New Year’s Eve is a pretty fun holiday in that it is celebrated worldwide, every hour, for 24 hours. It isn’t just New York City that hosts a giant party to ring in the new year — major cities all over the globe put on massive celebrations. From Sydney to Chicago, from Paris to Vancouver, there are a ton of options for year-end merrymaking. London traditionally has one of the grandest celebrations, and here’s how to watch the renowned fireworks display as we ring in 2020.
BBC One live streams the fireworks on its website and on YouTube, which is embedded below. The London festivities kick off at 7:30 p.m. London time on December 31 and wrap up with the huge fireworks display over the Thames River that ends at 12:15 a.m.
In addition to the pyrotechnics, U.K. music sensation Craig David will be performing a live concert on stage at London’s Central Hall Westminster.
“I can’t think of a better way to see in the New Year and New Decade than performing and celebrating with you all. It’s going to be a night to remember!” said David in a statement, with the HEad of BBC Music TV Jan Younghusband adding, “Craig is famous for his blistering live sets, so I’m thrilled that he will be ringing in New Year by performing live for BBC One viewers.”
BBC One will also feature New Year’s Eve programming with medical drama Holby City, Dame Edna Rules the Waves, and The Graham Norton Show: New Year’s Eve Show. Then after the Craig David show and the fireworks, the channel will re-broadcast Kevin Bridges’ 2018 comedy special.
Londonites also have many prix fixe New Year’s meals to choose from, a plethora of parties, and some New Year’s Eve theatre options that include The Phantom of the Opera, The Book of Mormon, Disney’s The Lion King, Wicked, Come from Away, & Juliet, Death of a Salesman, Matilda the Musical, Tina — The Tina Turner Musical, Les Miserables, 9 to 5 the Musical, Cyrano de Bergerac, Noises Off, Waitress, Ian McKellen On Stage, The Play That Goes Wrong, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, Mamma Mia, The Woman in Black, Thriller Live, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Only Fools and Horses — The Musical, Magic Goes Wrong, A Christmas Carol, School of Rock, Curtains, Ghost Stories, The Nutcracker, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, White Christmas, Disney on Ice, Billionaire Boy, Witness for the Prosecution, Magic Mike Live!, Amelie, Snowflake, Fame, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Great Gatsby, and the longest-running play in history, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, which has been running continuously in London’s West End since its debut in 1952.
New Year’s Eve marks the end of a calendar year on the Gregorian calendar, the calendar first introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom it is named. Most countries celebrate the final day the year with parties, social gatherings, festivals, and/or fireworks. It goes by many names the world over, including Hogmanay in Scotland, Calennig in Wales, Baharu in Indonesia and Malaysia, Silvester in many European countries, Reveillon in France, Portugal, and Brazil, Kanun Novodgo Goda in Russia, and Omisoka in Japan.
Kiritimati, Tonga, and New Zealand are some of the first places to celebrate New Year’s Eve because they are located just west of the International Date Line, while the U.S.’ Baker Island is one of the last places to celebrate because it is just east of the International Date Line. Interestingly, because of the way the International Date Line jogs around a bit, Kiritimati is actually east of Baker Island.
In the United States, New Year’s is traditionally celebrated with parties and “drops,” the most famous of which is the ball drop held in New York City’s Times Square. But there are dozens of other “drops” held across the country, including a conch drop in Key West, Florida; a peach drop in Atlanta; an Indy car drop in Indianapolis; an acorn drop in Raleigh, North Carolina; a moon pie drop in Mobile, Alabama; a fleur-de-lis drop in New Orleans, a “Glowtato” drop in Boise, Idaho; and a tortilla chip drop in Tempe, Arizona, which is tied in to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl game of college football.
New York also rings in the new year with a “Midnight Run” around Central Park that includes a fireworks show. Other fireworks displays around the country include shows at the Disney theme parks, the Las Vegas strip, and the Chicago “Chi-Town Rising” event.