Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

From Wikipedia:
"New Year's Eve"

Canada:  New Year traditions and celebrations in Canada vary regionally. New Year's Eve (also called New Year's Eve Day or Veille du Jour de l'An in French) is generally a social holiday. In many cities there are large celebrations which may feature concerts, late-night partying, sporting events, and fireworks, with free public transit service during peak party times in most major cities. In some areas, such as in rural Quebec, people ice fish and drink alcoholic beverages with their friends until the early hours of January 1.

Mexico:  Mexicans celebrate New Year's Eve, (Spanish: Vispera de Año Nuevo) by eating a grape with each of the twelve chimes of a clock's bell during the midnight countdown, while making a wish with each one.

United States:  New Year's Eve is celebrated with formal parties and family-oriented activities. One of the most prominent New Year's celebrations in the country is the "ball drop" held in New York City's Times Square. Inspired by the time balls that were formally used as a time signal, at 11:59 p.m. ET, a 11,875-pound (5,386 kg), 12-foot (3.7 m) diameter Waterford crystal ball located on the roof of One Times Square is lowered down a pole that is 77 feet high, reaching the roof of the building at exactly midnight to signal the start of the New Year. The Ball Drop has been held since 1907, and in recent years has averaged around a million spectators yearly. The popularity of the spectacle also inspired similar "drop" events throughout the country, sometimes lowering objects representing the region (such as Atlanta's "Peach Drop", representing Georgia's identity as the "Peach State")Alongside these, some American cities and towns also hold First Night events; which aim to provide a family-oriented celebration centered around local arts and culture. Television also plays a major role in New Year's Eve celebrations; several U.S. networks broadcast specials focusing on festivities from Times Square. Beginning on the radio in 1928, and on CBS from 1956 to 1976, Guy Lombardo and his band, The Royal Canadians, presented an annual New Year's Eve special from the ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue in New York City. The broadcasts were also well-known for the Royal Canadians' signature performance of "Auld Lang Syne" at midnight, which helped popularize the song as a New Year's standard. Following the death of Lombardo in 1977, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve (which premiered in 1972 on NBC before moving to ABC in 1974, where it has aired ever since) quickly became the most iconic and most-watched New Year's Eve special in the country. Including its special coverage of the year 2000, Dick Clark would host New Year's Eve coverage on ABC for 33 straight years. The effects of a stroke prevented Clark from appearing on the 2005 edition at all, while a speech impediment caused by the stroke prevented Clark from serving as the main host in the years following. Despite this shortfall, Clark continued to make limited appearances on New Year's Rockin' Eve until his death in April 2012, and had since ceded hosting duties to media personality and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest. New Year's Eve is traditionally the busiest day of the year at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California, where the parks stay open late and the usual nightly fireworks are supplemented by an additional New Year's Eve-specific show at midnight.

Puerto Rico:  In Puerto Rico, New Year's Eve is celebrated with friends and family. The Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan is the main attraction for Puerto Ricans during the celebration. It has Latin music, fireworks at midnight along with the signature song "Auld Lang Syne" in Spanish, and great recipes.

Religious observances:  In the Roman Catholic Church, January 1 is a Holy Day of Obligation honoring Mary, Mother of Jesus. All faithful Catholics must attend Mass on January 1. However a vigil Mass may be held on the evening before a Holy Day; thus it has become customary to celebrate Mass on the evening of New Year's Eve. (New Year's Eve is a feast day honoring Pope Sylvester I in the Roman Catholic calendar, but it is not widely recognized in the United States.)
Austria:   In Austria, New Year's Eve is usually celebrated with friends and family. At exactly midnight, all radio and television programmes operated by ORF broadcast the sound of the Pummerin, the bell of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, followed by the Donauwalzer ("The Blue Danube") by Johann Strauss II. Many people dance to this at parties or in the street. Large crowds gather in the streets of Vienna, where the municipal government organises a series of stages where bands and orchestras play. Fireworks are set off by both municipal governments and individuals.

Belgium:   In Belgium, New Year's Eve (Sint Sylvester Vooravond ("Saint Sylvester's Eve") or Oudjaar ("old year")) is celebrated with family parties, called réveillons in the French speaking areas. On television, a stand-up comedian reviews the past year after which a musical or variety show signals midnight, when everyone kisses, exchanges good luck greetings, and toasts the New Year and absent relatives and friends with champagne. Many people light fireworks or go into the street to watch them. On January 1 (Nieuwjaarsdag in Dutch) children read their "New Year's letter" and give holiday greeting cards of decorated paper featuring golden cherubs and angels, colored roses and ribbon-tied garlands to parents and godparents, on decorated paper.

Bosnia:       New Year is widely celebrated in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Streets are decorated and for New Year's Eve there is a fireworks show and concerts in all the larger cities. Children receive gifts from adults who are dressed as Djed Mraz. Restaurants, clubs, cafes and hotels are usually full of guests and they organize New Year's Eve parties. In Sarajevo, people gather in the Square of children of Sarajevo where a local rock band entertain them.

