Tuesday, January 15, 2013
New Year's Celebrations Around The World ( Asia)
In China, although the celebrations of the Lunar New Year are not until a few weeks after the Gregorian New Year, celebrations of the Gregorian New Year are held in some areas, particularly in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen. Celebrations with fireworks and rock concerts have taken place in Beijing's Solana Blue Harbor Shopping Park, while cultural shows and other events are held in the city's Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace.
In Hong Kong, people usually gather in Central, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui, to celebrate and to look at the night lights along the harbor. The Times Square shopping mall also holds their own celebration of the ball drop held at Times Square in New York City. District-wide celebrations also occur in Tsuen Wan, Sha Tin, Mong Kok, and Kwun Tong.
Beginning in 2008, a 60-second numerical countdown to New Year's, consisting of LED lights and pyrotechnic display effects, on the facade of Two International Finance Centre was launched, followed by a firework display and an exhibition of the Symphony of Lights. For the arrival of 2013, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre initiated a 60-second countdown, while the fireworks display and A Symphony of Lights show were extended to 8 minutes.
In Central Asia, New Year's Eve celebrations were inherited from Soviet traditions; thus they are similar to those of Russia.
In India, most celebrations take place in the major metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Guwahati and since 2009-10, in Chandigarh. In Hyderabad, fireworks, street racings and brawls are very common. Goa is one of the most visited spot during new year celebration both by Indian and foreign tourists. Events such as live concerts and dances by Bollywood stars are organised and attended mostly by youngsters. Large crowds also gather at popular spots along the coastline such as the Gateway of India, Girgaum Chowpatty, Bandra Bandstand, Juhu Beach etc. More often people like to celebrate new year eve with family. Hotels and resorts are all decked up in anticipation of the tourist influx and feverish competition ensures to entice the vacationers with exciting New Year offers. As old tradition at many places across the country several special Yagya and Puja are organized for the wish of fruitful year by Hindu people. The events by Bollywood stars are the main focal attention in India. The entertainment and media channels have special shows promoting the Bollywood film industry, and these have huge crowd attendances due the fact that popular, famous Bollywood stars are present. The shows end with firework displays, with many stars holding displays in their houses for the visiting masses.
Indonesians celebrate New Year's Eve with revelry in urban areas. Hotels, discos and major restaurants in Indonesia offer special meals, entertainment and dancing. People celebrate with their families, siblings, and friends. Trumpets and fireworks are the most important elements of New Year's Eve for Indonesians. However, the New Year is generally not as big a celebration as Eid ul-Fitr.
New Year's Eve celebrations in Jakarta often include a music show, New Year's countdown, and fireworks party. The events are often held at the Monumen Nasional, waterfront resort of Ancol Dreamland, and the recreational area Taman Mini Indonesia Indah. Bali is another popular destination for New Year's Eve, with many locals and tourists gathering at the beach at Kuta.
New Year's Eve (Sylvester) in Israel, is celebrated by parties, social get togethers, concerts, and dining out in major cities such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Immigrants from the former USSR celebrate Novyy God, the Russian version of the holiday.
In Japan, New Year's Eve is used to prepare for and welcome Toshigami (年神), the New Year's god. People clean their home and prepare Kadomatsu or Shimenawa to welcome the god before New Year's Eve. Buddhist temples ring their bells 108 times at midnight in the tradition Joya no Kane (除夜の鐘). The rings represent the 108 elements of bonō (煩悩), mental states that lead people to take unwholesome actions.
A popular TV show on New Year's Eve in Japan is Kōhaku Uta Gassen, which airs on NHK. Kōhaku Uta Gassen is a 62-year-old tradition involving a singing contest between male and female teams of celebrity singers. The Japan Record Awards is an award special that has aired on New Year's Eve since its debut in 1959. In this awards special, artists from around the country compete in various categories to win the biggest prize, the Japan Record Award. So far, there are 54 specials and the most recent winner is AKB48 with their song "Manatsu no Sounds Good!".
In most cities and urban areas across Japan, New Year's Eve celebrations are usually accompanied by concerts, countdowns, fireworks, and other events. In Tokyo, the two most crowded celebrations are held in the Shibuya crossing in Shibuya and the Zojoji Temple in Minato. People gather around the Zojoji Temple to release helium balloons up in the sky containing New Year's wishes and watch the lighting of Tokyo Tower with a year number displayed on the observatory at the stroke of midnight.
There are two New Years celebrated in both North Korea and South Korea, which are Lunar News Year and Solar New Years. The Solar New Years are always celebrated on the first day of January while Lunar New Year varies. Sometimes there are some traits that both North and South Korea celebrate, while some traits are celebrated differently or only on one side.
In both Koreas, they call New Years Day 설날 (Seoll-Nal). They eat a special soup called 떡국 (Tteok-Guk) which is a hot soup with thin, flat rice cakes and most of the times, eggs are inserted. The Koreans believe that you get to earn one age if you eat the soup on New Years Day. They say if you don't eat the soup on New Years Day, then you will lose luck.
In Lebanon, people celebrate New Year's Eve with a dinner attended by family and friends. The dinner features traditional dishes such as tabouli, hummus, kibbi, and other Lebanese foods. These celebrations could also take place in restaurants and clubs. Game shows are also organized where people can try to win money. The countdown to New Year's is broadcast through the leading TV channel and the celebrations usually continue until sunrise. Fireworks are lit throughout the night.
Ambang Tahun Baru, a celebration sponsored by the government is held at Merdeka Square, the field opposite the Sultan Abdul Samad Building in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. The event is broadcast live on government as well as private TV stations. In addition, private organizations also hold New Year's countdown parties at major shopping malls and landmarks. One significant privately run celebration is the fireworks display at the Petronas Towers.
