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New Year's Eve 2012: The World Celebrates 2013

Revelers count down to 2013 near the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, where thousands gathered for the city's first public countdown to the New Year.
AFP/Getty Images
Revelers count down to 2013 near the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, where thousands gathered for the city's first public countdown to the New Year.

It is New Year's Eve. And that means people will: go to parties and drink Champagne; ignore the hubbub and go to bed by 10; start cooking for New Year's Day; watch college football — or possibly some combination of the above.

You can see celebrations around the world by checking out a special photo feed on Instagram. The site shifts timezones to mark the latest to ring in the new year.

For many, the center of attention tonight will be New York's Times Square, where the famed ball will drop from atop its 130-foot pole. More than 1 billion people are expected to watch the event on TV or online.

As NPR's Margot Adler reports for today's All Things Considered, the preparations in Times Square range from holding a "confetti test" to stockpiles of red scarves (a nod to the Chinese Year of the Snake, which begins Feb. 10).

We have a roundup of other New Year's Eve stories below — but first, here's a video feed of the scene in Times Square, which goes live at 6 p.m. ET. From what we understand, it will lack commercials. But — and we apologize — the video does play automatically:

More about the festivities around the world, and the Internet:

In Spain, they eat 12 green grapes and wear red undies — as reported on NPR's The Salt.

New Year's Eve is huge in Russia, partly because the Soviet era put the ixnay on Christmas Day celebrations. It's time for tangerines, vodka, pickles, and more (Russia and India Report).

Getting rid of the old years is an act most emphatically performed in Ecuador, where effigies representing "the old years" are burned — "an other-worldly sight of thousands of burning dummies and a sky filled with smoke and fireworks. Think Danté's hell. Think Mad Max. Think Happy New Year," reports Cuenca High Life.

New Year's Day is also the time to make resolutions; many NPR readers shared their plans via Facebook and Twitter. Major themes: cutting down on gadgets, connecting with people, and starting new projects/jobs/exercise regimens.

It seems that if you're on Twitter, you probably don't make resolutions — you just make a 2013 bucket list.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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