Czech Republic:      In the Czech Republic New Year's Eve (Silvestr) is the noisiest day of the year. People generally gather with friends at parties, in pubs, clubs, in the streets, or city squares to eat, drink, and celebrate. Fireworks are a popular tradition; in large cities such as Prague, the fireworks start before noon and steadily increase until midnight. In the first minutes after midnight, people toast with champagne, wish each other a happy new year and go outside for the fireworks. All major TV stations air entertainment shows before and after the midnight countdown, which is followed by the national anthem. The President gives his New Year speech in the morning.

 Denmark: New Year fireworks over Copenhagen People in Denmark may go to parties or entertain guests at home. There is a special evening meal, with concludes with Kransekage, a special desert, along with champagne. Other traditional dishes are boiled cod, stewed kale and cured saddle of pork. Two significant traditional events are broadcast on television and radio on December 31: the monarch's New Year message from Amalienborg Palace at 6pm and the Town Hall Clock in Copenhagen striking midnight. Thousands of people gather together in Rådhuspladsen (the Town Hall Square) and cheer. The Royal Guard parade in their red gala uniforms. The climax of the celebration is fireworks launched as the Town Hall Tower bells chime on the stroke of midnight.

United Kingdom  Thousands of people gather in central London for New Year celebrations, including fireworks at the London Eye at midnight The United Kingdom's celebrations are noticeably divided among the three nations that compose it: England, Scotland and Wales. In England, clocks symbolize the transition that occurs at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. The celebration in London focuses on Big Ben, the bell and by association, the clock housed in the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster. The celebrations are televised from London by the BBC in the English regions, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Parties are held across the country, in pubs, clubs, and private houses. At the stroke of midnight, people join hands in a ring and sing Auld Lang Syne.
Estonia: To celebrate New Year's Eve in Estonia, people decorate villages, visit friends and prepare lavish meals. Some believe that people should eat seven, nine, or twelve times on New Year's Eve. These are lucky numbers in Estonia; it is believed that for each meal consumed, the person gains the strength of that many men the following year. Meals should not be completely finished—some food should be left for ancestors and spirits who visit the house on New Year's Eve. Traditional New Year food includes pork with sauerkraut or Estonian sauerkraut (mulgikapsad), baked potatoes and swedes with hog's head, and white and blood sausage. Gingerbread and marzipan are very popular for dessert. Traditional New Year drinks include beer and mead, but mulled wine and champagne have become modern favourites.

Finland:   In Finland, New Year's Eve is usually celebrated with family or friends. Late supper is served, often featuring wieners, Janssonin kiusaus, and potato salad. Some municipalities organize fireworks at midnight. Consumer fireworks are also very popular. A Finnish tradition is molybdomancy - to tell the fortunes of the New Year by melting "tin" (actually lead) in a tiny pan on the stove and throwing it quickly in a bucket of cold water. The resulting blob of metal is analyzed, for example by interpreting shadows it casts by candlelight. These predictions are however never taken seriously.The Finnish Broadcasting Company broadcasts the reception of the New Year at Helsinki Senate Square. Countdown to New Year is with the Helsinki Cathedral clock. In the afternoon programme, the German comedy sketch Dinner for One is shown every year. On the radio, just before midnight, the poem Hymyilevä Apollo (Smiling Apollo) by Eino Leino is read.

France:     In France, New Year's Eve (la Saint-Sylvestre) is usually celebrated with a feast, le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre (Cap d'Any in Northern Catalonia). This feast customarily includes special dishes including foie gras, seafood such as oysters, and champagne. The celebration can be a simple, intimate dinner with friends and family or, une soirée dansante, a much fancier ball. On New Year's Day (le Jour de l'An) friends and family exchange New Year's resolutions, kisses, and wishes. Some people eat ice cream.
Germany:     In Germany, parties are common on New Year's Eve (Silvester). Fireworks are very popular, both with individuals and large municipal displays. Every year Berlin hosts one of the largest New Year's Eve celebrations in all of Europe, attended by over a million people. The focal point is the Brandenburg Gate, where midnight fireworks are centered. Germans toast the New Year with a glass of Sekt (German sparkling wine) or champagne. Since 1972, each New Year's Eve, several German television stations broadcast a short comedy play in English (recorded by West German television in 1963) entitled Dinner for One. A line from the comedy sketch, "the same procedure as every year", has become a catch phrase in Germany.

