Dubai sets world fireworks record, as millions across globe usher in 2014 (VIDEO)
In one of the most spectacular episodes of the global New Year celebrations the world's tallest tower Burj Khalifa turned into a gigantic fireworks launcher, bursting forth an array of colorful lights into the Dubai sky as part of the city’s Guinness World Record bid. The overall fireworks display in the emirate lasted for 6 minutes and spanned 100 kilometers. Almost half a million fireworks were set off from 400 locations using 100 computers.
"It is really mind-blowing, the size of this," said Barrett Wissman, co-chairman of IMG Artists, which managed the Dubai event, AP reported.
The event beat the previous record set by Kuwait in 2011, when more than 70,000 fireworks were let off during an hour-long display.
Watch video of New Year celebrations around the world
One of the most spectacular fireworks displays took place in Australia, where seven tons of explosives lit up the night sky. The show, which attracted around 1.5 million people, included fireworks let off from the Sydney Opera House, something not seen for more than 10 years.
London chose to amaze the 50,000 revellers out on its streets not by the quantity, but by the quality of its New Year display, which included peach snow, edible banana confetti and orange-scented bubbles descending upon the crowd from the sky. The event was described as "the world's first multi-sensory fireworks display."
"A spectacular display of pyrotechnics that you can taste and even smell!” AFP reported London Mayor Boris Johnson as saying. “Where else but London would you get such an experience?”
An estimated one million revellers in Times Square in New York received greetings from space as a huge TV screen projected congratulations from three crewmembers on board the International Space Station.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice and New York native Sonia Sotomayor was this time entrusted with pushing the button to lower the city's legendary 5,500-kilo multicolor time ball, signaling the end of one year and the start of another.
To enjoy the best view, people staked out ground on Times Square
for hours in the freezing cold.
"We've been living on granola bars and little bottles of water because if you move, you lose your spot," Reuters cited Sheila Harshbarger, who traveled to New York from Indiana with her daughter and spent more than 14 hours outside waiting for the midnight show.
A spectacular fireworks display over the Kremlin ushered in the New Year in Moscow, with about 50,000 people out on the streets of the Russian capital.
Five thousand police officers were out on the streets as security was tightened in the wake of this week’s deadly suicide bombings in Volgograd, in southern Russia.
In Ukraine, celebrations at the Maidan (Independence Square), where pro-European integration protesters continue camping out, saw an attempt by the crowd to beat the world record for the most people to sing a national anthem at the same time.
In Japan, millions greeted the New Year at local temples and shrines where, according to tradition, bells rang the customary 108 times to do away with 108 sins, according to Buddhist rites.
In Beijing the main New Year’s celebrations took place at the Badaling part of the Great Wall, which was lit up to form a giant dragon.
One of the most populous celebrations was in Rio de Janeiro, where about 2.3 million people watched 24 tons of fireworks explode in the sky over the Copacabana Beach.
The New Year in Belgium was marked by a landmark win of the
seasonal national lottery. A Belgian citizen, whose name has been
withheld for security reasons, won 13 billion euro in the biggest
win for the country in seven years.
The New Year festivities have also been marked by tragic incidents. One man was killed by fireworks in the Netherlands and another in France, AFP reports.
At least two people were killed and nearly 600 others were injured by fireworks and gunfire in New Year’s celebrations in the Philippines, according to officials cited by AP.
The outgoing year was one of tragic disasters for the Philippines, including the November 8 typhoon which left more than 6,100 dead and nearly 1,800 missing. Popular belief has it that raucous New Year's celebrations drive away evil and misfortune and has led to many Filipinos setting off huge fireworks despite potential dangers.
Watch RT special New Year’s coverage.