World’s revellers throng to New Year’s Eve parties

Free from many of their Covid worries, the world’s revellers thronged to New Year’s Eve parties, with Pacific nations of Kiribati, Tonga and Samoa the first to greet the new year, one hour ahead of neighbours New Zealand. In China, celebrations took place at the Great Wall in Beijing, and in Shanghai, traffic was stopped along the Bund to allow gatherings, despite Covid. Shanghai Disneyland will also hold a special fireworks show to welcome 2023.

Balinese dancers take part in a parade during New Year’s eve celebrations in Indonesia. Photo: EPA-EFE
Balinese dancers in Indonesia.

On the final day of a year marked by war in Ukraine, many returned to the capital Kyiv for New Year’s Eve. As Russia targets power supplies leaving millions without electricity, no big celebrations are expected and a curfew will begin as the clock rings in the new year.


Several hundred homeless people huddled in the cold in a line circling a park to receive free New Year’s Eve meals of sukiyaki, or slices of beef cooked in sweet sauce, with rice. Besides the sukiyaki box lunches, volunteers were handing out bananas, onions, cartons of eggs and small hand warmers at the park. Booths were set up for medical consultations.

“I hope the new year will bring work and self-reliance,” said Takaharu Ishiwata, who lives in a group home and hasn’t worked in years.

Kenji Seino, who heads the meal programme said more people were coming for meals, with jobs becoming harder to find after the coronavirus pandemic hit, and prices going up.

Fireworks fill the sky over the Opera House in Sydney on New Year’s Eve. Photo: AFP
Fireworks over Sydney Opera House on New Year’s Eve.

More than 1 million were expected at Sydney’s waterfront where celebrations took place based on diversity and inclusion. A rainbow waterfall will be a prominent feature of the party and more than 7,000 fireworks will be launched from the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

City producer of major events and festivals Stephen Gilby told The Sydney Morning Herald…

“We have had a couple of fairly difficult years; we’re absolutely delighted this year to be able to welcome people back to the foreshores of Sydney Harbour for Sydney’s world-famous New Year’s Eve celebrations.”

Lights illuminate Wat Arun –”the temple of dawn” – on New Year’s Eve in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Reuters
Lights illuminate Wat Arun –” the temple of dawn” – in Bangkok.
CNN produced a list of 10 Great Places to Spend New Year’s Eve, including Sydney, Taipei, Bangkok, Dubai, Cape Town, Rome, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York City, and Las Vegas.
Authorities in military-ruled Myanmar announced a suspension of its normal four-hour curfew in the country’s three biggest cities so celebrations took place. However, opponents of army rule are urging people to avoid public gatherings, claiming the authorities might stage a bombing or other attack and blame it on them.

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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