 Hungary:    New Year's Eve (Szilveszter) in Hungary is celebrated with home parties and street parties, including a gathering in downtown Budapest. Fireworks and firecrackers are popular. Champagne, wine and traditional Hungarian New Year dishes—frankfurter sausages with horseradish, lentil soup, fish, and roast pig—are consumed. In past centuries, some Hungarians believed that animals were able to speak on New Year's Eve, and that onion skins sprinkled with salt could indicate a rainy month.
Iceland: New Year fireworks over Reykjavík. Fireworks are very popular in Iceland, particularly on New Year's Eve. Bonfires are also very common, often accompanied by shows, musical events and food tables. Áramótaskaupið ("The New Year's comedy") is an annual Icelandic television comedy special, that is an important part of the New Year for most. It focuses satirically on the past year, and shows little mercy for its victims, especially politicians, artists, prominent business people and activists. Neighbours then meet at their nearest large bonfire, while watching the midnight fireworks.

Ireland:    New Year's Eve (Oíche Chinn Bliana, Oíche na Coda Móire, or Oíche Chaille) celebrations in major cities are modest, with most people favouring small parties in the home for family and friends. Pubs and clubs across the country hold events on New Year's Eve, particularly in larger cities.

Italy:   In Italy, New Year's Eve (Vigilia di Capodanno or Notte di San Silvestro) is celebrated by the observation of traditional rituals, such as wearing red underwear.  Dinner is traditionally eaten with parents and friends. It often includes zampone or cotechino (a meal made with pig's trotters or entrails), and lentils. At 8:30 pm, the President reads a television message of greetings to Italians. At midnight, fireworks are displayed all across the country. A lentil stew is eaten when bell tolls midnight, one spoonful per bell. This is supposed to bring good fortune; the round lentils represent coins.
Macedonia:   New Year's Eve is celebrated across Macedonia. New Year's Day is celebrated by day-long fireworks shows. The day is celebrated together with family or friends at home or in restaurants, clubs, cafés and hotels. During the day-time celebration children get gifts. Evening celebrations include food, music, and dancing to both traditional Macedonian folk music, and modern music. New Year's Eve is celebrated on December 31 and also on January 14 according to the Macedonian Orthodox (Julian) Calendar.

Malta:   Malta organized its first New Year's street party in 2009 in Floriana. The event was not highly advertised and proved controversial, due to the closing of an arterial street for the day. In 2010 there were the first national celebrations in St. George's Square, Valletta.  Although amateur fireworks are very popular in Malta, they are almost totally absent on New Year's Eve.

Montenegro:    In Montenegro, New Year's Eve celebrations are held in all large cities, usually accompanied by fireworks. It is usually celebrated with family or friends, at home or outside. Restaurants, clubs, cafés and hotels organize celebrations with food and music.

Netherlands:      New Year's Eve (Oud en Nieuw or Oudejaarsavond) in the Netherlands is usually celebrated as a cosy evening with family or friends. Traditional snack foods are oliebollen (oil dumplings) and appelbeignets  (apple slice fritters). On television, the main feature is the oudejaarsconference, a performance by one of the major Dutch cabaretiers (comparable to stand-up comedy, but more serious, generally including a satirical review of the year's politics). At midnight, Glühwein (bishops wine) or Champagne is drunk. Many people light their own fireworks. Towns do not organize a central fireworks display, except for Rotterdam where the national fireworks display can be seen near the Erasmus Bridge. Public transport shuts down completely (the only scheduled time during the year) between approximately 8pm and 1am. On television a clock is broadcast several minutes before midnight.

Poland:  in Poland New Year's Eve (Sylwester) celebrations include both indoor and outdoor festivities. A large open-air concert is held in the Main Square in Krakow. 150,000 to 200,000 revelers celebrate the New Year with live music and a fireworks display over St. Mary's Basilica. Similar festivities are held in other cities around Poland. For those who do not wish to spend the New Year in the city, the mountains are a popular destination. Zakopane, located in the Carpathian Mountains, is the most popular Polish mountain resort in winter.
Romania:  Traditional celebrations of New Year's Eve (Revelion) are the norm in Romania. Romanians follow centuries-old customs, rituals, and conventions. Children sing "Pluguşorul" and "Sorcova", traditional carols that wish goodwill, happiness and success.

Russia:    Most Russians celebrate New Year's Eve with their families and close friends. The origin of this holiday in Russia derives from Christmas. Christmas was also a major holiday in Russia until it was banned, with all other religious holidays, by the (Soviet) Communist Party. To compensate for the absence of Christmas, New Year's was celebrated as much as Christmas was, but without the religious aspect of the holiday. Even after the fall of the Soviet Union, New Year's is celebrated in Russia and has become a Russian tradition. There is an old superstition that if the first visitor (especially an unexpected one) on January 1 is a man, the year will be good. People also try to start the new year without debts The Kremlin Clock chimes and the singing of the Russian national anthem bring in the New Year. .Celebration usually starts one or two hours before midnight. A common tradition is to "say farewell to the old year" by remembering the most important events of the last twelve months. At five minutes to twelve most people watch the president's speech on TV or watch popular New Year TV shows. There is a tradition to listen to the Kremlin clock bell ringing twelve times on the radio or on TV. During these last twelve seconds of the year people keep silence and make their secret wishes for the next year. After the clock strikes, they drink champagne and have rich dinner, watching TV concerts and having fun. Some people light fireworks outside and visit their friends and neighbors. As December 30 and 31 are working days, a lot of people also have small parties at work, though December 31 is mostly spent at home or with friends.

