Huge parties, champagne and comfort food are all indispensable parts of the New Year’s celebration. But the most iconic tradition of the night between the years is fireworks. Originally meant to scare evil spirits away, ensuring welfare and health for the year ahead. In time fireworks have become a tradition, evolving from a spirit-ousting ritual into a spectacular show painting the night sky in colors. But some shows are more spectacular than others.
There are cities all over the world famous for their fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve. Surprising as it may sound, though, the largest ever fireworks display did not happen during the night of December 31st – it happened on November 29th 2014 in Søgne, a Norwegian town, to celebrate the switching on of its Christmas lights. Luckily the Guinness Book of World Records was there to confirm that it was an official world record: during the one and a half hour show, the organizers fired over 500,000 rockets to the night sky. While such displays don’t happen each year, there are plenty of spectacular fireworks to enjoy on New Year’s Eve.
The most spectacular one happens at the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The 2,717 ft (828 meter) tall building looks like it’s set on fire during the night between the years. In 2013, the Burj Khalifa fireworks set an official Guinness world record (beaten by Norway the next year), setting off over 400,000 fireworks. But even without a record breaking attempt, the show is perhaps the most spectacular one in the world. People traditionally start gathering at about 5 PM, leaving enough time for them to find a place, party, or even play royal vegas casino games on the go while they wait for the show to greet the New Year.
Another fantastic light show in the night sky that’s worth a visit on New Year’s Eve is the one organized in Sydney, Australia. One of the first countries to celebrate the New Year, the skies above its famous Opera House light up at midnight, with thousands of rockets fired from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. And the best part about being there to witness the show is that it falls in the middle of summer (it’s the Southern Hemisphere, so seasons are the opposite of ours), with a median temperature of 22ºC (about 72ºF) for the night.
If you happen to be in London for New Year’s Eve, you will also have the chance to witness an amazing show – but for a price. Due to the high interest in the fireworks, the authorities have decided to ticket the show – people will have to pay £10 (about $15) for a place on the shores of the river Thames. But it’s worth it – the sight of the Eye lighting up, and rockets painting the skies behind the Big Ben is an amazing experience.