New Year's Eve

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The Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge illuminated under New Year's Eve Fireworks 2005

New Year's Eve is a celebration held the day before New Year's Day, on December 31, the final day of the Gregorian year.

New Year's Eve is a separate observance from the observance of New Year's Day. In 20th-century Western practice, the celebration involves partying until the moment of the transition of the year, generally at local midnight. Drinking champagne is also a major part of the festivities.

Within many cultures the use of fireworks and other noise making is a major part of the celebration in cities such as London, Paris, Sydney, Edinburgh and Hong Kong.

New Year's Eve is a public non-working holiday in the following countries, among others: Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Mexico , the Philippines, and Venezuela.


Localized celebrations


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Sydney leads the world in one of the first major New Year's Eve Celebrations each year
With crowds of over 1.2 million people, Sydney has arguably the largest New Year's Eve celebrations worldwide (New York and London both average crowds between 800,000 and 1,000,000) benefiting from the Harbour City's warm summer weather and spectacular natural amphitheatre.

Over 80,000 fireworks are traditionally set off from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and four other firing points covering 6 km along Sydney Harbour. The event can be seen from a 16 km radius around Sydney and attracts an average of 300,000 international tourists each year.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong people usually gather in Central, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront to see the lightworks on the skyscrapers along the harbour and to count down the New Year at spots like Times Square and Ocean Terminal.

United States

In the United States New Year's Eve is a major social holiday. In the past 100 years the dropping of the 'ball' on top of One Times Square in New York City, broadcast worldwide, is a major component of the celebration. The 1,070-pound, 6-foot-diameter Waterford crystal ball (on the right) located high above Times Square is lowered starting at 23:59:00 and reaches the bottom of its tower at the stroke of midnight (00:00:00) on January 1. Since 1972, Dick Clark has hosted televised coverage of the event called Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin Eve, shown on the ABC network. It is sometimes referred to as "the big apple" like the city itself; the custom derives from the time signal that used to be given at noon in harbors. In between 1982 and 1988, New York City dropped an enlarged apple in recognition of its nickname.

For about four decades Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians would serenade the United States from the ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue in New York City.

Now, many cities in America have their own local version of the celebration, even while keeping an eye on New York, and the New York-centric aspect of the holiday is diminishing. Many cities, echoing the New York tradition of dropping a ball, also drop or lower an object (or an enlarged representation of an object), usually one of local significance. Template:See

There are also examples of things going up. In Seattle the countdown is done by launching fireworks up the side of the Space Needle until it reaches the top at midnight.

New Year's Eve is also a big day in Las Vegas, where Las Vegas Boulevard is shut down as several hundred thousand people party.


The UK celebrate New Year by either waiting for Big Ben, or another clock to strike 00:00:00 while enjoying the party, the chimes are normally accompanied by Auld Lang Syne and fireworks. It is also a major celebration in Scotland see: hogmanay


The new year in Croatia is a traditional gathering in houses, hotels and discotheques, as well as mass parties in public, with fireworks.

There is a tradition of playing picigin in Split on New Year's Day, regardless of the weather conditions, even though the sea temperature rarely exceeds 10 degrees Celsius.

First Night

As a family-friendly, non-alcoholic celebration of the coming New Year, many communities have started sponsoring "First Night" celebrations. Typical events might include musical entertainment, arcades, and carnival attractions. One such "First Night" celebration can be found at Whistler, BC Canada, one of the world's most popular ski resorts.

See also

de:Silvester es:Nochevieja he:סילבסטר ja:大晦日 nl:Oudjaar pl:Noc sylwestrowa

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