 Serbia:        New Year's Eve in Serbia is traditionally celebrated extensively. Indoors, families celebrate New Year's Eve with an abundance of food. 'Serbs decorate trees, 'Novogodišnja jelka, at New Year's, rather than at Christmas. Near, or after midnight, Santa Claus (Deda Mraz) visits houses and leaves presents under the tree, to be unpacked then or, if the family is asleep, to be discovered in the morning. Serbian New Year's celebrations are most known for the outdoors festivities in Belgrade, and several other major cities such as Novi Sad and Niš. As of mid-December, cities are extensively decorated and lit.

Spain:    Spanish New Year's Eve (Nochevieja or Fin de Año) celebrations usually begin with a family dinner, traditionally including shrimp or prawns, and lamb or capon. Spanish tradition says that wearing new, red underwear on New Year's Eve brings good luck. The actual countdown is primarily followed from the clock on top of the Casa de Correos building in Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid. It is traditional to eat twelve grapes, one on each chime of the clock. This tradition has its origins in 1909, when grape growers in Alicante thought of it as a way to cut down on the large production surplus they had had that year. Nowadays, the tradition is followed by almost every Spaniard, and the twelve grapes have become synonymous with the New Year. After the clock has finished striking twelve, people greet each other and toast with sparkling wine such as cava or champagne, or with cider. After the family dinner and the grapes, many young people attend cotillones de nochevieja parties (named for the Spanish word cotillón, which refers to party supplies like confetti, party blowers, and party hats) at pubs, clubs, and similar places. Parties usually last until the next morning and range from small, personal celebrations at local bars to huge parties with guests numbering the thousands at hotel convention rooms. Early the next morning, party attendees usually gather to have the traditional winter breakfast of, hot chocolate and fried pastry (chocolate con churros).
Switzerland:     In Switzerland, New Year's Eve is typically celebrated at a residence with friends. There are no particular main dishes associated with the event, although sweets and desserts are usual. Each commune has its own government-arranged countdown in a public space, accompanied with formal fireworks shows in smaller cities.

Sweden:    In Sweden, New Year's Eve is usually celebrated with families or with friends. A few hours before and after midnight, people usually party and eat a special dinner, often three courses. New Year's Eve is celebrated with large fireworks displays throughout the country, especially in the cities. People over the age of 18 are allowed to buy fireworks, which are sold by local stores or by private persons. While watching or lighting fireworks at midnight, people usually drink champagne.

Ukraine:   In the countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, New Year's has the same cultural significance as Christmas has in the United States, but without the religious connotations. Ukrainian families traditionally install spruce trees at home, the equivalent of a Christmas tree. Families gather to eat a large feast and reflect on the past year. They have a large celebration, make toasts, and make wishes for a happy New Year. Families give presents to their friends as well as informal acquaintances. As Ukrainians are traditionally a closely knit community, it is seen as a taboo to not give presents to those the family associates with. Children stay up until midnight, waiting for the New Year. During these celebrations many Ukrainians tune to special New Year shows, which have become a long-standing tradition for the Ukrainian TV.
Turkey:   Numerous decorations and customs traditionally associated with Christmas and Bayrams are part of secular New Year's Eve celebrations in Turkey. Homes and streets are lit in glittering lights. Small gifts are exchanged, and large family dinners are organized with family and friends, featuring a special Zante currant-pimento-dill iç pilav dish, dolma, hot börek, baklava, and various other eggplant dishes, topped with warm pide, salep, and boza. Even though Turkish people generally don't celebrate Christmas, decorating Christmas trees is a very popular tradition on New Year's Eve in Turkey. In Turkey, Santa Claus is associated with New Year's Eve instead of Christmas.

Argentina:    Traditional celebrations in Argentina include a family dinner of traditional dishes, including vitel tonné, asado, turron and pan dulce. Just before midnight, people flock to the streets to enjoy fireworks and light firecrackers. The first day of the New Year is celebrated at midnight with cider or champagne. People wish each other a happy New Year, and sometimes share a toast with neighbours. Parties often continue until dawn. Argentines also celebrate New Year's by swimming in rivers and lakes or public pools.

