2016: New Celebrations for a New Year

The Year 2016 is here, and what a packed year it will be! The New Year celebrations in Times Square and the 127th Annual Rose Parade in Pasadena California were both spectacular, a fitting conclusion to the “International Year of Light” and a wonderful way to usher in 2016.

The year 2015 was full of amazing achievements concerning arts and entertainment, with numerous box office successes and the release of new music albums by popular artists. The New Year- 2016- is pumped of high expectations for the latest in pop culture. And it all started with New Year’s Eve in Times Square. The celebrations sure kicked off 2016 with a bang!

New Year’s Eve in America is always celebrated with concerts full of great music and strutting celebrities, all under a fantastic fireworks display, and this year was no exception. In Miami, Florida Pitbull once again performed some of his greatest hits for an enthusiastic crowd. The free concert, called “Pitbull’s New Year’s Eve Revolution 2015”, was a nonstop celebration that spanned more than four hours; beginning at 8pm in the evening and lasting till 12:30am on New Year’s Day. The concert was attended by tens of thousands and watched by millions more around the globe.

Performer Pitbull at Times Square on New Year's Eve. (NBC)
Performer Pitbull at Times Square on New Year’s Eve. (NBC)

In New York, there were innumerable events going on, but at twelve o’clock, the eyes of the world focused on Times Square to watch the ball solemnly descend the flagpole at the stroke of midnight, signaling the dawn of a new year. The history of the ball drop is quite long, since in 1907 it made its “maiden descent from the flagpole atop One Times Square” (Times Square). As a tribute to 2015 came to a close and the clock approached midnight, the masses began chanting “5….4….3….2….1!” It was magical to watch, and I imagine it was surreal to the million people who were there. Tourists flock to New York’s Times Square just to witness the ultimate New Year’s celebration, and I believe the experience is totally worthwhile. Seeing people from all walks of life unite in one place to celebrate their hopes and dreams of a better future should inspire us to persevere through the struggles of daily life. And to welcome in the New Year, the festivities continued early in the morning in California.

Early Friday morning, the 127th Annual Rose Parade began at 8am PST, with thousands already lining Colorado Boulevard. People from all over the country and around the world flocked to Pasadena just to glimpse the grandeur of the Rose Parade. For some, this year marks the continuation of an annual tradition, while for others it is a first encounter and a new experience. Hundreds camped around the five and a half mile route, hoping to guarantee good seats for their families. This year’s Rose Parade was presented by Honda, and featured 44 wonderfully decorated floats and 20 marching bands. Honda themed this years’ Rose Parade: “Find Your Adventure”, and the floats surely reflected this message.

A float presented at the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA. (NBC)
A float presented at the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA. (NBC)

The were some truly iconic floats. PBS’s Downton Abbey themed float was truly a ‘masterpiece’, and did justice to the famed Highclere Castle where the program is filmed. “Among those confirmed to ride the float is cast member Elizabeth McGovern” (pbs.org). McGovern’s appearance on the float was applauded by the crowds. Then there was Disney, which dazzled viewers with its “Diamond Celebration” Star Wars themed float. The exquisite detail seen in all aspects of the float -especially the Millennium Falcon- gave me a new appreciation for the hundreds of volunteers that made the Rose Parade possible. There was even a squad of stormtroopers sent to protect the intergalactic wonder.

New Year’s Eve Celebrations and the 127th Rose Parade were both dazzling. These New Year celebrations were undoubtedly a spectacle to remember and hopefully left viewers feeling optimistic about the future to come.