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Ushering in the New Year with Fireworks and Other Celebrations in London

The New Year always brings with it the culmination of the past year and great expectations for a brighter future along with an opportunity for people to reflect over the events of the year gone by and make resolutions for the ways that they would like to adopting for changing themselves to ensure a more successful new year that would be full of happiness and peace. The eve of the New Year is therefore a great time to celebrate and these celebrations are held in different cities of the world with varied frenzy and gusto.

London is one of those cities of the world where New Years Eve celebrations are held with great aplomb with the entire city being illuminated with lights especially in areas such as Parliament Square, Big Ben, Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square, Berkeley Street and Piccadilly Circus to welcome the New Year. The New Year’s Parade in the city is a fantastic and spectacular event in which more than 10,000 performers from over 20 countries participate. The parade is witnessed by about half a million people live and on the TV by almost 200 million people. The New Year is ushered in by an eye-catching and spectacular display of fireworks at the South Bank in the background of the Big Ben chiming in the mid night. Similar events also take place at the Westminster Bridge and in Central London.

London is one of the last places in Europe to welcome the New Year due to the time gap between different places and the fact that it is located in Western Europe. It sets the stage for the biggest party of the year and in order to view the night’s fantabulous events, more than 250,000 people throng the Victoria Embankment area of the River Thames where the London Eye and Big Ben are situated, with some people even hiring boats and crowding the surrounding bars. There is bated anticipation as the clocks start ticking towards the zero hour and people even start doing the epic countdown that is accompanied by the chimes of Big Ben. A countdown timer is projected onto Shell Centre and when the Big Ben strikes midnight, there is dramatic eruption of emotions expressed in various forms by the waiting multitude of people.

This is followed by a fantastic 10-minute lightshow and display of fireworks launched at the London Eye, with the Houses of Parliament decorating the backdrop. The fireworks duration at London Celebrations Eve has however been reduced to 8 minutes for the 2010 display resulting in savings of £70,000 for the organisers. During the fireworks displays, a projection is made on the Elizabeth Tower that houses Big Ben. Later on, when the New Year’s day gets under way, the streets of central London come alive with a three-hour parade that features colourful floats, costumed dancers, marching bands and a procession of the Queen’s horses.

During the 2013-2014 fireworks display, smells were introduced that matched the current colours of the fireworks. Packs featuring scratch ‘n’ snuff programmes were distributed to about 100,000 people who were watching the proceedings at strategic viewing locations by the River Thames. The packs also included LED wristbands and seven types of fruit-flavoured sweets that corresponded to the smells and tastes of the multi-sensory display.

Most of the hotels including Park Grand Heathrow hotels in London have special programmes for celebrating the New Year’s Eve with most of them having spectacular lights being used to decorate the hotel premises and special events in the hotels such as fantastic dinners, dances and music and other shows and a general environment of celebrations. It is one of the biggest party nights with a plethora of festivities, fireworks and fun.

The first fireworks display to usher in the New Year took place to celebrate the year 2000 when nearly 3 million people thronged the areas around the Thames to see the spectacular displays. Prior to 2010-2011, the New Year fireworks displays in London had no provisions for music but during the fireworks display on that New Year, a musical soundtrack supplied by BBC was played. The songs played included Queen’s We Will Rock You, The Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and Blur’s Song 2.

A ticketing system has recently been introduced for people who wish to celebrate New Year’s Eve in London watching the fireworks on the Thames. This was necessitated as the organisers wanted to restrict the number of people crowding the area. The ticket cost is £10 and in view of the fact that it will likely be oversubscribed, it is advisable to buy the ticket at an early stage.

Apart from the hotels, every corner of London comes alive with the spirit of the New Year that is celebrated with fireworks and parties. People who are not visiting any specific party come out in the streets of central London in the biting cold to usher in the New Year with a bang. Others watch the fireworks displays at the Thames live on BBC One. People have to plan in advance if they wish to spend the eve in pubs, bars or clubs which are likely to be ticketed with advance booking.

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