Brazil:    The beach at Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro hosts millions of revelers.The New Year (Portuguese: Ano Novo, Brazilian-Portuguese: Réveillon), is one of Brazil's main holidays. It officially marks the beginning of the summer holidays, which last until Carnival. Brazilians traditionally have a copious meal with family or friends at home, in restaurants or private clubs, and consume alcoholic beverages. Champagne is traditionally drunk.
Chile:    Over one million visitors crowd the streets and beaches of Valparaiso each New Year's Eve.New Year's Eve celebrations in Chile include a family dinner with special dishes, usually including lentils, and twelve grapes to symbolize each month of the year. Family celebrations usually last until midnight, then some continue partying with friends until dawn. In Chile's capital Santiago, thousands of people gather at the Entel Tower to watch the countdown to midnight and a fireworks display.

Costa Rica:    In Costa Rica, families usually gather around 9 pm for parties that last until 1 or 2 am, the next day. There are several traditions among Costa Rican families, including eating 12 grapes representing 12 wishes for the new year, and running across the street with luggage to bring new trips and adventures in the upcoming year.
 El Salvador:    In El Salvador, New Year's Eve is spent with families. Family parties start around 5:00 pm, and last until 1:00 to 3:00 am, the following day. Families eat dinner together and traditional New Year's Eve songs, such as "Cinco para las Doce", are played. After the dinner, individuals light fireworks and continue partying outside. A radio station broadcasts a countdown to midnight. When the clock strikes midnight, fireworks are lit across the country. People start exchanging hugs and wishes for the new year.

Ecuador:  A New Year's Eve tradition in Ecuador is for men to dress as women representing the "widow" of the year that has passed. There are traditional family events and meals and modern celebrations such as hosting parties and going to nightclubs. The main event takes place at midnight where fireworks are lit and thousands of life-size dummies, representing misfortunes of the past year, are burned in the streets.

Guatemala:    In Guatemala, banks close on New Year’s Eve, and businesses close at noon. In the town of Antigua, people usually gather at the Santa Catalina Clock Arch to celebrate New Year's Eve Spanish: Fin del Año. In Guatemala City the celebrations are centered around Plaza Mayor. Firecrackers are lit starting at sundown, continuing without interruption into the night. Guatemalans wear new clothes for good fortune and eat a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the New Year countdown, while making a wish with each one.

Suriname:    During New Year's Eve in Suriname the Surinamese population goes into cities' commercial districts to watch fireworks shows. This is however, a spectacle based on the famous red-firecracker-ribbons. The bigger stores invest in these firecrackers and display them in the streets. Every year the length of them is compared, and high praises are held for the company that has managed to import the largest ribbon. These celebrations start at 10 am and finish the next day.

Venezuela:    In Venezuela, many of the traditions are very similar to the ones from Spain, with an over-emphasis in traditions that supposedly will bring good luck in the upcoming year. Those who want to find love in the New Year are supposed to wear red underwear on New Year's Eve; those who want money must have a bill of high value when toasting, those who want to travel must go outside while carrying luggage, and so on. Yellow underwear is worn to bring happiness in the New Year. Radio specials give a countdown and announce the New Year.
Australia:    major city in Australia holds New Year's Eve celebrations, usually accompanied by a fireworks display and other events. Gloucester Park, a racecourse in central Perth, is the largest and most recognized display in the Western Australian city. In Brisbane and Southbank events are held throughout the cities. At night, 50,000 people gather at sites around the Brisbane River to watch a fireworks display. The two largest celebrations in Australia are held in its two largest cities; Sydney and Melbourne. Each year, the celebrations in Sydney are accompanied by a theme with two pyrotechnic shows; the 9:00 pm Family Fireworks and the Midnight Fireworks. Centering on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the fireworks are synchronized to a blend of popular music and a lighting display called the "Bridge Effect", which displays various symbols and other images related to the current year's theme, is shown on the bridge itself. The "Midnight Fireworks" are regularly watched by more than one million people at Sydney Harbour. As one of the first major New Year's celebrations globally each year, Sydney's Midnight Fireworks are often broadcast throughout the world during the day of 31 December. They are regularly watched by one billion people.

Kiribati:      Kiritimati (UTC+14), part of Kiribati, is the first location in the world to welcome the New Year.

New Zealand:    Melbourne fireworks as seen from Alexandra Gardens.Gisborne, New Zealand—496.3 kilometres (308.4 mi) west of the International Date Line—is the first major city to see the beginning of the new year. In New Zealand, cities celebrate with large street parties and fireworks displays. Local councils usually organise parties and street carnivals and fireworks displays, however, liquor bans have been imposed on many of the more popular areas due to disorder, vandalism and other anti-social behavior. In Auckland, the top of the Sky Tower—the tallest freestanding structure tower in the Southern Hemisphere— is the launch site for a fireworks show.

Ghana:   In Ghana, many people celebrate New Year's Eve by going to Church; others go to nightclubs, pubs, or take to the street to celebrate. At midnight, fireworks are displayed across various cities of Ghana, especially in Accra and Tema.

