New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world ring in a new decade
Revellers around the world marked a new year – and a new decade – with street parties and fireworks.
Here’s a look at how New Year’s Eve celebrations unfolded for millions around the world:
Russians began the world’s longest continuous New Year’s Eve with fireworks and a message from President Vladimir Putin urging them to work together in the coming year.
Putin made the call in a short speech broadcast on television just before the stroke of midnight in each of Russia’s 11 time zones.
As is tradition, the recorded message was followed by an image of the Kremlin Clock and the sound of its chimes. State TV showed footage of extensive festive fireworks in cities of the Far East.
But one holiday tradition was missing in Moscow this year – a picturesque layer of snow. The Russian capital has had an unusually warm December and temperatures in central Moscow as midnight approached were just above freezing.
Londoners watched a spectacular fireworks display from the banks of the River Thames that was launched from the London Eye and barges near Parliament.
The familiar chimes of London’s Big Ben clock tower rang in the new year, even though they have been silent for most of 2019 because of extensive restoration work.
To the north, the multi-day Hogmanay New Year’s celebrations in Edinburgh began Monday night with a torchlight parade through the streets of the Scottish capital.
Security was tight in both cities and elsewhere in Britain following a recent extremist attack on London Bridge that claimed two lives. Police arrested five men on suspicion of terrorism offences Monday but said the arrests were not related to the London Bridge attack or to celebrations.
In Australia, some communities cancelled fireworks celebrations due to the devastating wildfires. But Sydney’s popular display over its iconic harbourfront went ahead, with more than a million people descending on the hazy harbour. The city was granted an exemption to a fireworks ban there and elsewhere to prevent new wildfires.
Some tourists trapped in Australia’s coastal towns posted images of blood-red, smoke-filled skies on social media. One beachfront photograph showed people, some wearing gas masks, lying shoulder-to-shoulder on the sand.
The fires have spread across four states, with fronts stretching hundreds of kilometres in some cases. They have killed at least 12 people and razed more than 1,000 homes nationwide since October.
Tens of thousands of revellers in Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta were soaked by torrential rains as they waited for New Year’s Eve fireworks.
Festive events along coastal areas near the Sunda Strait were dampened by a possible larger eruption of Anak Krakatau, an island volcano that erupted last year just ahead of Christmas Day, triggering a tsunami that killed more than 430 people.
The country’s volcanology agency has warned locals and tourists to stay two kilometres from the volcano’s crater following an eruption Tuesday that blasted ash and debris up to 2,000 metres into the air.
People flocked to temples and shrines, offering incense with prayers to celebrate the passing of a year and the first New Year’s Eve of the Reiwa era.
Under Japan’s old-style calendar, linked to emperors’ rules, Reiwa started in May after Emperor Akihito stepped down and his son Naruhito became emperor. Although Reiwa is entering its second year with 2020, Jan. 1 marks Reiwa’s first New Year’s, the most important holiday in Japan.
Stalls at Zojoji Temple in Tokyo sold sweet rice wine, fried noodles and candied apples, as well as little amulets in the shape of mice, the zodiac animal for 2020. Since the Year of the Mouse starts off the Asian zodiac, it’s associated with starting anew.
Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics, an event that is creating much anticipation for the entire nation.