World welcomes the New Year with hopes
DE Online Desk
Countries across the globe are celebrating the New Year, with many hoping for better times despite conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine. The Pacific region is the first to ring in 2024.
Parts of the Far East have welcomed 2024 with huge fireworks displays, including in Seoul and Tokyo.
In Japan, temple bells rang out across the nation as people gathered at shrines and temples to welcome in the new year. At the Tsukiji Temple in Tokyo, visitors were given free hot milk and corn soup as they stood in line to strike a big bell, and a pipe-organ concert was held before the temple’s altar.
It’s time for the Australian state of Queensland to tick over into 2024, an hour after New South Wales and Victoria. That’s because Queensland does not change clocks in the summer to allow for more sunlight in the evening. It’s further north and gets more light, making the hour change unnecessary.
Papua New Guinea and several Russian regions have also just made the transition from 2023, as have the United States’ territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Australia’s largest city, Sydney, which proclaims itself the “New Year’s capital of the world,” has taken its moment in the spotlight, with its traditional firework display above the Harbour Bridge.
The bridge stood in relative darkness during the countdown, before giving way to a dazzling display of bright colors after the stroke of midnight.
The show, involving some 8 metric tons of fireworks, was witnessed by tens of thousands of people gathered at vantage points along the waterfront.
The renowned display is one of the most complex in the world, costing about 7 million Australian dollars (€4.3 million, $4.8 million). City authorities say it is watched annually by around 425 million people worldwide.
An earlier firework display, for families, also took place at the Harbour Bridge.
Many revelers have been camping to bag the best vantage points since Sunday morning.
The Sydney fireworks marked the change of year for the states of New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria, with Australia split across several time zones.
The French overseas territory of New Caledonia celebrated at the same time, as did several regions of eastern Russia.
South Australia, and a small part of New South Wales, see in the New Year half an hour after Sydney.
Various island domains of the United States, France, and Australia have welcomed in the New Year, as have two far easterly mainland regions of Russia.
Australia’s Norfolk Island, France’s Wallis and Futuna and the US Wake Island all in ring the changes one hour ahead of Australia and one behind New Zealand. So, too, to the Chukotka and Kamchatka regions of Russia, on the opposite side of the International Date Line to Alaska.
Kiribati’s Gilbert Islands, the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Tuvalu are also already in 2024.
In New Zealand, fireworks have lit up Auckland’s Sky Tower, along with a laser light and animation show synchronized with other landmarks such as the city’s Harbour Bridge.
The display began with a digitized countdown projected onto the base of the tower before some 500 kilograms of pyrotechnics were launched from the structure.
There were also fireworks at an inner city lagoon in the capital, Wellington.
Meanwhile, in the island nation of Samoa, there were two separate fireworks displays planned – one in the capital Apia, and the other on the largest island Savai’i.
New Zealand pyrotechnic experts were called in to ensure the fireworks were fired simultaneously from both islands at the stroke of midnight.