in the desert oasis of Dubai.
Rio de Janiero
If you want to really party on New Year’s Eve, you should head to Rio de Janiero, in Brazil. The city knows how to celebrate, and being south of the equator, warm weather is a guarantee, as is a good time.
The celebration centers around the Copacabana Beach, where more than two million revelers will gather to dance, eat, drink and party away the old year and welcome the new. Concerts are performed at the Copacabana Palace, but people spread out all along the beach.
It’s important to know, most Brazilians wear white to celebrate New Year’s Eve, which is an old African custom that represents peace. According to the custom, colors represent different attributes, so you can also wear the color of what you hope for in the coming year: yellow/gold for wealth, red for passion, pink for love, blue for health, and so on.
If you’re not lucky enough to spend New Year’s Eve with a million strangers on a beach in Rio, in Times Square, or in the Sydney Harbor, perhaps you can invite a few friends from the neighborhood over and celebrate the ringing in of 2020 with a special party that highlights some of the best each of these locations has to offer. And when the clock strikes midnight, cheer, have a toast and kiss a loved one. Happy New Year!