How 2020 was welcomed in different parts of the world

Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 January 2020 (11:04 IST)
People across the are celebrating the end of the decade. Germany has joined much of the world in welcoming 2020. (Pic-Twitter)
04:00 More of Canada ushered in the new year, along with many Caribbean countries, Venezuela and Bolivia and most of the rest of Brazil. The US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands also entered the 2020s, becoming the first parts of the US to do so.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is spending the holiday on the private Caribbean island of Mustique mere weeks after securing a landslide election victory for his Conservative party, according to British media reports. The UK has already celebrated what is almost certain to be its final New Year's Eve as part of the European Union before Brexit is due to happen on January 31.
 
The implications for citizens of British Overseas Territories such as those in the Caribbean — including Bermuda, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands — remain unclear as the next year of Brexit begins, not only in the UK but around the world.
 
3:45 Meanwhile, revellers in the US city of New York eagerly await midnight. Party-goers are out in force in the streets of Manhattan, waiting for the famous ball to drop in Times Square.
 
A new decade has now begun in parts of North America. Most of the small Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador (population of around 500,000) is offset from other time-zones by 30 minutes, making it the first part of the North American continent to enter the new year.
 
03:00 Much of Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay celebrated the new year. In Brazil, it is traditional to wear white clothing on New Year's Eve. The celebration is known as "Reveillon." White is said to bring good luck. In Rio de Janeiro, people gather at Copacabana beach to watch live music.
 
The Danish territory of Greenland also saw in the new year — for the second time. Greenlanders are "double-dippers" — they celebrate once when Denmark enters the new year, at 8 p. m. local time, and again when Greenland does so. Twice as much fun!
 
02:30 While it's still 2019 in certain parts of the world, the sun has already risen on a new decade for most of east Asia. In Hong Kong, which saw in the new year with large tear gas-choked clashes between protesters and the police, a further large demonstration is expected imminently. Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong tweeted a provocative image
 
Thousands of pro-democracy activists plan to gather in the coming hours on the first day of the new decade.
 
02:00 2020 has officially reached the Americas: Some territories of Brazil and the tiny British Overseas Territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Isles, near Antarctica, welcomed the new year.
 
01:00 We're set for a quiet couple of hours as time zones that mostly cover oceans celebrate the new year. Cape Verde, parts of Greenland and Portugal's Azores Islands all entered 2020.
 
In Germany, it's 2 a. m., and fireworks displays have mostly ended. With fatalities occasionally caused by personal fireworks misuse in Germany, there is now a nationwide discussion about whether they should be banned.
 
DW's own Rachel Stewart weighed in shortly after midnight with a light-hearted tweet.
 
00:00 January 1 2020 The UK, along with Portugal, Iceland and Ireland, was among the last European countries to enter 2020. In London, party-goers watched fireworks displays over the London Eye ferris wheel.
 
In Scotland, where New Year's Eve is called Hogmanay, thousands flocked to Edinburgh for the UK's largest street party. Scotland's national poet Robert Burns is the composer of internationally well-known New Year's song Auld Lang Syne, which is traditionally played at midnight in many countries.
 
Much of the rest of western Africa, including Mali, Liberia and Ghana, also celebrated the new year.
 
23:00 Frohes neues Jahr! Germany and most of Europe has entered 2020. People across Germany watched fireworks and celebrated the start of the new decade together. After confirmation that the 2010s was the hottest decade on record for Germany owing to the ongoing climate crisis and with the ruling coalition government facing new challenges, many people in Germany are entering the new year with trepidation, fear — and hope.
 
The fireworks display above the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin is one of the largest in the country. In Paris, the huge light show ended and was replaced by a firework display above the Arc de Triomphe.
 
In Brussels, amid fears over safety and environmental concerns, the traditional fireworks display was replaced by a light spectacle using drones
 
22:50 With ten minutes to go, another fun fact about New Year in Germany: Germans wish one another "einen guten Rutsch" — literally, a "good slide" into the new year.
 
You can have a look at Chancellor Angela Merkel's priorities for the new decade if you're still searching for last-minute inspiration for your resolutions.
 