Morocco:  Casablanca fireworks display.In Morocco, New Year's Eve is celebrated in the company of family and friends. People get together to eat cake, dance, and laugh. Traditionally, people celebrate it at home, but some of them prefer to go to nightclubs. At midnight, fireworks are displayed across Ain Diab, in the corniche of Casablanca.
China:    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.

 Hong Kong:   A dramatic fireworks display in Hong Kong.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.
Central Asia:    In Central Asia, New Year's Eve celebrations were inherited from Soviet traditions; thus they are similar to those of Russia.

India:     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. More often people like to celebrate new year eve with family.

Indonesia:     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.

Israel:     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.
Japan:  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.

 Lebanon:     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.
Malaysia:     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.

 Pakistan:    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. However, 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.
Philippines:     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 men.

 Singapore:    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. 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.
Taiwan:   In the Republic of China, 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.

Thailand:    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.
^ it's interesting to see how different countries celebrate the same holiday. ^

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Deaths


13th - Rauf Denktaş  =  87, founder and first president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
14th - Ekuikui IV = 98, Angolan king of Bailundo, disease.
14th - Dan Evins = 76, American founder of Cracker Barrel Store.
20th - John F. Baker, Jr. =  66, American Medal of Honor recipient.
20th - Etta James =  73, American blues singer ("At Last"), leukemia.
22nd - Joe Paterno = 85, American college football coach (Penn State.)
25th - Veronica Carstens  = 88, German First Lady (1979–1984).
26th - Ian Abercrombie = 77, British actor (Seinfeld, Wizards of Waverly Place, Birds of Prey.)
26th - Robert Hegyes = 60, American actor (Welcome Back, Kotter; Cagney & Lacey), heart attack.
26thKarin = Hereditary Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, 91, German aristocrat.
27th - Kazimierz Smoleń = 91, Polish museum director and Holocaust survivor.
29th - John Rich = 86, American television director (All in the Family, The Dick Van Dyke Show.)
31st - Leslie Carter = 25, American singer and reality star, sister of Nick and Aaron Carter.

1st - Ruth Hausmeister = 99, German actress (Zwei Brüder, The Longest Day).
4th - Florence Green = 110, British supercentenarian, last surviving veteran of World War I.
5th - William D. Houser = 90, American admiral (WWII, Korea, Vietnam.)
11th - Whitney Houston = 48, American singer ("I Will Always Love You") and actress.
15th - Elyse Knox = 94, American actress and model, mother of Mark Harmon.
16th - Kathryn McGee = 91, American disability rights advocate.
17th - Clarence Dart = 91, American World War II fighter pilot (Tuskegee Airmen).
18th - Rose Cliver = 109, American, one of the last known survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
19th - Herman G. Tillman, Jr. = 89, American pilot (WWII, Korea, Vietnam.)
22nd - Lyudmila Kasatkinav = 86, Russian actress, People's Artist of the USSR.
24th - Infanta Maria Adelaide of Portugal = 100, Portuguese royal.
24th - Agnes Allen = 81, American baseball player (All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.)
24th - Jan Berenstain = 88, American writer and illustrator (Berenstain Bears.)
25th - Lynn Compton = 90, American soldier, inspiration for Band of Brothers.
26th - Trayvon Martin = 17, American teenager, shooting.
29th - Roland Bautista = 60, American guitarist (Earth, Wind & Fire.)
29th - Davy Jones =  66, British actor and musician (The Monkees), heart attack

1st - Phillip R. Allen = 72, American actor (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, The Bad News Bears.
)2nd - Van T. Barfoot = 92, American soldier, Medal of Honor recipient.
2nd - Stan Stearns = 76, American photographer (John F. Kennedy, Jr. salute.)
6th - Helen Walulik = 82, American baseball player (All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.)
11th - James B. Morehead = 95, American World War II flying ace.
12th - Michael Hossack =  65, American drummer (The Doobie Brothers), cancer.
13th - Princess Anna of Saxony = 82, German princess.
13th - Eileen McDonough  = 49, American child actress (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Waltons.)
16th - Donald E. Hillman = 93, American World War II flying ace.
17th - John Demjanjuk = 91, Ukrainian Nazi war criminal.
18th - William R. Charette = 79, American Medal of Honor recipient.
18th - George Tupou V = 63, Tongan King (since 2006.)
19th - Hugo Munthe-Kaas=  90, Norwegian resistance fighter and politician.
25th - Ben-Zion Leitner =  85, Israeli soldier, Medal of Valor recipient.
25thLex = 12, American Marine service dog, awarded honorary Purple Heart.
29th - Luke Askew = 80, American actor (Cool Hand Luke, Easy Rider, The Green Berets.)

