January 1 Farewell to the “magic” year 2020 and move towards a brand-new 2021. In the past year, there have been fewer crowds on the streets of various countries, and the atmosphere of festivals has been less.
People no longer hug and shake hands, and can only look at each other at a distance of one meter. Around the world, even the New Year’s Eve, which means goodbye to the old and ushering in the new, is particularly different due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
When the busy streets fell silent due to the “lockdown”, when offline dinners were replaced by “cloud gatherings”, people’s eager expectations for the new year have not changed… Under special circumstances, how will countries around the world celebrate the New Year?
In the new year, they light up expectations with “starlight”
Australia is one of the first countries in the world to enter the New Year. Every year on the evening of December 31, the fireworks show in Sydney Harbour attracts world attention. Tens of thousands of people gather together to wait for fireworks to bloom in various shapes.
However, this year, with New Year’s Eve, there is another round of epidemic in Sydney. In the past month, more than 100 new cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in Sydney, and more than 200,000 people have been quarantined.
As a result, the scale of New Year’s fireworks performances has to be reduced, and people without passes cannot enter the designated fireworks viewing area.
NSW Governor Berejiklian said, “2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. The New Year’s Eve celebration will be a symbol of hope and optimism in 2021.” But he hopes that all people can watch Sydney’s New Year’s fireworks show at home.
In Russia, the century-old Gum Department Store has also been decorated, with retro chandeliers lighting up every corner to create a happy atmosphere for the New Year.
The “Shining Starlight” light show in Marina Bay, Singapore, was launched early on December 1, and people can go to watch it staggered. When the beam of light goes straight into the night sky, it illuminates the Marina Bay, which means “gather strength and break through the siege”.
Jason Chen, an official of the Singapore Urban Renewal Authority, said that the shining light and shadow will “support Singaporeans’ determination to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic and become stronger in the new year”.
On the other side of the earth, the shining crystal ball in New York Times Square will still fall during the New Year’s Eve, but the event will not be open to the ordinary audience, and the lively scene will no longer exist. In the special year, medical staff have become “C-positions”, and the organizers will invite them and necessary industry workers and other “Heroes of 2020” as special guests to pay tribute.
In the new year, they wait to protect peace.
Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, there are also places that choose to cancel or postpone the New Year’s Eve activities, which will create opportunities for good memories for the future.
In previous years, people in Seoul, South Korea, usually went to Puxin Pavilion to ring the bell to pray for the New Year. However, now, South Korea’s fight against the epidemic is at the “most critical moment”. Seoul announced that it would cancel the bell ringing ceremony for the New Year’s welcome ceremony for the first time in 67 years.
On the Thames River in London, England, the dazzling fireworks show could not be performed as scheduled. Recently, the number of new confirmed cases in the UK has repeatedly reached new highs in a single day. London Mayor Sadik Khan said, “We really can’t afford to gather so many people at risk.”
Today, the COVID-19 epidemic continues to spread, and more than 80 million people have been infected worldwide, and more than 1.7 million people have died as a result. The United Kingdom, South Africa and other places have reported more contagion of more contagion of the novel coronavirus, and restrictions in many places will continue during the New Year holiday.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, canceled the beach New Year’s Eve carnival and completely blockaded the coastline; all public places such as cinemas, zoos and playgrounds in the Netherlands will be closed; the number of German festival parties should not exceed five people; in Belgium, each family can entertain only one visitor.
In the United States, many parts of California have extended stay-at-home orders “indefinitely”, but in more states, there is a tragedy caused by “economic emphasis over epidemic prevention”.
American doctor John Sinnott issued a strong warning, “Stay at home and celebrate with relatives. Only in this way can you still be together on the next New Year’s Eve.”
In the new year, they send greetings on the screen.
The quarantine measures throughout 2020 have also made people all over the world “see the screen like a face”. Work and study are done online, even the New Year’s celebration.
Posts with the hashtag “Online Year-End Party” have become popular on social media in South Korea. The young man sat in front of the screen, looking at the smiling faces of his friends, eating delicious food, drinking soju and talking.
Bai Xiubin, 28, said, “It is easier and happier to chat through the screen and watch the smiling faces of friends than to chat on the phone.”
In neighboring Japan, many places call for “quiet New Year”, such as “online forgetting annual meeting” and “online blessing” activities are quietly popular. Also moved online is the Vienna New Year’s Concert in Austria, when audiences around the world can enjoy it through live streaming of “cloud”.
Under the epidemic, a screen connects isolated islands into continents.
According to the British Guardian, watching online programs and participating in online interactions will become the main activities of the people during the New Year’s Eve.
Outside the screen, people around the world also welcome the New Year at home in different ways. A comedy short film called “One Man’s Dinner” dominated Germany’s “New Year’s Eve” for 50 years.
Several TV stations will broadcast the short film on New Year’s Eve; grapes are a must-have food for every family in Spain. With every 12 o’clock ringing, people eat a grape, which is said to bring 12 different blessings and good luck.
In the new year, they place their hopes with paper and pen.
Farewell to 2020 and move towards 2021, many people write their deepest wishes on paper and keep them in their hearts.
The annual Wishing Wall event in Times Square has arrived as scheduled. This year, people’s desire has changed from the pursuit of love and money to the desire to end the pandemic.
On the wall of colored paper, people wrote their wishes: “Pray for peace for those who have lost their loved ones to the coronavirus”, “May there be no more coronavirus”, “Live well”…
Also in the United States, a wishing tree in Southern California is full of good hopes for the New Year.
Today, with more than 66,000 confirmed cases in California, Julianne Locke, the organizer of the event, said they want to provide tourists with some timely and fresh activities to “interact without contact”.
2020 is not easy, 2021 is even more important and cherished.
As UN Secretary-General Guterres said, hope 2021 will be a year of healing, “curing the impact of COVID-19, healing the broken economy and society, healing division, and beginning to heal the planet.”