People around the world turned out in cities and towns, in fields, on beaches, water fronts and city blocks, all to ring out the old and welcome the arrival of 2013, a year many hope proves to be better than 2012.
Australia had the distinction of ringing in the new year while some in other parts of the world had not yet gotten out of bed to great the final day of 2012. According to a Digital Journal report, the city of Sydney was heralded as holding the world's first major celebration to mark the start of 2013.
An estimated 1.5 million revelers turned out to watch the $6.6 million fireworks display light up the night sky, not once, but twice. The first display was launched from Darling Harbor before hundreds of fireworks began going off overhead at the iconic Sydney Harbor.
Fireworks display in Sydney, Australia.
The city of Melbourne held it's biggest New Year's Eve fireworks display ever according to the Herald Sun. The 8.5 tons of pyrotechnics drew an estimated crowd of 550,000 people.
North Korea celebrated New Year's Eve with a fireworks display in the capital of Pyongyang. It was the first time in the country's history the turning of the calendar was celebrated with an official fireworks display.
Hong Kong also joined in the festivities with an estimated $1.5 million in multicolored fireworks. It was reportedly the biggest display ever held in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor.
Hong Kong celebrates the start of 2013 with a firework display.
Japan celebrated Ōmisoka, the second-most important day in Japanese tradition. Millions visited temples across the country as bells were struck 108 times, symbolizing the beginning of a prosperous new year.
In the Russian capital of Moscow, the iconic Red Square was aglow as fireworks exploded overhead, the Kremlin as a backdrop. President Vladimir Putin used the traditional New Year's address to call for unity after a year of protests against his return as President.
New Year's Eve celebration in Moscow's Red Square Jan. 1, 2013
Roman S. Pyasik
In Dubai, UAE, Digital Journal reported that the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, was illuminated with fireworks while a live orchestra played.
Burma held its first public New Year's Eve countdown and fireworks display in Rangoon, something the formerly military-ruled country had previously never allowed. An estimated 90,000 people attended the festivities. Universtiy student Yu Thawda told Sky News:
"This is very exciting and also our first experience in celebrating the New Year at a big countdown gathering. We feel like we are in a different world."
Official New Year's Eve celebrations were canceled by the Indian government following the deadly gang-rape of a young medical student. Many hotels and bars in the country showed their respect for the victim by either canceling parties or holding more modest celebrations.
Rain and cold dampened outdoor celebrations in Madrid's Puerta del Sol square. Those in attendance sought solace and warmth in a glass of wine, attempting to forget the economic woes that are plaguing the country. Olga Camino, 25-years-old, told the National Post she planed to dress up for the occasion and celebrate with a group of friends, adding:
“It’s been tough, but some celebrations are too deeply-ingrained to let go.”
Organizers in Edinburgh, Scotland, traditionally known to host one of Europe's biggest New Year’s Eve parties, were expecting around 75,000 people to attend a celebration in the capital city of Hogmanay before heading to a large party being held at The Queen's Hall.
The city celebrates the dawning of a new year for 3 days. First, a procession of 7,000 torch-bearers wind their way through the city's streets on Dec. 30th. New Year's Eve features a fireworks display, outdoor dance, and the party at The Queen's Hall. The festivities concludes on Jan. 1st with the Loony Dook, an annual tradition where Scots take a plunge in the chilly River Forth.
Fireworks in Edinburgh Hogmanay, Scotland, January 1, 2013.
Fireworks in Edinburgh Hogmanay, Scotland, January 1, 2013.
Afore the Bells - Hogmanay at The Queen's Hall - Mon 31 December 2012 - The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh
The Queen's Hall
London's celebration featured 12,500 fireworks and contained clips from the 2012 Olympic Games. Approximately 250,000 attended the festivities. Rob Haine told the BBC:
"I got here at 5 p.m. and have been standing the whole time but it was worth it. The display was mesmerizing, it was a joy to witness. It was cool that they got the Olympics into the fireworks."
Across the Atlantic, the city of Toronto held its New Year’s Bash at Nathan Philip Square, an event which has become a tradition over the past 28 years. Performances by The Tenors, Disney on Ice, Shawn Desman, Jully Black and DJ Clymaxxx and Bridgit Mendler highlighted the event.
Niagara Falls rang in the new year with 2,000 pounds of fireworks being launched from the Skylon Tower, along with fireworks directly over the falls, a first time event according to Niagara Tourism.
Fireworks also lit up the night sky in Ottawa, Canada.
New York City held its traditional celebration in Time Square. The festivities saw nearly 1 million people pack onto the sidewalks and roadway of the iconic square, enjoying music from Train and Neon Trees. Psy and MC Hammer also entertained the crowd, performing together in a mashup of "Gangman Style" and "Can't Touch This".
Revelers took time to remember Dick Clark. Clark passed away earlier this year and Monday's celebration marked the first time in four decades he was not a part of the festivities. New York City's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, told the International Business Times:
“It’s hard. There are certain people that are bigger than life. Most people come and go. Dick Clark was here for generations. What’s an American? Dick Clark was a real American.”
Ryan Seacrest, who has taken over as host of the annual event, told Fox News:
"I'd like to say I can imagine how it's going to feel, but I'm not quite sure. I looked forward so much to each year that I did the show with him. Right after midnight, I would run inside and stand next to him, and he always has some funny, clever thing to make fun of me about. I think I will really miss that moment this year."
As the countdown to the new year drew closer, the events of 2012 were still on many people's minds. According to the Huffington Post, some were seen checking their smartphones, keeping track of developments in the "fiscal cliff" negotiations in Washington D.C. Thoughts of the Newtown, CT. victims and Hurricane Sandy victims were also on the minds of some.
As the traditional Waterford crystal globe, lit by more than 32,000 LED lights, began to fall, all thoughts turned towards the celebration. Confetti rained down, couples could be seen kissing, and like most around the world, the gathered crowd looked forward to what they hoped would be a bright, prosperous and peaceful new year.