New Year Live Updates | World rings in 2023 after a turbulent 12 months

With countdowns and fireworks, revellers in major city centres across the Asia-Pacific region ushered in the first new year without COVID-19 restrictions since the pandemic began in 2020.

December 31, 2022 03:45 pm | Updated January 01, 2023 04:05 am IST

Youth celebrate New Year 2023 at Eliots Beach Road, Besant Nagar in Chennai early Sunday, January 1, 2023.

Youth celebrate New Year 2023 at Eliots Beach Road, Besant Nagar in Chennai early Sunday, January 1, 2023. | Photo Credit: M. Karunakaran

The world’s eight billion people on December 31 prepared to usher in 2023 and farewell a turbulent 12 months marked by war in Europe, stinging price rises, Lionel Messi’s world cup glory, and the deaths of Queen Elizabeth, Pele and former Pope Benedict.

Many will be looking to cut loose this New Year’s Eve after a few pandemic-dampened years, setting aside pinched budgets and a virus that is increasingly forgotten but not gone.

Fireworks light up the sky over Sydney Harbour Bridge during New Year’s Eve celebration on January 1, 2023, in Sydney, Australia.

Fireworks light up the sky over Sydney Harbour Bridge during New Year’s Eve celebration on January 1, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Sydney will be among the first major cities to ring in 2023, restaking its claim to be the “New Year’s Eve capital of the world” after two years of lockdown and coronavirus-muted festivities. Australia’s borders have reopened and the crowds gathering at Sydney’s sparkling harbour to watch 1,00,000 pyrotechnics illuminate the southern sky were expected to number more than one million.

In Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, a family-friendly fireworks display along the Yarra River as dusk fell preceded a second session at midnight.

The Pacific nation of Kiribati was the first country to greet the new year, with the clock ticking into 2023 one hour ahead of neighbors including New Zealand.

In Auckland, large crowds gathered below the Sky Tower, where a 10-second countdown to midnight preceded fireworks. The celebrations in New Zealand’s largest city were well-received after COVID-19 forced them to be canceled a year ago.

Fireworks explode over Sky Tower in central Auckland as New Year celebrations begin in New Zealand on January 1, 2023. Photo: NZ Herald via AP

Fireworks explode over Sky Tower in central Auckland as New Year celebrations begin in New Zealand on January 1, 2023. Photo: NZ Herald via AP

Meanwhile, dozens of cities in Croatia, including the capital Zagreb, cancelled New Year fireworks after pet lovers warned about the damaging effects of noise and gases on animals and people, calling for more environmentally-aware celebrations.

Mumbai

Mumbaikars let their hair down on New Year’s Eve

Mumbaikars on Saturday stepped out of homes in large numbers to celebrate New Year’s Eve with joy and abandon after a gap of two years.

As dusk fell, thousands of people gathered at the Gateway of India, Marine Drive and the Girgaum Chowpatty beach in South Mumbai. New Year celebrations were muted in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19-related restrictions. In the suburbs, many people flocked to the beaches of Bandra, Madh Island and Marve.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Saturday specially illuminated important structures and buildings in the city such as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Gateway of India. Hotels, bars and restaurants were full while many revellers also patronised street food sellers.

More than 11,000 police personnel were deployed on the streets for security, a senior official said. - PTI

New Delhi

Heavy security deployment in Delhi for New Year celebrations

Traffic congestion was witnessed in parts of central Delhi, including Connaught Place and India Gate, on New Year’s Eve, officials said on Saturday.

The Delhi Police has deployed over 18,000 personnel from district and traffic units across the national capital to keep a strict vigil on any kind of violation and ensure security during New Year celebrations, they said.

A total of 125 spots in the city have been identified to check drunk driving, the officials said.

Kartavya Path resembled a picnic spot as hundreds thronged the national capital landmark with family and friends to celebrate New Year’s eve after a two-year COVID-induced gap. - PTI

Egypt

New Year in Cairo

Fireworks explode over the Nile River during the New Year celebrations, in Cairo, Egypt, January 1, 2023.

Fireworks explode over the Nile River during the New Year celebrations, in Cairo, Egypt, January 1, 2023. | Photo Credit: Reuters

UAE

New Year Eve in Dubai

New Year’s Eve light show illuminates the landmark Burj Khalifa tower at midnight in the Gulf emirate of Dubai on December 31, 2022.

New Year’s Eve light show illuminates the landmark Burj Khalifa tower at midnight in the Gulf emirate of Dubai on December 31, 2022. | Photo Credit: AFP

China

New Year in Beijing

Revellers pose for selfies after a count down to the new year at the Shougang Park in Beijing, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023.

