2021 New Year’s Celebrations Around the World


Courtesy of CNN

Thousands of people in Wuhan, China gather to celebrate New Years. Although Wuhan was the first place where COVID-19 was found, they were successfully able to handle the virus, leading to a relatively normal celebration of New Years.

Danielle Huizar, Photojournalist

After the year 2020, almost everyone around the world was ecstatic to see it end because of the multiple chaotic events that unfortunately occurred. To signify the new year many celebrations consisting of parties, fireworks, and different cultural events occur around the world; however, the spread of COVID-19 drastically affected many countries’ New Year’s Celebrations.

During a normal year, the streets of New York City would be packed with thousands of people from around the world waiting to see the Times Square ball drop; however, this year was entirely different, as the iconic event was closed to the public. Instead, only 40 frontline workers and their families were allowed to see this event because of their hard work during the pandemic. Paul Nebb, an EMT, was “really happy to be [there] as one of the select few who get to kick 2020 out the door.” Those frontline workers got to experience live performances from many acclaimed musicians, such as Gloria Gayner and Andra Day, while everyone else was able to view this event virtually or on TV (newyork.cbslocal.com).

In Wuhan, China, the city where COVID-19 originated from, hundreds of people filled the streets in front of Hankow Customs House building where it is a tradition to cheer when the building’s clock hits midnight. Wuhan has been somewhat COVID-free for months which allowed for this event to occur, but there have been recent spikes in other parts of China. To be cautious, security looked over the crowd and enforced masks to mitigate the potential spread of the virus to those attending the event (cnn.com)

South Africans held a vigil in remembrance of those lost due to COVID-19. The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, encouraged his country to light a candle “at exactly midnight on New Year’s Eve in memory of those who have lost their lives and in tribute to those who are on the frontline working to save our lives and protect us from harm.” Also, with the rise in COVID-19 in South Africa, the normal celebration at Mary Fitzgerald Square that attracts thousands of people was deemed as a superspreader and canceled (sabcnews.com).

As cases started to rise in Germany, the German health minister, Jens Spahn, imposed a strict lockdown before New Years’ until January 10, 2021. Like many other countries, bars, restaurants, and stores were closed, and Spahn encouraged his country to celebrate from home and expected the “New Years Eve” in modern history (dw.com).

Having “beaten” COVID-19, New Zealand had the most normal celebration of the New Year compared to other countries. Thousands of people went to the streets of Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, to view an astounding display of fireworks and celebrate the new year. To continue their lack of COVID-19 cases, Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, continues to have a strict quarantine policy for people entering the country from other countries (washingtonpost.com).

Because of the rise of COVID-19 cases in California, most Yorba Linda High School students enjoyed the new year at home. Joyce Lin (11) “stayed at home with her family” and “enjoyed watching the fireworks through the TV.” Although we are living through heavy lockdowns and seeing an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases, Americans can look to other countries and remain hopeful that sometime soon we will be living our normal lives once again.