Mongolians began celebrating the Gregorian New Year in the Socialist period, with influence from the former Soviet Union. As a modern tradition, New Year's Eve as well as New Year's Day are public holidays, and are the one of the biggest holidays of the year.
New Year's Eve is usually celebrated in Pakistan with joy. In Karachi, people visit the beaches at night and use low intensity fireworks to enjoy the new year. Lahore known for its open-hearted people celebrates the new year eve with zeal and fervor. Youth of Islamabad enjoy the eve with bike-riding and visiting restaurants in posh areas.
However, in some cities of the country, it is far more common to engage in what is known as 'aerial firing' to express one's joy. Every year, many are killed due to this misguided expression of joy.
At the eve of Gregorian Calendar's last day, many Pakistani youngsters enjoy the type of celebrations held world over, however, due to low literacy rate and no such precedence of such kind of celebrations culturally majority is unaware of what is happening world over. Due to recent development in electronic media for the last decade, Pakistani youth is more inclined towards adopting trends the world over. Some secular analysts aware of the social activities of the world opine that low literacy rate and poor economy is a hurdle in these celebrations of new year eve. It is estimated that the elite class and educated participate in long night activities on the eve of new year in urban and cosmopolitan cities like Karachi, Lahore and the capital Islamabad. Here they celebrate with the annual tradition of air rifle shooting from roofs commencing the start of the new year.
In the Philippines, New Year's Eve (Bisperas ng Bagong Taon) is a non-working holiday. Filipinos usually celebrate New Year's Eve in the company of family and close friends. Traditionally, most households host or attend a Media Noche (dinner party). Typical dishes include pancit and hamon. Lechon (roasted pig), is usually prepared and set as the centerpiece of the dinner table. Barbecued food is also an integral part of the menu.
Most Filipinos follow a set of traditions that are typically observed during New Year's Eve. Included among these traditions is the customary habit of wearing clothes with circular patterns, such as polka dots. This signifies the belief that circles attract money and fortune. Or they may wear other colorful clothing to show enthusiasm for the coming year. Throwing coins at the stroke of midnight is said to increase wealth in the upcoming year. Traditions also include the serving of circular shaped fruits, shaking of coins inside a metal can while walking around the house, and jumping up high, which is believed to cause an increase in physical height. People also make loud noises by blowing on cardboard or plastic horns, called torotot, banging on pots and pans, booming sound system, or by igniting firecrackers and fireworks at the stroke of midnight, in the belief that it scares away malevolent spirits and forces.
Urban areas usually host many New Year's Eve parties and countdown celebrations hosted by the private sector with the help of the local government. These parties usually display their own fireworks and are often very well attended. Some of the locations that mainly focused on the celebration are the Manila Bay at Roxas Boulevard or Luneta Park in Manila, the intersection of Ayala and Makati Avenues at the Makati Central Business District (CBD) in Makati City, Resorts World Manila and SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, Quezon Memorial Circle in Diliman and Eastwood City in Libis, Quezon City, and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City.
The biggest New Year's Eve celebration in Singapore takes place in the Marina Bay area. It is attended by 250,000 or more people. The party spans around the bay area starting from the Marina Bay floating Stadium to the Esplanade promenade, the Esplanade Bridge, Benjamin Sheares Bridge, Merlion Park, and the Padang at City Hall facing the Marina Bay. The celebrations are also visible from nearby hotels such as The Fullerton Hotel, Marina Mandarin, The Ritz-Carlton Millenia, Marina Bay Sands, offices located at Raffles Place, Marina Bay Financial Centre, Residential Apartments at The Sail @ Marina Bay, and from The Singapore Flyer. On the waterfront of Marina Bay, 20,000 inflatable "wishing spheres" carrying 500,000 wishes written by Singaporeans form a visual arts display filled with brilliant colors beamed from the spotlights erected along the Esplanade promenade open area. Audiences are also entertained by a host of variety shows and concerts staged at the Marina Bay floating platform stage, featuring local and overseas artists. The shows are viewable by all at the bay and telecast live on various television channels in Republic of Singapore.
At one minute to midnight, the concert emcees initiate the final countdown together with the audience. When midnight arrives, fireworks are launched from the waters at Marina Bay, lighting up the whole bay against the backdrop of the Singapore skyline.
There are also other countdown parties across Singapore. These include VivoCity and several areas (likewise Tampines).
In Taiwan, the end of the year is celebrated with concerts held in cities including Taoyuan, Taichung, Taipei, and Kaoshiung. Recently, the nation has used technology to communicate among the cities via video, enabling the cities to count down together. The most crowded city is the capital, Taipei, where most people gather by Taipei 101 and the shopping centers in the Xinyi District. People gather around the streets of Taipei 101 as they count down. With each number they count, one of the layers of Taipei 101 (eight floors per layer) lights up until midnight, when the fireworks shoot out from the top of each layer (eight layers excluding a layer under the antenna) in different directions.
Aside from the traditional Thai New Year called Songkran (which falls on April 13 or April 14), people in Thailand also celebrate the arrival of the Gregorian New Year on January 1 with their families, relatives, and friends. They usually celebrate it by a family dinner and following different customs. In most cities and urban areas across the country, celebrations of the New Year is accompanied by countdowns, fireworks, and concerts, notably, the CentralWorld Square at CentralWorld in downtown Bangkok, and the Pattaya Beach in Pattaya, while public places such as hotels, pubs, restaurants and nightclubs, also host New Year's Eve parties by offering food, entertainment and music to the people, and they usually stay open until the early next morning.
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