Revellers pose for selfies after a count down to the new year at the Shougang Park in Beijing, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

Thousands gathered in central Wuhan on Saturday night to count down to the start of what many hoped would be a much better year after a “tough” 2022 filled with lockdowns and in December a major new outbreak of the coronavirus.

Many released balloons into the sky when the clocks struck midnight, as per tradition in the central Chinese city where the pandemic began three years ago, before grabbing selfies with their friends. - Reuters.”

Philippines

Manila on New Year Day

A woman kisses her mother during a New Year’s Eve party in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, December 31, 2022.

A woman kisses her mother during a New Year’s Eve party in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, December 31, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Karnataka

Bengaluru on New Year’s Eve

A crowd gathered for celebrating New Year at Bridge Road in Bengaluru on Saturday 31, December 2022.

A crowd gathered for celebrating New Year at Bridge Road in Bengaluru on Saturday 31, December 2022. | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

South Korea

New Year’s Eve celebrations in Seoul

A person walks in a Buddhist temple during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Seoul, South Korea on January 1, 2023.

A person walks in a Buddhist temple during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Seoul, South Korea on January 1, 2023. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Japan

Tokyo celebrates start of New Year’s Day at midnight

Revellers release balloons as they take part in New Year celebrations in Tokyo, Japan on January 1, 2023.

Revellers release balloons as they take part in New Year celebrations in Tokyo, Japan on January 1, 2023. | Photo Credit: Reuters

South Korea

Seoul celebrates New Year’s Eve

People light up their phones before midnight as they celebrate New Year’s Eve in Seoul, South Korea, on December 31, 2022.

People light up their phones before midnight as they celebrate New Year’s Eve in Seoul, South Korea, on December 31, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Kashmir

Gulmarg on eve of New Year 2023

The Kashmir tourism department is set to host colourful events, as visitors flock to the hill stations of Gulmarg and Pahalgam for New Year celebrations.

The Kashmir tourism department is set to host colourful events, as visitors flock to the hill stations of Gulmarg and Pahalgam for New Year celebrations. | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

Maharashtra

New Year’s Eve in Bandra

People enjoy their New Year’s Eve at Bandra on Saturday.

People enjoy their New Year’s Eve at Bandra on Saturday. | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

Chhattisgarh

Police use catchy social media posts, videos to warn against drunk driving on New Year’s Eve

The police in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur are using catchy social media posts and videos to caution people against drunk driving during the new year celebrations on Saturday.

Posts on the Raipur police’s social media handles, including Twitter and Facebook, in the last couple of days, have gone viral. In one of the posts in Hindi, the police warned that citizens speeding on roads will have to usher in the new year inside a police lock up.

“Creative flyers and videos are being issued by the Raipur police from time to time to make people aware about traffic safety rules. It attracts attention of the general public,” Raipur senior superintendent of police Prashant Agrawal told PTI. - PTI

Sydney

Over 1 million people expected to crowd along Sydney’s waterfront for multi-million dollar celebration

New Year’s Eve fireworks light up the sky over the Sydney Opera House (L) and Harbour Bridge during the fireworks display in Sydney on January 1, 2023.

New Year’s Eve fireworks light up the sky over the Sydney Opera House (L) and Harbour Bridge during the fireworks display in Sydney on January 1, 2023. | Photo Credit: AFP

New Delhi

India Gate on New Year’s Eve

People throng India Gate for the New Year celebrations, in New Delhi on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022.

People throng India Gate for the New Year celebrations, in New Delhi on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Gujarat

Revellers all set to welcome New Year, police on alert

As citizens and the hospitality sector prepare to welcome the New Year in a big way across Gujarat, the police in the dry State have stepped up surveillance to curb the consumption of drugs and liquor along with drunken driving.

Hotels, clubs, cafes and party venues have been gearing up to offer a variety of foods and mocktails and have roped in DJs and popular Bollywood and local singers to rev up the night.

Organisers of midnight parties reported encouraging responses and said tickets are being bought online in large numbers. This will be the first time in two years that celebrations will be held without COVID-19 norms.

Anticipating heavy footfall in public places, the Gujarat police have made elaborate security arrangements and warned revellers against the use of drugs and alcohol. - PTI

BANGKOK

Army in strife-torn Myanmar lifts curfew for New Year’s Eve

Towboats standing on the seashore during sunset at Ngapali Beach, in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State, on New Year’s Eve on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022.

Towboats standing on the seashore during sunset at Ngapali Beach, in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State, on New Year’s Eve on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

Authorities in military-ruled Myanmar announced a suspension of the normal four-hour curfew to allow New Year’s celebrations in three biggest cities, but opponents of army rule urge people to stay away and claimed security forces might stage an attack and blame it on them.

A leaked official letter that circulated on social media said the Yangon regional government was lifting the curfew from midnight to 4 a.m. for one night, when it would host a New Year’s countdown party with fireworks and music at the city’s People’s Park.

