We went through all the firework displays for New Year 2021 to determine who took home the fireworks slay crown this year and you won’t believe who took home the Slay crown.
From Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Acropolis to Copacabana beach, fireworks burst in skies above eerily deserted landmarks as the world ushered in the New Year with muted celebrations and said good riddance to a pandemic-ridden 2020.
After a grinding year that has seen at least 1.7 million people die from COVID-19, fresh waves of infection have sparked renewed lockdowns and forced would-be revellers to extend their 2020 tradition of watching events from the sofa.
From Sydney to Rome, firework displays, pyre burnings and live performances will be watched online or on television – if they have not been cancelled altogether.
The eagerly awaited first lights of 2021 fell on the Pacific nations of Kiribati and Samoa from 10am GMT (6pm Singapore time), with the uninhabited Howland and Baker Islands the last to tip over into the New Year, 26 hours later.
New Zealand, which has won plaudits for its handling of COVID-19, was next in line an hour later, with large crowds gathered in Auckland to watch a fireworks display.
Although still isolated by international border closures, months of zero recorded cases in the community has let life in New Zealand return to relative normality.
In Australia’s largest city, Sydney, fireworks lit up the glittering harbour with a dazzling display at 1300 GMT, but few spectators watched in person.
Plans to allow crowds were scrapped amid a cluster of around 150 new infections that have seen travel to and from Sydney severely restricted.
Even a proposal to allow 5,000 frontline workers to replace absent tourists on the harbour foreshore as a token of thanks had to be abandoned.
“I think everybody is looking towards 2021 as a fresh beginning and a fresh start,” Karen Roberts, among the lucky few who were allowed past checkpoints around the area, told AFP at a bar nestled under the Sydney Opera House.
Some Hong Kongers, despite restrictions, ventured out to mark the start of the year, gathering on the Victoria Harbour waterfront to take selfies.
In Tokyo, where residents face the prospect of a state of emergency after infections touched new highs, people queued in face masks to offer New Year prayers.
Resounding bells rung in the new year at Tokyo’s Sensoji temple.
Much of Japan was welcoming 2021 quietly at home, alarmed after Tokyo reported a record number of daily coronavirus cases on Thursday at about 1,300.
Then it was Singapore’s turn at the stroke of midnight. And boy oh boy was it a sight for sore eyes!
While there were no fireworks display at Marina Bay this year due to public health concerns, residents saw fireworks over 11 heartland locations.
Wuhan in China, where the virus first appeared late last year, saw thousands gather to celebrate.
Elsewhere, the mood was more downbeat.
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin acknowledged in a New Year’s address that a second wave of COVID-19 was battering the nation.
“The fight against it does not stop for a minute,” he said.
Italy – where shocking images of makeshift morgues and exhausted medics awoke the world to the severity of the crisis – is on a nationwide lockdown until Jan 7 and a 10pm curfew is in place.
From France to Latvia to Brazil, police and – in some cases – military personnel are being deployed to make sure night-time curfews or bans on gathering in large numbers are enforced.
Paris and Athens both featured socially distanced gatherings, with a virtual concert and light show over Notre Dame in the French capital and fireworks over the Acropolis in Greece.
In hard-hit London, 74-year-old American singer-songwriter Patti Smith will ring in the New Year with a tribute to National Health Service workers who have died from COVID-19, projected on the screen at Piccadilly Circus and streamed on YouTube.
But due to alarm at rising infections rates, the big-screen projection was cancelled.
A few dozen revellers did arrive in Parliament Square to watch Big Ben chime 11pm – midnight in Brussels – marking the moment that Brexit finally became a reality, with Britain severing its turbulent half-century partnership with Europe.
A fireworks and laser show was held in Dubai at the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, where there has been a slew of new cases. Those watching were required to wear masks and register with identifying QR codes. Unfortunately the effort could not outshine Singapore!
On the banks of Lake Baikal in Siberia, where temperatures plummet to as low as -35 degrees Celsius, around a dozen Russians emerged invigorated after a New Year’s Eve ice dip.
The swimmers, known in Russia as “walruses,” ran several kilometres through a snowy forest in swimsuits and festive costumes before plunging into the world’s largest freshwater lake.
“It’s invigorating. It stings a little!” Andrei Bugai told AFP.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel used her New Year greeting to warn the coronavirus crisis would extend into 2021 even if vaccines bring some hope, as police clashed with revellers near the Brandenburg gate in Berlin.
In Brazil – which has already recorded more than 193,000 COVID-19 deaths, the second-largest number in the world – fearful medics await a new wave.
Rio de Janeiro blocked the usual swarms of revelers from gathering on Copacabana beach.
That did not stop revelers from lighting up the city’s iconic skyline with amateur fireworks of their own, whose booms competed with the banging pots of critics protesting against far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, the leader dubbed the “Tropical Trump”.
As the final hours of 2020 ticked away in the Americas, authorities in New York City blocked public access to Times Square, where thousands usually gather to watch a crystal ball drop at midnight.
A star-studded celebration was televised from the square with performances from the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Gloria Gaynor – but its confetti will fall onto a largely deserted pavement.
The US, the worst-hit country in the world, is nearing 20 million recorded infections and 345,000 deaths.
But President-elect Joe Biden, who will take office in January, sounded a positive note.
“I’m more optimistic about America’s chances than I’ve ever been,” he said in a video interview on ABC’s countdown program.
“America can do anything and I’m absolutely positively confident, confident we’re gonna come back and come back even stronger than we were before.” – erm we are not so sure Biden is absolutely sure about that one.
In conclusion no country came close to Singapore’s Show down! Not even Extravagant Dubai.
Singapore’s knows how to Shut down!
Singapore 2020 New Year fireworks show
Source channel new Asia