1st - Leila Denmark = 114, American, physician, credited with developing a whooping cough vaccine
5th - Barney McKenna = 72, Irish musician (The Dubliners.)
6th - Thomas Kinkade = 54, American painter, overdose of alcohol and Valium.
7th - David E. Pergrin = 94, American soldier, led the most decorated WWII engineering battalion.
8th - Anatoly Ravikovich = 75, Russian film actor (The Pokrovsky Gate), cancer.
8th - Janusz K. Zawodny = 90, Polish-born American historian, World War II resistance fighter.
10th - Raymond Aubrac = 97, French WWII resistance fighter.
13th - Avraham Goldberg = 99, American-born Israeli Talmud scholar.
18th - Dick Clark = 82, American television host (American Bandstand, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.)
24th - John McGrath = 92, American army soldier and World War II Easy Company veteran.
24th - George Vujnovich = 96, American OSS agent and leader of Operation Halyard.
27th - Anatoly Lebed =  48, Russian army officer, Hero of the Russian Federation.
29th - Roland Moreno =  66, French inventor, creator of the smart card.
30th - Benzion Netanyahu = 102, Israeli historian, academic, father of Benjamin Netanyahu.

 1st - Harold K. Hoskins = 85, American pilot, Tuskegee Airman, Congressional Gold Medal winner.
4th - Adam Yauch = 47, American musician (Beastie Boys.)
5th - Count Carl Johan Bernadotte of Wisborg =  95, Swedish royal, youngest son of King Gustaf VI.
8th - Robert de La Rochefoucauld = 88, French Resistance member.
10th - Gunnar Sønsteby = 94, Norwegian resistance movement member.
12th - Ruth Foster = 92, American actress (Little House on the Prairie.)
12th - Sam Porcello = 76, American food scientist, created the Oreo cookie filling.
13th - Donald "Duck" Dunn = 70, American bass guitarist (The Blues Brothers, the M.G.'s.)
17th - Donna Summer = 63, American singer ("Bad Girls", "Hot Stuff", "Last Dance", "I Feel Love".)
19th - Zvi Aharoni = 91, German-born Israeli Mossad agent.
20th - Abdelbaset al-Megrahi = 60, Libyan terrorist, convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103.
20th - Robin Gibb =  62, British singer and songwriter (Bee Gees.)
20th - Eugene Polley = 96, American engineer, inventor of the wireless TV remote control.
22nd - Wesley A. Brown = 85, American, first African-American graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.
22nd-  Janet Carroll = 71, American singer and actress (Married... with Children, Murphy Brown.)
23rd - Joseph Lesniewski - 91, American World War II veteran, member of Easy Company.
24th - Klaas Carel Faber = 90, Dutch-born Nazi war criminal.

2nd-  Richard Dawson = 79, English-born American actor (Hogan's Heroes) and host (Family Feud.)
2nd - Kathryn Joosten =  72, American actress (Desperate Housewives, The West Wing.)
4th - Herb Reed = 83, American singer (The Platters.)
6th - Prince Tomohito of Mikasa = 66, Japanese royal, cancer.
7th - Bob Welch = 66, American musician (Fleetwood Mac, Paris.)
8th - Frank Cady = 96, American actor (Green Acres, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.)
11th - Ann Rutherford= 94, Canadian-born American actress (Gone with the Wind.)
14th - Yvette Wilson = 48, American comedian and actress (Moesha, The Parkers.)
17th - Patricia Brow =  81, American baseball player (All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.)
17th - Rodney King = 47, American victim of police beating that sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
18th - Lina Haag, =  05, German anti-fascist activist.
20th  - Judy Agnew = 91, American, widow of former Vice President Spiro Agnew.
20th  - Heinrich IV, Prince Reuss of Köstritz = 92, German noble.
23rd - Frank Chee Willeto = 87, American Navajo code talker in World War II, Congressional Silver Medal recipient.
24th - Gad Beck =  88, German educator, author, and gay Holocaust survivor.
26th - Doris Singleton =  92, American actress (I Love Lucy, My Three Sons.)
27th - Don Grady = 68, American actor (My Three Sons, The Mickey Mouse Club.)
28th - Doris Sams = 85, American baseball player (All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.)

3rd - Andy Griffith =  86, American actor (The Andy Griffith Show, Matlock.)
7th - Dennis Flemion = 57, American rock musician (The Frogs), drowned.
8th - Ernest Borgnine =  95, American actor (McHale's Navy, From Here to Eternity.)
10th - Maria Cole = 89, American jazz singer, widow of Nat King Cole.
13th - Sage Stallone = 36, American actor (Rocky V), son of Sylvester Stallone.
15th - Celeste Holm =  95, American actress (Gentleman's Agreement, All About Eve, Tom Sawyer)
16th - Jon Lord = 71, English composer and musician (Deep Purple.)
17th - Morgan Paull = 67, American actor (Blade Runner, Norma Rae, Patton.)
22nd - Frank Pierson = 87, American film director and screenwriter (Cool Hand Luke, A Star is Born.)
24th - Sherman Hemsley = 74, American actor (The Jeffersons, Amen, Dinosaurs.)
24th - Robert Ledley = 86, American scientist, inventor of the full-body CT scanner.
26th - Lupe Ontiveros = 69, American actress (Desperate Housewives, Selena, The Goonies.)
27th - Norman Alden = 87, American actor (Back to the Future, Tora! Tora! Tora!)
27th - Tony Martin = 98, American actor and singer, widower of Cyd Charisse.
27th - Russ Mayberry = 86, Scottish-born American television director (Magnum P.I.,The Brady Bunch.)
29th - August Kowalczyk = 90, Polish actor, last survivor of 1942 Auschwitz concentration camp breakout.
31st - Gore Vidal = 86, American playwright, novelist, political commentator and actor.

