World bids farewell to a tough year | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 01, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 01, 2010

World bids farewell to a tough year

Indian artists Major Singh (L) and Kashmir Kaur (R) perform during New Year's Eve celebration at the central jail in Amritsar yesterday. Indians across the nation are greeting the New Year with celebrations and festivities. Photo: AFP

The first of an expected 1.5 million New Year's revelers pitched tents and opened picnic baskets in Sydney on Thursday to get one of the world's biggest parties started bidding farewell to a tough year and welcoming a new decade.
The annual fireworks extravaganza over the city's landmark harbour bridge and opera house are the centrepiece of Australia's celebrations, and generate some of the most striking images from a night of revelry across the globe.
Smaller fireworks displays and partying are planned across Australia and the South Pacific, the first region to greet each new day because of its proximity to the International Date Line.
In New Zealand, dance parties, bands and fireworks were planned in the main cities, and live entertainment in many holiday spots, including the southern tourist spot of Queenstown. In the capital, Wellington, celebrations will include a display by world unicycle games competitors.
Asia will be partying, too, though probably not as hard as most of Europe and the Americas. The world's most populous nation, 1.3-billion-strong China, uses a different calendar that will mark the new year in February. Islamic nations such as Pakistan and Afghanistan also use a different calendar.
Pyrotechnics displays were planned to illuminate Hong Kong's crowded skyline, high-glitz parties were planned in Singapore and thousands were expected to gather at Indonesia's national monument in the capital, Jakarta, for a fireworks show.
Millions of Japanese will welcome the new year by flocking to shrines to pray for good fortune in 2010.
In Tokyo, the Sensoji temple was draped with banners greeting the new year in preparation for traditional new year's day ceremonies when thousands of people come to pray for good fortune. Shoppers mobbed a city, stocking up on seafood and other items.

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