SYDNEY – The world began welcoming 2012. Fireworks sparkling in the shape of butterflies, hearts or cascade, had welcomed the new year in the port of Sydney in Australia and in several countries of the South Pacific on Sunday.
Over one and a half million people had massed on the shore or on boats to watch the fireworks over the Harbour Bridge, entitled “Time to Dream” (it is time to dream). “This is to give people the opportunity to dream about the coming year and hope it is a bit better than the year we had,” said Aneurin Coffey, producer of the New Year festivities in Sydney.
For the first time, Samoa in the South Pacific, were the first to celebrate the new year, when they were usually the last. The small islands and Tokelau, neighboring atolls, have indeed jumped this week in time by changing the time zone and simply deleting December 30. At midnight Thursday, it was already midnight Friday and 24 hours later, residents and visitors celebrate 2012, with toasts around pools and beaches.
In New Zealand, the festivities were more muted. Torrential rains and storms caused the cancellation of fireworks provided the capital Wellington, Palmerston North and on the beaches of Mount Maunganui. In Auckland, however, thousands of revelers were able to see the rockets from the Sky Tower.
The Japanese celebrate the end of a painful year, marked by the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 11 March, which killed nearly 20,000 deaths and the nuclear disaster at the plant in Fukushima Dai-ichi.
“For me, the greatest thing that has marked the year is the catastrophe of March,” confirmed Miku Sano, 28, a nursing student in the city of Fukushima. “I honestly did not know what to say to those people who had to fight the disease while living in fear of never being able to go home. The levels of radiation in the city of Fukushima, where I live, are certainly not low and we do not know how this will affect our health in the future. ”
The Japanese have spent part of the day visiting the temples and shrines and pray for the new year. The bells were ringing giant 108 times to purify the world from evil and bring good luck.