Usually tens of thousands gather in the streets of Seoul, but this year there is only one record left for them: the parties for the chiming ceremony are canceled. An overview of the events at the turn of the year.
A New Year’s Eve without fireworks and firecrackers – and above all without injuries, so as not to burden the health system even more in the corona pandemic. That is the government’s plan. The sale of firecrackers is therefore prohibited this year, and in many places it is also prohibited to set off fireworks. However, not all of them adhere to this – the reports around the turn of the year at a glance.
Traditional ceremony in Seoul only on TV this year
This time, the citizens of Seoul had to forego the usual street parties at the turn of the year due to the pandemic. The traditional chiming ceremony that the South Korean capital normally uses to ring in the New Year was recorded without an audience and broadcast on television and social media. According to the city council, this ceremony has been held every year since 1953 – the end of the three-year Korean War.
During the ritual, a large bronze bell in the Bosin Pavilion (Bosingak) in the center of the metropolis is struck exactly 33 times from midnight. The number 33 symbolizes luck in Korea. This year’s chime record included New Year wishes from celebrities and ordinary citizens.
In recent years, tens of thousands have gathered on the streets of the city center on New Year’s Eve to hear open-air concerts and watch the chimes live.
New Year’s fireworks in Sydney: hefty penalties threaten
The world-famous New Year’s Eve fireworks in the harbor of the Australian metropolis Sydney has started, and the New Year began at 2 p.m. CET. Before that, the authorities wanted to deter onlookers with hefty fines. Anyone who tries to overcome the barriers to the port area risks a fine of 1,000 Australian dollars (about 626 euros), it said on Thursday. Because of the corona pandemic, the government of the state of New South Wales had decided that this year no spectators were allowed to be in the port area at the famous Harbor Bridge.
The fireworks will be broadcast on television, but will be smaller and, with a duration of seven minutes, significantly shorter. Typically, the Sydney Harbor spectacle draws more than a million people each year.
New Zealanders celebrate the New Year – without a gap
New Zealand has welcomed the New Year with a number of major music festivals and fireworks shows. In contrast to many other countries, the island state in the South Pacific has not recorded any local corona cases for more than a month. Therefore, the events could take place without restrictions on the number of visitors or other corona-related restrictions.
In the country’s largest city, Auckland, there should be a light show around Harbor Bridge and Sky Tower, followed by a five-minute fireworks display at midnight. One of the biggest New Year’s Eve events is the three-day music festival Rhythm and Vines, which takes place near the city of Gisborne in the northeast of the North Island.
Thanks to early and strict measures, New Zealand is considered successful in the fight against the coronavirus. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 2162 cases have been confirmed in the island state, 25 people have died from the Sars-CoV-2 pathogen. The latest local corona case was recorded in mid-November.
The first countries welcome the new year 2021
In the easternmost part of the world, 2021 has already begun: The residents of the South Sea islands of Samoa and Kiribati were the first to greet the New Year at 11 a.m. In both countries, the New Year’s mood is rather subdued due to the corona pandemic. Although there are said to have not yet been any corona infections in Kiribati and the first case was only reported in Samoa in mid-November, public fireworks were canceled. Foreign tourists are currently not allowed to visit the islands in the South Pacific.
Both countries are also concerned about the new year due to global climate change. Storms have caused flooding in Samoa’s capital, Apia. The 3,000 islands that make up Kiribati are struggling with flooding due to rising water levels in the Pacific.
Melbourne celebrates the New Year with a street party
Because of the corona pandemic, there will be no fireworks on New Year’s Eve in Melbourne this year. The Australian metropolis has therefore considered an alternative: a street party on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is to be celebrated in accordance with the Corona rules. Open-air dining is allowed again – so restaurateurs should be able to offer their dishes in eleven different locations in the city. This is reported by the Australian TV station 9News.
“Although there will be no fireworks, we expect a city full of people partying,” said Mayor Sally Capp the broadcaster. Usually hundreds of thousands come to the metropolis every year to celebrate the New Year. Due to the pandemic, significantly fewer tourists are expected this year.
Since the number of corona cases fell sharply after a strict lockdown, many restrictions in Melbourne and the state were lifted again. After there were a few new cases recently, it is again mandatory to wear a mask in buildings from early New Year’s Eve. The borders with the other states were also closed again and the contact restrictions tightened.
New Year greetings from space
The two Russian cosmonauts on the International Space Station ISS wished their fellow human beings on earth a Happy New Year by sending a video message. The year 2020 was a test for the planet, said Sergei Ryschkow in the video that the Russian space agency Roskosmos published on Thursday night. But it has also been proven “that every pandemic is powerless when humanity unites in the fight for what is most important to us: life”.
His colleague Sergej Kud-Swertschkow reminded that it was already the 20th time that space travelers on the ISS experience a New Year.
There are currently seven spacemen on the outpost of humanity. Because the ISS circled the earth 16 times on New Year’s Eve this year, the crew can start the New Year 16 times. The ISS orbits the planet every hour and a half.
Man injured himself life-threateningly while making firecrackers
Accident while making firecrackers in Schleswig-Holstein: A young man was seriously injured in Eckernförde. The winter garden, in which he handled the chemicals on Tuesday, was destroyed and the parents’ house was significantly damaged, the police said. The 19-year-old suffered severe burns. He was reportedly taken to a special clinic in Lübeck. According to a police spokesman, life was in danger.
Wehrführer Meint Behrmann from the Eckernförde volunteer fire brigade said the fire had already been out when the comrades arrived. There must have been a jet of flame, but the fire probably extinguished itself due to the strong pressure wave. The house was damaged in the explosion in the rear area to the garden, but is still habitable. Neighboring houses were reportedly not affected.
Firecracker detonates on balcony and breaks through house wall
A firecracker thrown onto a balcony by strangers broke through a house wall in Krefeld. The 22-year-old resident stood outside shortly before, the police said on Tuesday. When the firecracker flew onto her balcony, she was able to close the door quickly. The firecracker detonated and hit the living room wall. Nobody was injured in the incident on Monday evening.
According to the police, the woman had previously observed two men on the street who were exchanging something with each other. Shortly afterwards the firecracker flew onto her balcony. The two men went on and set off more firecrackers. The police were looking for witnesses.
North Rhine-Westphalia: cigarette machine blown up with firecrackers
Two perpetrators blew up a cigarette machine in Bocholt, Münsterland, with a firecracker. According to the police on Tuesday, it was initially unclear whether the unknowns made booty. The officials put the damage from the explosion at around 1,000 euros. Witnesses observed the perpetrators late Monday evening. The criminal police are investigating.