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December 2014

Where to Find the Most Spectacular New Year’s Eve Celebrations

From Times Square to Dubai - these are the most spectacular NYE celebrations around the world

It’s the party of the year -- New Year’s Eve -- especially since it’s the party that rings in the year. Many believe that how one celebrates the first night sets a precedent for the outlook of one’s coming year. It’s no surprise then that NYE should call for the biggest of spectacles around the world, each seemingly in competition to outdo the other. From the iconic celebration in Times Square to the lavish pyrotechnics in Dubai, we’ll take a look at some of the most spectacular NYE celebrations around the world.

New York City, USA

No list of NYE celebrations is complete without a mention of the festivities in Times Square, located in the heart of Manhattan. Revelers come from around the world to fill one of the most internationally renowned streets. As was done in decades past, a spectacular crystal ball (fun fact: it weighs 5443 kg) descends during the countdown to mark the arrival of the new year alongside fireworks set from Liberty Island. The celebration is also televised live across the United States.

London, England

In 2013, 250,000 people gathered along the Thames in London near Big Ben and the London Eye for a fireworks extravaganza that cost approximately £200,000. The 11-minute light show included the launching of about 12,500 fireworks. The event is so popular that tickets for the event this year have sold out as early as December 15. Everyone else will just have to see it from afar.

Berlin, Germany

"Party Mile" is a stretch of bars and eateries between the Brandenburg Gate and Victory Column. The area becomes an entertainment strada as party tents, stages, laser shows, and more pop up to entertain revelers. Dancing is common, and the party doesn't end right after midnight; fun runs are held in the city the next day, though where all the energy comes from is anyone's guess.

Sydney, Australia

If you’ve ever turned on the television after any New Year’s Eve night, you’ve no doubt seen footage of fireworks exploding over the Sydney Opera House. In 2013, seven tons of fireworks were sent up over Sydney Harbour. set to the live performance of Kylie Minogue. In 2014, air displays, a fire tug water show, a pyrotechnic spectacle set over Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the Harbour of Light Parade are just some of the festivities that precede the epic midnight light show.

Hong Kong, China

Visitors of Hong Kong on any given day of the year can attest that Victoria Harbour is normally one of the greatest light shows on earth. But when NYE night comes, its normal level of luminescence is pushed even higher. At the massive Times Square shopping center, a ball drop reminiscent of New York's takes place. The subsequent light show in Victoria Harbour concludes with a dragon that stretches across the sky.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Over three million visitors filled Copacabana Beach in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro last year to catch a stream of fireworks set down the famous beachfront. It's the country's most popular event after Carnival. Musicians performing everything from hard rock to traditional Brazilian music set the soundtrack for a celebration beginning at 8 pm. Fireworks lasting from 15-20 minutes are set from barges floating offshore. Wide-eyed participants watch in awe from both the sandy beaches as well as from the decks of massive cruise ships.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Perhaps the world's most extravagant NYE fireworks spectacle takes place in Dubai. No stranger to pushing the limits of decadence, the city that hosts the world's tallest building and the largest man-made island also features a Guinness World Records-worthy fireworks display. From the aforementioned Burj Khalifa to beyond the waterfront, lights and fireworks can be seen from across the city. Half a million visitors partake in the record-setting 500,000 fireworks set off from 400 locations across the city. And the cost? It’s estimated to be about €4.9 million.

How is NYE celebrated in your city? Let us know on Facebook and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles on culture from around the world!