Residents of the country’s capital, Naypyidaw, and the second largest city, Mandalay, confirmed that the curfew had also been lifted in their cities, which would also host official celebrations. - AP

Beijing

Troubles aside, Xi says China on ‘right side of history’

Visitors throng a shopping complex on New Year’s Eve, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China on December 31, 2022.

Visitors throng a shopping complex on New Year’s Eve, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China on December 31, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

China “stands on the right side of history,” the country’s leader Xi Jinping said in a New Year’s address that came as questions swirl over his government’s handling of COVID-19 and economic and political challenges at home and abroad.

Speaking on national television from behind a desk in a wood-panelled office, Mr. Xi largely avoided directly addressing issues confronting the country, pointing instead to successes in agricultural production, poverty elimination and its hosting of the Winter Olympics in February. - AP

Russia

Putin says in New Year message West is using Ukraine to destroy Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on December 31 his country would never give in to the West’s attempts to use Ukraine as a tool to destroy Russia.

In a New Year’s video message broadcast on Russian state TV, Mr. Putin said Russia was fighting in Ukraine to protect its “motherland” and to secure “true independence” for its people.

Read more

India

Let’s rededicate ourselves to inclusive development of nation: President Murmu’s message on New Year’s Eve

President Droupadi Murmu greeted citizens on New Year’s Eve and called on them to resolve to rededicate themselves to the unity, integrity and inclusive development of the country.

“May the dawn of New Year, imbued with fresh energy, bring new happiness, goals, inspirations and greater achievements in our lives. On this occasion, let us resolve to rededicate ourselves to the unity, integrity and inclusive development of the nation,” Ms. Murmu said in her message released by the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

“On the occasion of New Year, I extend my heartiest greetings and best wishes to all fellow citizens and all Indians abroad,” she said.

The President further said, “I wish for the progress and prosperity of our glorious nation and the people in the year 2023.” - PTI

Moradabad

Last setting sun of 2022

People welcoming 2023 pose for a picture with the last setting sun of 2022, in Moradabad on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022.

People welcoming 2023 pose for a picture with the last setting sun of 2022, in Moradabad on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Sydney

World ushers in 2023; bids farewell to turbulent 12 months

The world’s eight billion people began ushering in 2023 on December 31, 2022, and bidding farewell to a turbulent 12 months marked by war in Europe, stinging price rises, Lionel Messi’s World Cup glory and the deaths of Queen Elizabeth, Pele and former pope Benedict.

Read more

London

U.K.’s problems won’t go away in 2023, warns PM Rishi Sunak in New Year message

Rishi Sunak struck a cautious note with his first New Year message as British Prime Minister on Saturday as he warned that the UK’s problems won’t go away in 2023, at the end of a “tough” 12 months.

Read more

Patalia

Patiala teachers celebrate New Year

Teachers celebrate New Year 2023 on its eve, in Patiala on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022.

Teachers celebrate New Year 2023 on its eve, in Patiala on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Indonesia

Cultural parade in Indonesia

Women dancers prepare before their performance during the culture parade to bid farewell to 2022 and welcome 2023 in Bali, Indonesia on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022.

Women dancers prepare before their performance during the culture parade to bid farewell to 2022 and welcome 2023 in Bali, Indonesia on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

New Zealand

New Year celebrations begin in New Zealand

Fireworks explode over Sky Tower in central Auckland as New Year celebrations begin in New Zealand, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023.

Fireworks explode over Sky Tower in central Auckland as New Year celebrations begin in New Zealand, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

Thailand

New Year countdown celebrations in Thailand

A performer sings during New Year countdown celebrations along the Chao Phraya River opposite Wat Arun Buddhist temple in Bangkok on December 31, 2022.

A performer sings during New Year countdown celebrations along the Chao Phraya River opposite Wat Arun Buddhist temple in Bangkok on December 31, 2022. | Photo Credit: AFP

Australia

Revellers throng to New Year’s parties after COVID hiatus

With countdowns and fireworks, revellers in major city centres across the Asia-Pacific region were ushering in the first new year without COVID-19 restrictions since the pandemic began in 2020.

While COVID-19 continues to cause death and dismay, particularly in China, which is battling a nationwide surge in infections after suddenly easing anti-epidemic measures, countries had largely lifted quarantine requirements, restrictions for visitors and relentless testing that had limited travel and places people can go to.

Fireworks light up the sky over the Sydney Harbour Bridge during New Year’s Eve celebrations on December 31, 2022 in Sydney

Fireworks light up the sky over the Sydney Harbour Bridge during New Year’s Eve celebrations on December 31, 2022 in Sydney | Photo Credit: RONI BINTANG

Celebrations are being held at the Great Wall in Beijing, while in Shanghai authorities said traffic will be stopped along the waterfront Bund to allow pedestrians to gather on New Year’s Eve. Shanghai Disneyland will also hold a special fireworks show to welcome 2023.

