Well, here we are. New Year’s Eve heading into 2010. It’s only natural on a day like today, in a blog like this, to look around the world and see how everyone’s celebrating the big day and night.
As I type this, the New Year has already arrived in some parts of the world. For instance it’s already 2010 in Australia, where the city of Sydney rang it in with a huge fireworks display in front of some 1.5 million people. The fireworks were launched from the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Of course fireworks are a mainstay of New Year’s celebrations around the world. In Paris, it’s at the Eiffel Tower. In Berlin, revelers gather on the boulevard leading to Brandenburg Gate. In London, the celebration is centered around the huge London Eye Ferris Wheel. In Edinburgh, it’s by Edinburgh Castle (and this guy takes you behind the scenes to show you how it’s done).
So fireworks are popular, but there are other traditions in different parts of the world. At midnight in Tokyo, for example, they ring bells in the temples. And in China, our calendar New Year is not as big a deal, as they reserve most of their celebratory energy for the Chinese New Year based on the lunar calendar.
As for me, I have been lucky enough to spend a couple of New Year’s Eves in Prague, during my two-year stay there. For the first one we joined the huge crowds in Old Town Square. The scene could be described as semi-organized chaos. When the big clock struck midnight, people made a lot of noise, did a lot of hugging, set off a lot of small fireworks right in the middle of the crowd, tossed a lot of glass bottles in the air... it was a perfect combination of scary and unbelievably fun. Hours later, at the very end of the long night, we walked back through the quiet empty square on our way home. The only sound was the continuous crunch of broken glass underfoot. It was definitely a New Year’s to remember.
Tonight I’ll probably go to a house party. I expect fun, but no fireworks. And little to no broken glass.
Happy New Year, everyone.