5 Party Places for New Year’s Eve

Holiday cheer escalates to a feverish pitch come New Year’s Eve, especially in these places. A year can’t end without a party, to celebrate the blessings received the past year and to express hope for a better year ahead.

New York – Immortalised in books, TV shows, and movies, there’s nothing like ringing in the new at Times Square. This tradition, which began more than a hundred years ago, remains the “in” thing today. Gathering crowds of up to two million, the highlight of the event is still the ball drop, the 12-foot New Year’s Eve Ball made of 2,668 Waterford Crystals and 32,256 LEDs, with a brilliant kaleidoscope of colours. To welcome 2009, Lionel Richie, Taylor Swift, and the Jonas Brothers are performing for the crowd, which begins to amass from four in the afternoon onward. Various hosts read people’s wishes and say their own, as balloons, scarves, and pom-poms are handed out to merrymakers. The 60-second countdown is capped off by pyrotechnics.

Las Vegas – Where better to enjoy the flashing lights, the people, and the partying than in the Entertainment Capital of the World? With acts such as Akon, Kid Rock, and even Bette Midler, tourists can be sure they’re in for one heck of a time. Probably the best place to enjoy the gaiety is at Fremont Street, known as vintage Las Vegas. Catch the Kiss Viva Show, a light-and-sound tribute to the band, as well as tunes from Queen, Rolling Stones, and Billy Joel. A fireworks exhibition is sure to be just as over-the-top.

Sydney – From the skies to the waters, no canopy is spared for the most spectacular displays in Australia. One of the first countries to greet 2009, the fun begins with the aerial stunts performed by a number of planes, as well as the fireworks display around nine in the evening. The bay is a riot of colour and action from the parade of yachts, barges, and old-fashioned ships. All eyes are again on the heavens as an orchestrated pyrotechnic show plays on as the clock strikes 12.

Rio de Janeiro – Unlike those who party on the streets, Brazilians party on the beach. Here, millions gather to light candles and offer flowers to Iemanjá, Queen of the Sea. Loads of dancing happens well into dawn, as well as firework presentations.

Edinburgh – Those who can’t get enough of revelry will do well to stay in the UK, with Edinburgh having festivities that begin on the 29th of December and end on the 4th of January. There’s a torchlight procession having the effect of a “river of fire” through the Royal Mile; a family “Hoog” (from the Flemish “Big Love Day”) event featuring Scottish ceilidh dancing; and more grooving at the Grassmarket. The Street Party has everything for every taste, with four stages playing distinct tunes and catering for different personalities. The Concert in the Gardens is another big event, as is the dramatic Candlelit Concert at St Giles Cathedral. More dancing can be had at Boogie Wonderland, featuring Earth, Wind & Fire, and ABBA melodies, as well as Silent Disco, where people move to the sound coming through their headphones.

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