9th - Mel Stuart = 83, American film director (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.)
10th - Ioan Dicezare =  95, Romanian WWII fighter pilot ace.
12th - Eileen Beasley =  91, Welsh teacher and Welsh language campaigner.
13th - Joan Roberts =  95, American musical theatre actress (Oklahoma!)
14th - Ron Palillo = 63, American actor (Welcome Back, Kotter.)
14th - Phyllis Thaxter = 92, American actress (Superman, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.)
16th - Princess Lalla Amina of Morocco = 58, Moroccan royal, daughter of Mohammed V.
16th- William Windom = 88, American actor (Murder She Wrote, Star Trek.)
17th - Veronique Peck = 80, French-born American arts patron, widow of Gregory Peck.
24th - Steve Franken = 80, American actor (Bewitched, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.)
24th - Claire Malis = 69, American actress (One Life to Live, From Here to Eternity, The Facts of Life.)
25th - Neil Armstrong = 82, American astronaut, first person to walk on the Moon.
27th - Tomáš Sedláček = 94, Czech general, anti-Nazi resistance member, and political prisoner.
31st - Sergei Sokolov = 101, Marshal of the Soviet Union.

3rd - Michael Clarke Duncan = 54, American actor (The Green Mile, Armageddon, Daredevil.)
5th - Joe South = 72, American singer-songwriter ("Down in the Boondocks.”)
8th - Leigh Hamilton = 62, New Zealand-born American actress (Hocus Pocus.)
10th - Lance LeGault =  77, American actor (The A-Team, Magnum, P.I.)
11th - J. Christopher Stevens = 52, American diplomat, U.S. Ambassador to Libya.
16th - Princess Ragnhild, Mrs. Lorentzen = 82, Norwegian royal, eldest child of King Olav V.
25th - Andy Williams =  84, American singer ("Moon River") and entertainer.
27th - Joseph Parker, Jr. = 95, American Navy physician, last surviving physician from Omaha Beach.

13th - Gary Collins = 74, American actor (The Wackiest Ship in the Army) and host (Miss America.)\
15th - Norodom Sihanouk = 89, Cambodian royal, King (1941–1955, 1993–2004.)
20th - John McConnell = 97, American peace activist, designed the Earth Day flag
21st - Antoni Dobrowolski = 108, Polish Holocaust survivor, oldest known Auschwitz survivor.
21st - William Walker =  99, British fighter pilot (Battle of Britain), stroke.
22nd - Russell Means = 72, American Native actor (Pocahontas, The Last of the Mohicans.)
23rd - Wilhelm Brasse =94, Polish photographer, prisoner in Auschwitz.
29th  - Cordelia Edvardson = 83, Swedish journalist and Holocaust survivor.

5th - Charles V. Bush = 72, American, first African American to graduate from the US Air Force Academy.
8th- Herbert Carter = 93, American pilot (Tuskegee Airmen.)
8th - Roger Hammond = 76, British actor (The King's Speech, Around the World in 80 Days.)
11th - Harry Wayland Randall = 96, American World War II veteran and war photographer.
14th - Martin Fay = 76, Irish musician (The Chieftains.)
21st - Vladka Meed = 90, Polish Jewish resistance member (Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.)
21st - Deborah Raffin =  59, American actress (Once Is Not Enough, 7th Heaven.)
21st - Eugene Smith = 94, American pilot (Tuskegee Airmen.)
23rd - Larry Hagman = 81, American actor (Dallas, I Dream of Jeannie.)
29th - Susan Luckey = 74, American actress (The Music Man, Carousel.)

7th - Ralph Parr =  88, American fighter pilot, Korean War flying ace.
7th - William F. House =  89, American developer of the cochlear implant, cancer.
9th - Norman Joseph Woodland = 91, American co-creator of the bar code.
10th - Ed Grady = 89, American actor.
13th - Natalya Kustinskaya = 74, Russian actress ( Ivan Vasilievich Changes Profession.)
17th - Daniel Inouye = 88, American, Senator from Hawaii (since 1963), Medal of Honor recipient.
24 - Jack Klugman = 90, American actor (Quincy, M.E., The Odd Couple.)
27 - Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. = 78, American general, Commander-in-Chief of United States Central Command (1988–1991.)