New Year celebrations move west around the world from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific – NRK Urix – Foreign news and documentaries

New Year celebrations move west around the world from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific – NRK Urix – Foreign news and documentaries

One million people gathered in the Sydney Harbor area to watch a twelve-minute fireworks display over the Harbor Bridge and Opera House as the clock struck midnight, two o'clock in the afternoon Norwegian time.

Two hours earlier, thousands of New Zealanders watched the countdown to midnight on a screen atop Auckland's tallest building, the Sky Tower, where, by tradition, there was also a five-minute fireworks display. Rainy weather improved during the day until midnight.

Photo: Agence France-Presse

First out

But the first to welcome the year 2024 were the residents of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean, a full 13 hours before New Year's missiles fell on Norway.

The Pacific islands of Kiribati are always the first inhabited place in the world to welcome the New Year. They rang in the New Year at 11 Norwegian time on Sunday morning.

It was followed by other islands in the Pacific Ocean, such as Samoa and New Zealand, and parts of Australia, such as Melbourne. Brisbane followed an hour after Sydney.

Spectacular fireworks in Sydney Harbour, Australia, on Sunday evening

Spectacular fireworks in Sydney Harbour, Australia, on Sunday evening

Photo: AP

Temples and dance

The Japanese capital, Tokyo, ushered in the New Year at 3 p.m. Norwegian time, and people gathered at temples across the country. At the same time with the capital of South Korea, Seoul. It was then followed by Taipei, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippine capital, Manila, at 5 p.m.

In Beijing and other Chinese cities, celebrations passed quietly as fireworks were banned for safety and environmental reasons. There is still colorful dancing in Beijing, and balloons were launched in Chongqing

In Thailand, they follow the Buddhist calendar and welcome the year 2567.

Fireworks on the facade

When the clock struck twelve in Dubai, huge fireworks exploded over the facade of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

In the Vatican, Pope Francis celebrated the year 2023 as a year marked by war and suffering. In his traditional speech on Sunday in St. Peter's Square, he asked people to pray for the people of Ukraine, the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, as well as Sudan and many others.

The Pope said: – At the end of the year, we will have the courage to ask ourselves how many lives were destroyed in armed conflicts, how many died, how much destruction, how much suffering, how much poverty.

The war in Ukraine and Gaza

In Russia, the war overshadowed the traditional New Year's celebration, and fireworks in Red Square were cancelled, just as happened last year. In several other cities, such as Vladivostok, the celebration was canceled after the attack on Belgorod on Saturday.

Meanwhile, New Year's Eve in Ukraine was marked by new waves of Russian attacks, including against Kiev, Kharkiv and other cities.

In Gaza, the brutal war did not stop, and at least 35 people were killed in new Israeli attacks in the north and south. At the same time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear that the war would continue for several more months, contrary to calls from the United States and all other parties.

In Pakistan, all New Year celebrations were canceled in solidarity with the Palestinians, and in Iraq, the large Christmas tree in Baghdad was decorated with Palestinian flags, while many Christians in the country canceled their celebrations in sympathy with the Palestinians.

A surprise announcement in Denmark

In Denmark, celebrations got off to a shocking start when Queen Margaret unexpectedly announced, in her New Year's speech, that she would abdicate in two weeks and that the country would have a new king.

After Europe and Africa, the New Year celebration heads west across the Atlantic. At six o'clock Norwegian time on Monday, it's time for the traditional New York celebration in Times Square.

Hawaii residents are always among those who have to wait the longest at the end of the year. They only celebrate New Year's Eve when the clock strikes 11am here in Norway on Monday, January 1st.



Image: NTP

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Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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