news New Year’s Eve Celebrations: Fireworks and Festivals Amid Global Uncertainty | World News

Countries around the world entered a new year of uncertainty amid economic hardships, fears of a new strain of coronavirus emerging in China, and the political backdrop of the conflict in Ukraine. Many cities held unrestricted fireworks displays and large public gatherings for the first time since the pandemic.

Despite a torrential rain shower, the large British crowds endured the cold as more than 100,000 people were estimated to have gathered on London’s Thames embankment at midnight for the exhibit.

A fireworks and light show references the death of the late Queen Elizabeth II, with ER, the initials of Queen Elizabeth II’s Royal Cypher, lit by drones along with Her Majesty’s portrait on a coin that transforms into the outline of Charles III. I was. The show also covered the conflict in Ukraine and her 50th anniversary of Pride, the English women’s football team that won the European Championship.

In Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities, the 11 p.m. It was already banned, but that was a whole other story. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy declared in a televised address: I replied that our only option was to keep fighting!

You can hear the roar of air defense systems in the distance, the laughter of twenty-somethings wishing to live their own lives, the sound of children playing video games on their smartphones, and the jokes of old women discussing everything. That’s how 2023 begins.

— Nolan Peterson (@nolanwpeterson) January 1, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin dedicated his New Year’s speech to rallying the Russian people behind his troops fighting in Ukraine. did.

New York City then joined the New Year’s sparkle with a dazzling spectacle in Times Square, anchoring celebrations across the United States. The night culminated in a countdown, when a glowing geodesic sphere 3.6 meters (12 feet) in diameter and weighing about 6 tons descended from the top of One Times Square. The ball’s surface was made up of about 2,700 Waterford crystals and was illuminated with a palette of colors over 16m, according to officials.

At midnight, a torrent of confetti rained down on the raucous crowd, twinkling among jumbo screens, neon lights and flashing lights.

Last year, due to Covid restrictions, only 15,000 of the usual 60,000 crowd turned out to Times Square to see the traditional moment.

Elsewhere, Australia celebrated its first unrestricted New Year’s Eve after two years of Covid turmoil, with over a million spectators watching a traditional fireworks display in Sydney’s harbor.

The lockdown at the end of 2020 and the surge in Omicron cases at the end of 2021 have led to crowd restrictions and fewer festivals.

Fireworks over the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge.
Fireworks over the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

2,000 fireworks were launched from the four sails of the Sydney Opera House, and 7,000 fireworks were launched from more locations on the Sydney Harbor Bridge, illuminating Sydney Harbour.

In Edinburgh, thousands attended traditional Hogmanay celebrations, including a concert at Princes Street Gardens starring the Pet Shop Boys and a DJ set at the annual street party.

Fireworks were launched every hour from 9pm to 11pm, counting down to the traditional midnight show.

People wait in the rain before New Year's celebrations in Edinburgh.
People wait in the rain before New Year’s celebrations in Edinburgh. Photo: Russell Chain/Reuters

In Manchester, the celebration was held without fireworks at Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester due to budget pressures.

Scarborough had to refrain from fireworks after an Arctic walrus nicknamed “Thor” became a celebrity on New Year’s Eve after being spotted in the harbor. A seaside resort where a walrus is believed to have been sighted for the first time in Yorkshire has attracted so many people that the local council decided to postpone the fireworks display to avoid disturbing the creatures. did. The animal is believed to be the same walrus found on the Hampshire coastline earlier this month.

A walrus rests in Scarborough harbor.
A walrus rests in Scarborough harbor. Photo: Ian Forsythe/Getty Images

Thousands of people gathered in central Wuhan in China, and many hoped it would be a much better year after a lockdown-filled 2022 and the outbreak of the novel coronavirus outbreak in December. A countdown to the beginning of the year that man wanted. As the clock struck midnight, many people released balloons into the sky and took selfies with their friends, following a tradition in a city in central China where the pandemic began three years ago.

“Last year, Covid-19 was so serious that I feel that some of my family members were hospitalized,” Wang, a 17-year-old Wuhan high school student, said from the riverside after midnight. I wish you a happy new year, this is the most important thing.”

Some came in fancy dress and almost everyone in attendance wore masks.The UK said the Covid wave that accelerated after restrictions were lifted and has since infected a large part of the population has spread across the country. is looking at .based health data company Airfinity.

Police in Wuhan, China, guard the area to avoid mass gatherings during New Year's Eve celebrations
Police in Wuhan, China, guard the area during New Year’s Eve celebrations to avoid large gatherings of people. Photo: Tingshu Wang/Reuters

“Excuse me,” said a woman named Jin, referring to the possibility of re-infection with the new coronavirus. “I was still scared when I came out tonight, but I just wanted to come out because everyone came out,” she said.

“It’s been a long time since things were lively,” said a 24-year-old man with the surname Chen, who lives in Wuhan and works in e-commerce.

Police used loudspeakers in many places and blasted short messages on a loop telling people not to gather, but people seemed to pay little to no attention.

In Shanghai, which, like many Chinese cities, went into a lengthy lockdown in 2022, many flocked to the Bund, a historic riverside promenade.

“We all came from Chengdu to Shanghai to celebrate,” said Da Dai, a 28-year-old digital media executive who is traveling with two friends. “We’ve already had Covid, so we feel safe and enjoying ourselves now.”

In France, an estimated 500,000 people on the Champs-Élysées watched New Year’s fireworks in a 10-minute show for the first time since 2019 in Paris.

However, the Czech capital, Prague, was one of those struggling economically and never exhibited.

Citing “the unfavorable economic situation of many Prague families” and the need for the city to save money, city hall spokesman Witt Hoffmann said, “It doesn’t seem appropriate to hold a celebration.” Fireworks shows in major Dutch cities have been canceled due to heavy rains and strong winds.

Berlin welcomed the New Year with fireworks over the Brandenburg Gate, and Athens welcomed the new year with fireworks over the ancient Parthenon on the Acropolis hill.

Fireworks explode behind the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
Fireworks explode behind the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Photo: Michele Tantussi/Reuters

Reuters and AP contributed to this report

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