22:30 In Germany, the new year is only 30 minutes away, but if you were hoping to scramble down to central Berlin for a last-minute glass of sekt you will be sorely disappointed. The famous street party at the Brandenburg Gate had its entrances closed to prevent overcrowding at 1900 UTC, according to the organizers.
 
Meanwhile, in France many celebrators had their travel plans disrupted by the ongoing transport strike. Only a limited service was available in Paris for those who wished to flock to see a light display on the Arc de Triomphe.
 
22:00 Much of eastern Europe, the Middle East and southern and eastern Africa welcomed the new year.
 
In Israel, Jewish New Year or Rosh Hashana was celebrated on September 30 2019, but many celebrations still took place across the small country. Many Israelis will be hoping for political stability in 2020 as Israel heads to the polls in March for a third time within twelve months.
 
In Greece, fireworks were let off over the Parthenon which is over 2,000 years old.
 
Meanwhile, in Muslim-majority countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, the Islamic New Year began on September 1 2019 — it is currently the year 1441. Nevertheless many of these countries celebrated the new year in style, with fireworks displays and street parties. In Beirut, anti-government protesters took to the street along with party-goers.
 
In Ukraine, while January 1 is a public holiday, many Ukrainians prefer to celebrate "Old New Year" or "Orthodox New Year" which falls on January 14 2020 by the Gregorian calendar.
 
Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia and much of Africa including Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa also welcomed the new year. In South Africa, the government banned fireworks except under very strict conditions.
 
21:00 Western Russia, including the capital Moscow, is officially in 2020. With 11 time zones, Russians began the world's longest continuous New Year's Eve with a message from President Vladimir Putin urging them to work together. The message was broadcast on television before midnight in each of the 11 time zones. 
 
Countries in the Horn of Africa and East Africa, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iraq were among other time zones jumping into the New Year. In Saudi Arabia, a rare plan to have a New Year's celebration with fireworks and a DJ near Riyadh was reportedly banned because it was unlicensed. The ultra-conservative kingdom has in recent years taken steps to implement social and economic reforms, including allowing more entertainment.
 
20:30 Iran is technically bringing in 2020, but most people in the country don't celebrate the New Year under the Gregorian calendar. Iran has its own ancient solar calendar that is the official one of the country. The Persian New Year Nowruz, literally "New Day," is usually celebrated around March 21 of the Gregorian calendar. 
 
20:00 Tourists and locals in Dubai kicked off the New Year with one of the world's top fireworks shows at the Burj Khalifa skyscraper. The New Year's Eve display at the 828-meter-tall (2,716-foot-tall) structure was just one of seven different fireworks shows across the emirate. Before the show, 14 skydivers with flares looked like meteors flying through the sky. 
 
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Oman and parts of Russia also brought in the new decade. 
 
20:00 Pakistan, Central Asian states Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and parts of Russia have entered the New Year.   
 
18:44 Pope Francis gave a New Year's Eve homily at the Vatican calling on people to "build bridges, not walls." He also urged the church and people to become close again and listen to each other. "We are called to meet others and to listen to their existence, their cry for help," the pontiff said. "In this way, fresh air is actually spreading in the city and also in the Church, the desire to go back onto the streets, to overcome the old logic of opposition and borders, to work together and to build a fairer and more fraternal city," Francis said.
 
18:30 People across India greeted the New Year, but in some areas the festive mood was dampened by protests. Despite the second-coldest weather gripping New Delhi in a century, thousands of protesters there and in other cities joined demonstrations and protest parties against a new citizenship law they say discriminates against Muslims. The past year has also seen a crackdown in Indian-controlled Kashmir after the government downgraded its semi-autonomy and imposed a strict security and communications lockdown.
 
18:00 Revellers in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are entering a new decade. 
 
17:50 Thousands of Indians angry about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new citizenship law they say discriminates against Muslims were preparing to ring in the New Year with street party protests. Protesters held readings from the constitution, listened to poetry and music, and staged candle-light marches at these gatherings. 
 
16:50 Residents of the Spanish village of Villar de Corneja celebrated New Year 12 hours early, the DPA news agency reports. Elderly villagers — most now over 80 years of age — have celebrated at midday every year since 2004 because they do not want to stay up too late. They celebrated in typical Spanish style, gathering in the village square to eat grapes with every chime of the town hall clock. 
 
