Talk about starting the New Year with a bang! Sydney in Australia already has a reputation for its spectacular New Year’s Eve celebrations, but the one to welcome 2008 was arguably the best ever.
Some tiny countries close to the International Dateline in the Pacific were the first to see in the New Year, followed closely by New Zealand. Auckland was the world’s first major city to celebrate and then it was Sydney’s turn, with more than a million people turning out for the event.
2008 is a special year for the Chinese, playing host to the Olympics, and so there was no surprise that they pulled out all of the stops.
The Chinese president gave a televised address, saying he hoped the people of all nations can live under what he called a blue sky of freedom, equality, harmony, joy, peace and development.
And some 600,000 people turned out to see in the New Year in Taiwan, despite freezing conditions. Other major centres are getting ready to welcome 2008, with fireworks the most popular way to celebrate.
Brussels will not be joining other European capitals in firing any rockets of joy, however; it has called off its traditional fireworks display due to an ongoing terrorism alert.