World welcomes New Year 2023 – as it happened – DW – 01/01/2023

  • Revelers ready for parties with no pandemic restrictions
  • Fireworks displays will be held in some parts for the first time since 2019
  • Germany’s Olaf Scholz calls for greater unity in his New Year message
  • Natural disasters and conflicts will mean muted celebrations in parts of the world, including Ukraine

All updates in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

New Year’s celebrations around the world

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0500: Despite some horrendous weather, tens of thousands of people packed into New York’s Times Square.

It’s the first large New Year’s gathering without restrictions in Time Square.

Partygoers watched the world-famous ball drop as they counted down to the new year.

South of the border Mexico also celebrated New Year, meaning 2023 is now truly underway in North America.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will host US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Mexico for the North American Leaders’ Summit in just over a week.

0400: The year 2023 has reached the Caribbean.

Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Haiti are ringing in the new year.

US President Joe Biden is also celebrating 2023, slightly ahead of the rest of his country. Biden and his wife Jill arrived in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands on Tuesday, celebrating the new year with their family.

The new year has also kicked off in the most eastern parts of Canada.

0300: ​​​​Revelers were celebrating the beginning of the new year on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach.

Fireworks at the Copacabana beach in Rio de JaneiroImage: Aline Massuca/REUTERS

Brazil is also expecting the inauguration of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva a few hours from now. In addition, football fans will gather in Santos on Monday to bid farewell to Pele, the country’s most famous football export.

Lula’s swearing-in will cap a remarkable political comeback for the 77-year-old, who returns to the presidential palace in Brasilia less than five years after being jailed on controversial, since-quashed corruption charges.

Around 300,000 people are expected at the ceremony and a massive concert that will feature acts ranging from samba legend Martinho da Vila to drag queen Pabllo Vittar.

Other South American nations ringing in the new year include Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Fireworks explode over the Elizabeth Tower and the London Eye in the UK capital
London welcomed the new year with a 12-minute firework displayImage: Aaron Chown/dpa/picture alliance

0000: The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland have seen in the new year, with huge firework displays in London, Manchester, Cardiff and Edinburgh – where the annual Hogmanay party is in full swing. Dublin’s display at the North Wall Quay attracted some 16,000 revelers.

In his new year message, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak admitted the country has had a tough 12 months due to political and economic woes and its problems will not “go away” in 2023.

But he believed that the coronation of King Charles III in May will help bring the country together.

It also just became 2023 in Iceland, Portugal and Spain’s Canary Islands.

In Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Senegal are among the countries ringing in the new year.

2306: An hour into 2023, Ukraine is reporting fresh explosions around its capital, Kyiv.

Kyiv city and regional officials said on the Telegram messaging app that air defense systems were working.

It was not immediately known whether any targets were hit.

2300: It’s officially 2023 in Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Stockholm, Belgrade and Warsaw among other European capitals.

Several African countries, including Morocco, Algeria, Nigeria, Ghana and Angola are also welcoming the new year.

In his New Year address, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that 2022 was not “purely one of war, suffering and worry.” He said the government was “making our country and Europe independent of Russian gas for the long term,” and vowed to keep up aid for Ukraine.

Scholz’ New Year speech focuses on Ukraine

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Berlin hotels reported a 90% occupancy ahead of the midnight fireworks at the Brandenburg Gate — the first since the pandemic.

President Emmanuel Macron also vowed France’s continued support for Ukraine “until victory.” He called on the French public to keep up their energy-saving efforts but warned that 2023 would be the year that pension reform is implemented.

Around half a million people have gathered in Paris for the first new year fireworks since 2019.

Sweden takes over the rotating EU presidency on Sunday and promised to broker a joint EU response next week to COVID testing for travelers from China amid concern over the country’s explosion of infections.

Midnight in Zagreb was also the moment that Croatia dropped its kuna currency and adopted the euro, becoming the eurozone’s 20th member.

2200: A curfew is in place in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, tonight as it rings in 2023. Russia recently increased its attacks on Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, which prompted the stay-at-home order.

