On Saturday, 8 billion people around the world prepare to welcome 2023, a farewell to a tumultuous year that saw war in Ukraine, record inflation and Lionel Messi lead his country to victory at the World Cup in Qatar.
For many, this will be an occasion to shake off the memories of record inflation rates around the world and the Covid-19 crisis, which is slowly being forgotten, but not actually disappearing.
In Australia, Sydney will be one of the first major cities to announce a New Year’s Day shift, thereby reclaiming the title of “New Year’s Capital of the World” after witnessing closures and limited celebrations over the past two years due to the outbreak. mutated Omicron.
Since then, the Australian borders have been reopened and more than a million people are expected to flock to Sydney Harbor to watch the city’s sky light up with more than a hundred thousand fireworks. Nearly half a billion people will watch the show online or on television, according to local authorities.
From noon, hundreds of people take the best places for the parade. Crowds are growing in front of the Sydney Opera House as many carry umbrellas to keep out the sun, including David Hugh-Paterson (52), who says: “It’s been a very good year for us, we’ve been free of Covid, Wonderful .”
“If we can bring the whole world together at a party and welcome the coming year with renewed optimism and joy, then we will succeed,” said fireworks organizer Fortunato Foti.
The festivities are helping to heal the negative feelings left after 2022, when Queen Elizabeth II, football legend Pele, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died.
This year also saw mass layoffs following the pandemic crisis and slaps at the Oscars, as well as a decline in billionaire fortunes due to the deteriorating value of cryptocurrencies.
But above all, the world will always remember 2022 because it witnessed the return of war to Europe with the Russian military operation in Ukraine.
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, over 300 days, about 7,000 civilians were killed and about 10,000 injured.
16 million Ukrainians were forced to leave their homes. For those who remain, their daily lives are marked by frequent power outages, Russian bombing raids, and curfews from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
Everyone is living this conflict in their own way, as some pray silently and others celebrate, in steps designed to kick-start the general resistance.
In the east, Russia doesn’t seem to be in a position to have fun. Moscow has canceled its traditional fireworks displays after the city’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, asked residents how they would like to move in for the New Year.
Irina Shapovalova, 51, a kindergarten worker, said Muscovites’ only wish was for “a peaceful sky overhead.”
Despite everything, the Russian National Television and Radio Company (VGTRK) promised to air a program that would reflect “the atmosphere of the New Year, despite the changes in the country and in the world.”
However, this year the series will be shown without the usual artists and star presenter Maxim Galkin, who lives in exile after he condemned the war in Ukraine and has since been considered a “foreign agent”.
There is also a massive outbreak of Covid-19 in eastern China, with vaccination allowing people all over the world to live a near-normal life.
Beijing abruptly abandoned its “zero Covid” policy at the beginning of the month, followed immediately by a spike in infections. While hospitals are overflowing and crematoriums are overflowing, New Year’s Eve celebrations will take place in countless pubs, theaters and malls across the country.
On the other hand, the Shanghai authorities have announced that celebrations will not be held on the city’s famous waterfront.