World Welcomes 2000
Spectacular celebrations around the globe to welcome the 21st century

By Karen Shomo

The world threw a bash and billions of people took part. From tiny Millennium Island in the South Pacific to a fantastic fireworks extravaganza in London the Year 2000 came in with a bang.

Millions watched fireworks explode in the sky overhead, while those who didn’t even venture outside their homes were treated to the display thanks to the technology of television. Billions watched the New Year ring in over and over again, from time zone to time zone as round-the-clock New Year parties were broadcast on most major networks.

Despite fears of Y2K computer bugs and potential terrorist actions, celebrations around the world went smoothly. The 21st century arrived without incident in of the world’s 24 time zones.

The first place to see the Year 2000 was a tiny uninhabited island of the South Pacific. Filled with revelers who traveled for days to see the first sunrise Millennium Island celebrated with traditional Micronesian dance and song. The year 2000 arrived at 5a.m. EST on December 31,1999 and the parties around the world began.

  • Sydney, Australia was the first major city to bring in the New Year and the city down under had the world’s longest fireworks display. The city’s waterfront exploded in fireworks as 18 three-story lanterns floated down the harbor. More than a million joined the celebration on the shoreline as the area exploded with lights, lasers and fireworks for nearly a half-hour.
  • Tokyo, Japan rang in the New Year with a traditional ceremony, where Buddhist monk strikes temple bell 108 times to dispel evils of past year. A modern party followed- a 24-hour pop concerts.
  • Moscow, Russia lays claim to the worlds longest New Year celebration because the country spans 11 time zones. Crowds gathered in Tiananmen Square to hear the clock toll midnight while many others rang in the New Year at home with family.
  • Paris, France lived up to its name, the City of Light, as 20,000 bulbs on the Eiffel Tower sparked a cascade of fireworks, which were installed by mountain climbers. One small hitch in the celebration, the clock on the tower stopped working five hours before midnight because of some technical glitch. The clock had been running non-stop for 1,000 days leading up to the New Year—that’s about three years—after all that planning it didn’t keep ticking till midnight.
  • London, England threw a bash worthy of a queen, Queen Elizabeth II that is. The Queen lead a group of 10,000 at the new Millennium Dome and the city exploded in celebration. The River Thames became a "river of fire" as the fireworks traveled down the river and exploded overhead when Big Ben struck midnight.

DATE: 1/1/2000

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