Nations Welcome 2016 With Dazzling Fireworks
At the stroke of midnight on December 31, cities around the world welcomed the new year with elaborate fireworks shows. Here are some of 2016's most spectacular displays. So cuddle up with a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy the shows!
Sydney, one of the first major cities in the world to ring in the new year, is famous for its memorable fireworks displays. Unlike most cities, the celebrations begin at 9:00 PM local time with an extravagant family fireworks show that is televised live nationally. This is followed up by an even more elaborate display that takes place at midnight and is broadcast live internationally.
This year, the city officials captivated the world and the 1.6 million people that had gathered at the iconic Sydney Harbor with a show that featured picturesque waterfalls cascading off the bridge and 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects created by 45 experts. The highlight of the event was the red fireworks that transformed the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge into a giant Aboriginal flag.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators braved the intermittent rain in London to witness an equally amazing show. The 11-minute display that cost about $2.8 million USD featured 400 different types of fireworks that were fired from the London Eye, three barges, and 14 pontoon boats.
The tiny city of Dubai is known to put up some of the best New Year's Eve shows. In 2014, the desert city broke the record for the world's largest fireworks display. Last year, it added another feather to its cap, with the world's largest LED-illuminated facade. While 2016's seven-minute extravaganza over the famous Burj Khalifa, the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab, and the man-made palm-shaped islands did not break any records, it was still spectacular.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Every year, millions of people from around the world make their way to Rio de Janeiro's beautiful Copacabana Beach to usher in the new year. 2016 was no exception. Over two million visitors crowded the white sands to enjoy the festivities and admire the more than 30,000 fireworks launched from 11 barges that had been anchored off the coast.
Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong residents witnessed an extravagant fireworks display launched off the iconic Victoria Harbor and the rooftops of high-rise buildings that line up the city's beautiful waterfront. In keeping with this year's theme 'Love & Joy,' it featured over 160 smiles and heart shapes as well as glittering sunshine. Various greetings in different languages lit up the facade of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, making the celebration even more special.
New York City, USA
Of course, no matter how spectacular, very few cities can compete with New York City's famous ball drop. Like every year, over a million people from across the globe made their way to the famous Times Square to witness the event firsthand. They were not disappointed. The lowering of the shimmering orb that featured 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles accompanied by the amazing fireworks was a sight like none other.
For U.S. residents that were unable to make the trek there was the option of watching the lowering of a giant chili pepper (Las Cruces, New Mexico), a musical note (Nashville, TN), a wedge of cheese (Plymouth, WI), an oversized cowboy boot (Prescott, AZ) and most bizarre of all - A massive pasty replica, a baked pastry stuffed with meat and potatoes (Escanaba, MI).
No matter what the celebration, one thing is for sure, people across the globe had a great time welcoming 2016. Did you do anything special? Be sure to let us know, by adding your comments below.
Happy New(s) Year!
Resources: cnn.com, smh.com.au, bbc.co.uk, dailymail.co.uk
Reading Comprehension (3 questions)
- Which is one of the first major cities to welcome the new year? How many fireworks displays does it have? What was the highlight of this year's show?
- What New Year's Eve records does Dubai hold?
Critical Thinking Challenge
What is your New Year's resolution? How do you plan on keeping it?
Vocabulary in Context
The 11-minute display that cost about $2.8 million USD featured 400 different types of fireworks that were fired from the London Eye, three barges, and 14 pontoon boats.
In the above sentence...