Several people hold sparklers during a New Year celebration in Kyiv, Ukraine, on December 31, 2022
Several Kyiv residents lit sparklers next to a Christmas tree ahead of the night curfewImage: Valentyn Ogirenko/REUTERS

Ahead of midnight, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said 2023 would be the “year of our victory.”

“Wishing for miracles today? Ukrainians have been creating them for a long time,” he wrote on Telegram and posted a photo of himself and his wife Olena in front of a modestly decorated Christmas tree.

Other nations now ringing in the new year include Egypt, Libya, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

2100: Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain have welcomed the new year, along with Moscow, Russia and several East African countries including Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

Iran marked the beginning of 2023 half an hour earlier.

2000: The United Arab Emirates, including the playground for the wealthy Dubai, has just welcomed 2023. Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, which put on an amazing fireworks display.

1900: India has entered the new year. People gathered with friends and family to celebrate in Mumbai.

Lit up sea promenade in Mumbai during New Year's Eve
People gathered at Mumbai’s sea promenade to welcome the new yearImage: Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images

1800: Croatia is set to adopt the euro as its currency and join the Schengen area in 2023.

Croatia, which acceded to the EU in 2013, will abandon the kuna currency and join the bloc’s free movement zone at midnight local time (2300 GMT).

Meanwhile, dozens of cities in the western Balkan country canceled New Year fireworks over concerns about the damaging effects of noise and gases on animals and people.

The capital Zagreb replaced its fireworks show with confetti, visual effects and music, and the southwestern port town of Rijeka aimed to redirect fireworks funds to animal care associations.

Three women raise cardboard cups at New Year celebrations in Fuzine, Croatia
The southwestern Croatian town of Fuzine has been holding its New Year celebrations at noon for more than 20 yearsImage: Goran Kovacic/PIXSELL/picture alliance

The town of Fuzine in southwestern Croatia held New Year celebrations at noon, a tradition that goes back a little over 20 years.

1700: 2023 will be the year of the rabbit, according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

The lunar new year starts on January 22.

Lit blue rabbit symbol at Pagoda Park, Nanjiang, Jiangsu, China
2023 will be the year of the rabbit according to the Chinese lunar calendarImage: CFOTO/picture alliance

It is now past midnight in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, which celebrate both the solar and lunar new year.

1500: Chinese President Xi Jinping said that his country “stands on the right side of history” in his New Year’s address.

He said that the “world is not at peace,” but that Beijing will “steadfastly advocate peace and development.”

China’s leader said that the country was entering a “new phase” in its management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chinese authorities abolished the country’s zero-COVID policy earlier in December.

Light show at West Tour Park, Huai'an, Jiangsu, China
The city of Huai’an in the eastern Jiangsu province held a light show over its West Tour ParkImage: CFOTO/picture alliance

Meanwhile, celebrations are being held at the Great Wall in Beijing.

In Shanghai, authorities said traffic will be stopped along the waterfront Bund area to allow pedestrians to gather.

However, they said there would be no formal activities held there. The Bund was the site of a deadly stampede on New Year’s Eve in 2014. Some 36 people died after hundreds of thousands gathered to celebrate there.

Shanghai Disneyland will also hold a fireworks show for the New Year.

Fireworks display over Harbor Bridge in Sydney, Australia
Australia’s largest city held a fireworks display over its Harbor Bridge to celebrate the New YearImage: Bianca De Marchi/AAP/dpa/picture alliance

1300: The Australian city of Sydney put on a night to remember with a dazzling fireworks display at the stroke of midnight.

Organizers predicted that a crowd of more than a million people would gather in the city’s harbor area, after two years of pandemic restrictions and muted celebrations.

“We have had a couple of fairly difficult years; we’re absolutely delighted this year to be able to welcome people back,” city producer of major events Stephen Gilby told The Sydney Morning Herald.

1100: The island nations of Samoa and New Zealand celebrated as they counted down to 2023. In Auckland, large crowds thronged below the Sky Tower, where a countdown to midnight gave way to a fireworks display.

An hour earlier, the Line Islands in the Kiribati atoll were among the first places on the planet to welcome the new year.

These live updates have now concluded.

lo,mm,kb/ar,wd,dj (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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