The start of 2021 worldwide was a different New Year’s Eve than usual because of the Corona pandemic. As usual, Sydney in Australia did start the new year with a colorful fireworks display in front of the Opera House, but this time no spectators were allowed. The situation was similar in New York’s Times Square. The European countries also celebrated the end of the year in a rather restrained manner. Parties and fireworks were canceled, naturally also the Vienna New Year’s Eve path.
The fireworks at Sydney Harbour and Opera House lasted only seven minutes instead of twelve as in the previous year. Sydney resembled a ghost town, reporters reported. In the following hours, countries in Asia gradually followed: at 4 p.m. (CET), for example, it was the turn of Japan and South Korea. At 5 p.m., the turn of the year followed in the Philippines and Malaysia, as well as Taiwan and China.
The U.S. metropolis of New York, with its millions of inhabitants, traditionally welcomed the New Year in Times Square – but for the first time in decades, the famous square in Manhattan was closed to the public on New Year’s Eve due to a pandemic. As a glowing crystal ball was lowered from a flagpole at midnight for the so-called ball drop, as it does every year, only a few dozen invited guests counted down the final seconds there. Among them were medical personnel and delivery men, the silent heroes of the pandemic. They witnessed what, despite everything, could not be missed: Confetti rained down, and the songs “Auld Lang Syne” and “New York, New York” resounded over the streets of Manhattan.
In many European countries, too, New Year’s Eve celebrations were more subdued than usual because of Corona. Italy and France had nightly curfews. France’s electro lovers, however, got their money’s worth: Two big names staged online shows against the backdrop of Parisian landmarks. Electropop pioneer Jean Michel Jarre rang in the new year in a virtual Notre Dame. Star DJ David Guetta delighted his fans with a recorded music show in front of the Louvre. In Italy, too, many cities organized Internet events with Italian music stars, including rock star Gianna Nannini.
In many countries around the world, the New Year began much earlier: The South Sea islands of Samoa and Kiribati were the first in the world to start the New Year at 11 a.m. Central European Time. There, too, the New Year’s mood was subdued because of Corona. An hour later, fireworks went off in New Zealand. Unlike many other countries, the island nation in the South Pacific has not recorded any local Corona cases for more than a month. Therefore, music festivals and fireworks shows took place without limits on attendance or other restrictions.
China also no longer has any major Corona restrictions. However, New Year’s Eve is not particularly important to the Chinese either. According to their traditional lunar calendar, the new year doesn’t start until February. Only then is there a big wave of travel. Nevertheless, fireworks were set off in some cities Friday morning.
In Austria, New Year’s Eve parties were banned due to curfew restrictions that apply around the clock. All that was allowed at the turn of the year was for a household to host a maximum of one individual from another household. Germany is also under a hard lockdown for the second time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. There was a blanket ban on the sale of fireworks before New Year’s Eve. In Berlin, however, firecrackers were clearly audible, fireworks could be seen in the sky. Police said the evening in the German capital was unusually quiet. The largest New Year’s Eve party in Germany and the fireworks at the Brandenburg Gate had been canceled. Private celebrations were only allowed on a small scale.
It will take until 1 p.m. CET on January 1 for the entire globe to slide into the new year. The uninhabited islands of Baker Island and Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean are the last to go.
- Source: kleinezeitung.at/picture: pixabay.com
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