16:00 Nations across Asia, including Hong Kong celebrated the start of 2020. The mood in Hong Kong was not as light as in other years, as protesters continued to flood the streets and chant pro-democracy slogans.
 
The annual fireworks display was canceled due to security concerns and replaced with a New Year's themed version of its daily light show, "A Symphony of Lights". The city has seen its most major protests this year, with ongoing demonstrations taking place since June.
 
People in the Philippines, however, started their New Year with a more jovial atmosphere. The Philippines plays host to a range of unique New Year traditions, including eating long noodles for good luck and trading round items to symbolize prosperity. Revelers often fill their pockets and drawers with round coins, and give round gifts to friends and family.  
 
15:00 Tourists and residents alike visited temples and shrines across Japan to recognize not just the end of the year, but also the first full year of the Reiwa era.
 
Former Japanese Emperor Akihito made history when he became the first Japanese emperor to abdicate the throne in 200 years. His abdication, and the subsequent accession of his son, Emperor Naruhito, marked the end of the nearly three-decade-long Heisei era. 
 
The new monarch isn't the only exciting thing for Japan in 2020; Tokyo is also set to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
 
Both North and South Korea are also celebrating their New Year. Last year, North Korea moved its time zone 30 minutes forward to match Seoul's. Northern leader Kim Jong-un is also set to make a New Year address Wednesday to share his plans in case the United States fails to meet his deadline to alter its stance on denuclearization.
 
Meanwhile, in Seoul, revelers gathered en masse for the Bosingak bell-ringing ceremony. The ceremony, which involves ringing a large bell, has brought tens of thousands of celebrants to the square since 2006. Multiple major fireworks displays also took place around the city. But it's not just the fireworks that people were waiting for. In South Korea, it's also popular to celebrate by watching the first sunrise of the year.
 
The first provinces in Indonesia, including Papua, the country's easternmost province, kicked off their start to 2020 as well. In August, Papua saw a violent wave of unrest after 43 students were arrested in Surabaya for alleged disrespect of the Indonesian flag. Mass protests and riots with thousands of participants ensued, leaving 30 people dead.
 
14:00 Russia's Sakha Republic celebrated its first of two New Years in 2020. Sakha people, or Yakuts, first celebrate with the rest of the Russian population in winter, then celebrate a second New Year, called Yhyakh, in the summer. The Yhyack festival is held on June 21, which is the start of summer in the region. During the celebration, women and children decorate trees and posts with bunches of horsehair, in addition to engaging in a traditional dance that includes singing and poetry.  
 
Otherwise known as Yakutia, the Sakha Republic is one of Russia's coldest regions, with winter temperatures sometimes dipping as low as -60 degrees Celsius.
 
Papua New Guinea, Australia's Queensland and the Federated States of Micronesia also rode into 2020 at 2 p.m. UTC.
 
13:45 Check out this photo gallery to find out what Germans are up to on New Year's Eve.
 
The first provinces in Indonesia, including Papua, the country's easternmost province, kicked off their start to 2020 as well. In August, Papua saw a violent wave of unrest after 43 students were arrested in Surabaya for alleged disrespect of the Indonesian flag. Mass protests and riots with thousands of participants ensued, leaving 30 people dead.
 
14:00 Russia's Sakha Republic celebrated its first of two New Years in 2020. Sakha people, or Yakuts, first celebrate with the rest of the Russian population in winter, then celebrate a second New Year, called Yhyakh, in the summer. The Yhyack festival is held on June 21, which is the start of summer in the region. During the celebration, women and children decorate trees and posts with bunches of horsehair, in addition to engaging in a traditional dance that includes singing and poetry.  
 
Otherwise known as Yakutia, the Sakha Republic is one of Russia's coldest regions, with winter temperatures sometimes dipping as low as -60 degrees Celsius.
 
Papua New Guinea, Australia's Queensland and the Federated States of Micronesia also rode into 2020 at 2 p.m. UTC.
 
13:45 Check out this photo gallery to find out what Germans are up to on New Year's Eve.
As party-goers celebrated in Sydney, other Australians on the eastern coast took refuge on beaches under skies turned red by the blazes. Meanwhile, New Year's celebrations remained canceled in Canberra, summoning a quieter celebration than in years past.
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