Feature

Australia: Forced to party hard on New Year’s

Every year, as people all over the world watch TV on New Year&rsquo;s Eve, the first midnight celebration they see is beamed from Sydney, said Charles Purcell in <em>The Age.</em>

Charles PurcellThe Age

Sydney is burdened by the international date line, said Charles Purcell. Every year, as people all over the world watch TV on New Year’s Eve, the first midnight celebration they see is beamed from Sydney. An estimated 1 billion people watched the Sydney fireworks this year. It’s a responsibility the city takes far, far too seriously.

“Every year we are promised bigger and better fireworks, the best fireworks ever, fireworks shaped like stars, fireworks shaped like Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, fireworks that, like a solar eclipse, can only be viewed through a specially crafted set of goggles.” Hundreds of thousands pack the streets, angling for the best views. And for what?

Sure it was amazing “the first time. And the second time. And the third time.” But eventually, a jaded Sydney resident like me gets sick of the whole thing. “Must we buy a foam hat shaped like a kangaroo” every year and parade it in front of the cameras? “Is it written in the constitution that we must party on or party hard” just to convince foreign viewers that Australia is the party capital of the globe? Next year, I may “opt out of the fireworks arms race” altogether and “flee the city.”

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