New York, Jan 1 – Thousands of people bid farewell to 2018 and welcomed 2019 amid rain at the emblematic Times Square in New York, accompanied by a colourful cloud of confetti and the drop of the iconic crystal ball.
The ball, which is more than three and a half meters in diameter, slid down during the last 60 seconds of 2018 in the midst of shouting and applause from the crowd, after which Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” boomed out, reports Efe news.
Up to 1 million people, according to the organisers, gathered to celebrate the arrival of the new year in a final climax of confetti, lights and fireworks, after witnessing a six-hour dance and music show during which there was a fine but persistent rain.
Traditionally, part of the confetti used is filled with the wishes that many visitors to Times Square write in the last days of the year. Some of them were read out by celebrities such as American comedian Steve Harvey.
Dressed in hats, with purple and yellow balloons and red scarves distributed by the organisers, many participants welcomed 2019, as tradition dictates, with a “midnight kiss”, a ritual that, according to the superstition, avoids 365 days of solitude.
From before noon and with strong security measures, participants gathered to celebrate the event, which they were not allowed to enter with backpacks, large bags or umbrellas.
The long wait of the attendees, who were not provided with public restrooms – some go with diapers – was livened up by the performances of Paulina Rubio, Sting, Christina Aguilera, New Kids on The Block and Snoop Dogg as well as the appearance of some celebrities and television hosts like model Jenny McCarthy.