New Year festivities

Wave of celebrations across the globe

Fireworks exploding over the iconic London Eye in central London, marking the beginning of the new year.
Fireworks exploding over the iconic London Eye in central London, marking the beginning of the new year. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Rio de Janeiro’s famed hilltop Christ the Redeemer statue coming to life in 3D colour during the fireworks spectacle.
Rio de Janeiro’s famed hilltop Christ the Redeemer statue coming to life in 3D colour during the fireworks spectacle. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Merrymakers braving the pouring rain to ring in the new year at New York’s Times Square amid fireworks and cheer.
Merrymakers braving the pouring rain to ring in the new year at New York’s Times Square amid fireworks and cheer. PHOTO: REUTERS

Fireworks and festivities spread from Asia to Europe and Americas

RIO DE JANEIRO • Revellers welcomed 2019 yesterday with fireworks displays and festivities as a celebratory wave swept westwards across the globe from Asia to Europe and the Americas, putting to bed a tumultuous 2018.

In Rio de Janeiro, the city's famed hilltop Christ the Redeemer statue briefly came to colourful 3D life through light projections as it peered over Copacabana Beach, where pyrotechnics lit up more than two million white-clad Brazilians dancing to free concerts.

The beach was lit up with hundreds of thousands of mobile phone screens as the massive crowd recorded the fireworks spectacle.

New York's Times Square also erupted with fireworks and cheers at the stroke of midnight yesterday, as thousands of hardy merrymakers braved pouring rain and watched the glowing New Year's Eve ball complete its midnight descent to mark the start of 2019.

Helping to keep spirits high was a slate of performers, including Christina Aguilera, New Kids on the Block and Sting, who entertained the resilient crowd.

The global partying had kicked off on Sydney's waterfront with the Australian city's biggest fireworks display, thrilling 1.5 million people.

It then moved on to Hong Kong, where hundreds of thousands packed streets along Victoria Harbour for a spectacular 10-minute show that illuminated the night.

 
 
 
 

In Jakarta, more than 500 couples tied the knot in a free mass wedding organised by the government to mark the arrival of a new year. But fireworks shows were cancelled out of respect for victims of a Dec 22 tsunami that killed more than 400 people.

In Japan, locals flocked to temples to ring in 2019, as US boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather came out of retirement to beat Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in a multimillion-dollar exhibition bout outside Tokyo.

In Dubai, fireworks lit up the sky over the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, to the delight of onlookers, while nearby Ras al- Khaima sought to enter the Guinness Book of Records with the world's longest fireworks show.

Russia saw in the new year over several time zones. Concerts and light shows featured in Moscow city parks, and more than 1,000 ice rinks opened for merrymakers.

In Paris, "fraternity" themed fireworks and a light show were held on the Champs-Elysees, with a few "yellow vest" anti-government protesters mingling joyfully with the 300,000-strong crowd.

In Berlin, music lovers partied at the Brandenburg Gate.

London ushered in the new year by celebrating its relationship with Europe, despite Britain's impending departure from the European Union. Mayor Sadiq Khan said the capital would remain "outward looking" after Brexit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2019, with the headline 'Wave of celebrations across the globe'. Print Edition | Subscribe