Thursday 31 December 2020
New Year’s Eve without restrictions
China is celebrating leisurely, and New Zealand celebrates out loud
Good for those who have coronavirus under control: In China and New Zealand, people can slide into the New Year without worries. It looks different in Berlin and other major cities and capitals. In many places the stages are full, but the streets are empty.
In China, the new year has begun without any major restrictions. With the Corona pandemic under control and hardly any infections, New Year’s parties could have been bigger, but many people in the People’s Republic of China took it easy: New Year’s Eve is not a particularly important holiday for China. According to the traditional lunar calendar, the new year does not begin in the Far East until February and with it the great wave of travel in which hundreds of millions flock across the country to visit their families. Only then will there be a really big celebration. However, fireworks set off in some cities at midnight Friday. This included Wuhan, where the first large outbreak of the Coronavirus occurred.
Other nations also arrived in 2021. As usual, the island nations started in Samoa and Kiribati, followed by New Zealand, Australia, Japan and South Korea, among others. Despite the pandemic, the Australian city of Sydney has insisted on celebrating massive fireworks. However, the public was not allowed to visit the port and the opera house this year. Authorities have threatened violators with fines of more than 620 euros. According to observers, people stuck with it: Sydney was like a ghost town, they say.
It looked very different in New Zealand, where thanks to a strict entry ban, no new cases of coronavirus had been recorded for weeks. Music festivals and fireworks displays can be held without the number of visitors or other restrictions. Huge crowds gathered in Auckland and other cities to admire the fireworks.
At the world’s longest fireworks display this year, there were only a handful of onlookers in reserved seats in surrounding restaurants: Dubai greeted the new year with a colorful light game. After the traditional digital countdown to the illuminated facade of the 828-meter-high Burj Khalifa in the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the horizon was lit up with hues at midnight. The entire show lasted about eight minutes. Otherwise, more than a million spectators are watching the scene on site.
Complete stages in Berlin
In Germany, too, millions of people have been preparing for the New Year in a small group this year. For the second time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there is a strict lockdown, with shops, restaurants and bars closing. This time there was a general ban on selling fireworks before New Year’s Eve. The main goal is to exempt hospitals from more patients.
For this reason, Germany’s biggest New Year’s Eve party in Berlin has been canceled. However, the digital event “Welcome Berlin 2021” will be broadcast on the ZDF channel, with performances by Jürgen Druze and Vicki Leandros, among others.
Police in the capital are trying to enforce the fireworks ban, which is in place in many places, with large units. It works overnight with around 2,900 people. Despite the circumstances, the Berlin fire brigade expects an emergency, as in previous years even the German fire union expects violence against the emergency services – due to current alcohol restrictions and fire-fighting bans. In the past few years, too, there have been frequent New Year’s Eve attacks.
Curfew in Paris
Many parties and fireworks have also been canceled in other major cities, for example in Rio, São Paulo, Amsterdam and London. There is a curfew in Paris, instead, there is an online concert by Jean-Michel Jarre as an Avatar in the French capital in the virtual background of Notre Dame Cathedral and a recorded live broadcast with DJ David Guetta in front of the Louvre.
In New York, Times Square’s “ball ball”, a bright and shining crystal ball on a pole, is said to occur in front of a few people rather than the usual thousands. In Moscow, despite the curfew with Corona, there should be a large display of fireworks in the Kremlin from 11 pm local time.
Until the whole world slips into the new year, it will take until 1 pm German time. The last of them are the uninhabited islands of Baker Island and Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean.