2009 New Years Around the World
People around the world are starting to celebrate the New Year, 2009, as clocks beginning in Christmas Island heading west across the globe strike midnight. The first inhabitants on Earth to celebrate are located on Kiritimati (known as Christmas Island) in the Pacific Ocean.
A stunning firework display in Auckland, New Zealand, marked the first passing of midnight in a major city at 11am British time.
It was preceded by Kiritimati, or Christmas Island, in the Pacific Ocean, the first inhabited place on Earth to celebrate the new year, which passed midnight at 10am British time.
Huge crowds have gathered in Sydney, Australia for the city's annual party and fireworks display.
Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean was the first to welcome in 2009 at 10am Greenwich Mean Time. before the New Year arrived in New Zealand an hour later.
Auckland’s dazzling firework show, launched from the Sky Tower in the centre of the city, was broadcast around the world in a prelude to the enormous pyrotechnic display in Sydney Harbour two hours later.
People in London and other cities around the world may have gotten to enjoy fireworks, but in the Italian city of Naples many men may have suddenly lost interest in watching bright lights in the sky. As NowPublic's generaldecay writes, a group of city officials are encouraging women to go on a sex strike until their mates promise not to set off illegal fireworks during New Years Eve festivities. Their slogan: "Make love, not explosions."
In London, England revelers braved cold temperatures to gather watch a fireworks display. As many as 500,000 gathered along the Thames River for the celebration. So far, there have been relatively few problems.
Superintendent Brian Pearce said viewing areas near the London Eye started to fill up at about 1800 GMT and were closed by 2300 GMT as they were full.
He said: "People seem to have listened to advice to plan ahead and arrive in good time.
"We've only had 10 arrests in total across central London and they were mainly for drunkenness. It's very good when you consider the number of people in central London tonight."
The real problem, however, may come when partyers try to get home on the London Underground.
He said there could be a repeat of scenes last year when revellers had to queue for up to three hours to get on to Tube trains home.
South Asia's New Year's celebrations are more muted than usual, as India recovers from Mumbai and Pakistan marks the Muslim mourning month.
Many Indian cities have tighter security and roadblocks, with the mood in the normally festive city of Mumbai described as subdued.
Pakistan is marking the Muslim mourning month of Muharram.
Freezing cold temperatures are expected in London, England and Toronto, Canada, among other locations. Sydney, Australia is partying in the heat as temperatures there soar to 30 degrees celcius.
It will be a bone-chilling New Year's Eve in Toronto Wednesday night as party revellers will have to deal with temperatures dipping to freezing conditions.
Things will be chilly in the UK for revellers, with temperatures clinging just below zero. Over 400,000 people are expected in London to attend a fireworks display.
The 100,000 party-goers in Edinburgh will need more than good cheer to keep warm with lows of minus 2C-3C.
In London 400,000 people are expected to attend a fireworks display, while Elton John is playing at the O2 Arena.
Over 1.5 million people are expected in Auckland, New Zealand for a giant fireworks display over the harbour.
A crowd, which was expected to be a record 1.5 million people, gathered at the city's harbour for around 18 hours ahead of the main event at midnight local time (1300 GMT).
New Years Traditions
One of the most common traditions in celebrating new years is the singing of Auld Lang Syne, a poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 that has been used by countries around the world ever since.
"Auld Lang Syne" is usually sung each year at midnight on Hogmanay (New Year's Eve) in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore and English-speaking areas of India, Pakistan, and Canada, and signifies the start of a new year.
History of New Years
While the beginning of the New Year has been celebrated for ages, the new 'Western' New Year was begun by the Romans and changed by the likes of Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory XIII, who set up the system we use today.
Julius Caesar fixed the start of the year on Jan. 1 by letting the previous year run to 445 days rather than the traditional 365. The Roman citizenry made their winter festival Saturnalia a celebration without rules. So, let's blame the Romans.
• The celebration of the new year as we know it on Jan. 1 takes place under the Gregorian calendar.
• The Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar and is often celebrated with parades and fireworks.
• During the Middle Ages people used a Julian calendar and thus celebrated the new year on March 25, also known as Annunciation Day.
NP'er Pythiian1 posted a great write-up on the giant amount of preparations being made in New York City to get ready for their New Years Eve party tonight!
Since yesterday, Dec.30, the familiar blue and steel barricades were set up along the side-streets, no parking zones were enforced from 33rd to 59th Streets and from Sixth Avenue to Eighth Avenue, and all mailboxes and man-holes were sealed temporarily.
NowPublic member Cypresso posted the first story on New Years early this morning:
The sense of relief has yet to be felt here in Houston, but will be, as the time of the New Year draws closer. 2008 will not be regretted as passing by many!