On the last day of the year marked by the brutal war in Ukraine, many in the country returned to capital Kyiv to spend New Year’s Eve with their loved ones. As Russia attacks continue to target power supplies leaving millions without electricity, no big celebrations are expected and a curfew will be in place as the clock rings in the new year. But for most Ukrainians being together with their families is already a luxury.

China

New Year Eve spurs hope in China even as censors target online COVID content

New Year’s Eve in China prompted an outpouring of reflection online, some of it critical, about the strict zero-COVID policy the country adhered to for almost three years and the impact of its abrupt reversal this month.

The sudden change to live with the virus has prompted a wave of infections across the country, a further drop in economic activity and international concern, with Britain and France the latest countries to impose curbs on travellers from China.

Three years into the pandemic, China this month acted to align with a world that has largely reopened to live with COVID, after unprecedented protests that became a de-facto referendum against the zero-COVID policy championed by President Xi Jinping.

The protests were the strongest show of public defiance in Xi’s decade-old presidency and coincided with grim growth figures for China’s $17 trillion economy.

On Saturday, people in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the pandemic, expressed hope the new year would bring better fortune.

New Zealand

Auckland one of the first cities to welcome 2023

In Auckland, large crowds are expected below the Sky Tower, where a 10-second countdown to midnight will precede fireworks display to welcome the new year. The celebrations in New Zealand’s largest city are expected to be well-received after COVID-19 forced them to be canceled a year ago. Authorities expect revelers to gather at several vantage points across the city including Devonport, which enables a view of the festivities across the harbor.

Fireworks explode over Sky Tower in central Auckland as New Year celebrations begin in New Zealand on January 1, 2023.

Fireworks explode over Sky Tower in central Auckland as New Year celebrations begin in New Zealand on January 1, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

Other features include a laser light and animation show, which will take in several landmarks in Auckland. -AP

South Korea

South Korea welcomes 2023

A woman prays at Jogye temple during New Year’s Eve on December 31, 2022, in Seoul, South Korea. South Koreans will celebrate in central Seoul after the New Year event was held without an audience for the past three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A woman prays at Jogye temple during New Year’s Eve on December 31, 2022, in Seoul, South Korea. South Koreans will celebrate in central Seoul after the New Year event was held without an audience for the past three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Kiribati

Kiribati is the first country to greet 2023

The Pacific nation of Kiribati will be the first country to greet the new year, with the clock ticking into 2023 one hour ahead of neighbors including New Zealand. -AP

Australia

Australia to welcome 2023 with a bang

Sydney will be among the first major cities to ring in 2023, staking its claim to be the “New Year’s Eve capital of the world” after two years of lockdown and Omicron-muted festivities.

Organizers have said a rainbow waterfall will be a prominent feature of the New Year’s Eve party. More than 7,000 fireworks will be launched from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a further 2,000 from the nearby Opera House.

People gather to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Sydney, Australia, on December 31, 2022.

People gather to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Sydney, Australia, on December 31, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

In Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, organizers have arranged for a family-friendly fireworks display along the Yarra River as dusk falls before a second session at midnight. -AP

Early fireworks explode over Sydney Opera House during the New Year’s Eve celebrations, in Sydney, Australia, December 31, 2022.

Early fireworks explode over Sydney Opera House during the New Year’s Eve celebrations, in Sydney, Australia, December 31, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Malaysia

Malaysia cancels its new year countdown

Malaysia’s government cancelled its New Year countdown and fireworks event at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur after flooding across the nation displaced tens of thousands of people and a landslide killed 31 people this month.

The country’s famous Petronas Twin Towers said it would pare down its celebration with no performances or fireworks. -Reuters

Russia

Russia will welcome 2023 in the backdrop of its conflict with Ukraine

In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, there seems to be a dulled appetite for grand celebrations.

Moscow has cancelled its traditional fireworks show after Mayor Sergei Sobyanin asked residents to vote on how to mark the occasion. -AFP

India

Security beefed up, special trains to run as Mumbai gets ready for New Year’s Eve revelry

As Mumbai gears up to ring in the new year without any COVID-19 restrictions after two years, the police on Saturday beefed up security across the city to prevent any untoward incident.

The police are anticipating large gatherings near the Gateway of India, Marine Drive, Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu beach, Bandstand in suburban Bandra and other prominent locations, and security arrangements have been made accordingly, the official said.

The U.S.A

New Year preparations in the U.S.

The Times Square ball is tested out ahead of the New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City, U.S.

The Times Square ball is tested out ahead of the New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City, U.S. | Photo Credit: Reuters

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