Fireworks lit up the skies over Taiwan as revelers rang in 2012 with a flurry of countdown parties and star-studded concerts staged nationwide.
In Taipei, tens of thousands of people crowded the streets around Taipei City Hall and turned Xinyi District (信義) into a big festival celebrating the arrival of the New Year.
The six-hour extravaganza, with the theme “Taipei beats. Let’s party!” featured dazzling displays of light and music, with the highlight of the event being an elaborate fireworks show around the nation’s tallest building and the world’s second-tallest, Taipei 101.
A display of 30,000 fireworks, which cost NT$30 million (US$990,600), were let off over 202 seconds, launched from the top, middle and bottom of the building and featuring various designs of fireworks such as “magic cubes” and waterfalls.
The pattern displayed on top of the building at the end of the fireworks show — “101 TAIWAN” — further attracted rounds of applause and cheers from spectators.
The “101 TAIWAN” pattern was determined through an online vote organized by Taipei 101.
Braving chilly winds and low temperatures, revelers started to gather at Taipei City Hall plaza early yesterday morning as they tried to secure a spot with the best view of the party and the fireworks show.
Some diehard revelers even pitched a tent in front of the concert stage on Friday night and stayed there to secure a prime spot at the celebration.
Attending the concert with three friends, 27-year-old Vivian Cheng said she has been coming to the city’s countdown party for four years and said watching the fireworks show at Taipei 101 with the crowd was a great way to welcome the new year.
“Taipei 101’s New Year fireworks show is as splendid as other famous fireworks shows around the world and I think spending the first moment of a new year by watching the firework show is a must-see experience if you are in Taipei,” she said.
Major MRT stations were already packed with passengers by yesterday afternoon, especially Taipei Main Station and Zhongxiao Fuxing Station.
Popular band Mayday (五月天), a staple at Taipei’s annual New Year’s Eve countdown party, opened the show with a series of songs, followed by other popular performers, including Hong Kong rock band Grasshopper (草蜢) and Taiwanese pop singer Show Luo (羅志祥).
Meanwhile, revelers in Greater Taichung took part in a star-studded countdown party.
Celebrities like Wang Lee-hom (王力宏) and rock band Sodagreen (蘇打綠) celebrated the new year with fans at a party organized by the Greater Taichung City Government.
In the south, a party was held at Tainan High Speed Rail Station, and in Greater Kaohsiung, people celebrated the dawn of the new year with performances and a 180-second fireworks show at Dream Mall.
Chiayi County hosted an Ali-shan New Year Sunrise Concert, while in Pingtung County, revelers headed to Kenting (墾丁) and enjoyed a tropical beach party organized by Kenting National Park Headquarters.
According to the Central Weather Bureau, the arrival of a cold air mass yesterday made it a cold and wet New Year’s Eve in the north, with the temperature hovering around 13oC.
The temperature is forecast to drop to 11oC from today through Thursday in northern Taiwan and 12oC to 13oC in central and southern Taiwan, it said.
With the strengthening of northeast seasonal winds, rain is also expected in northern Taiwan over the first few days of the new year, the bureau added.