What do you picture when you think of New Year’s Eve celebrations? For the United States, the Times Square Ball comes to mind. But that isn’t necessarily the focus elsewhere. For example, Southern California looks toward New Year’s Day with the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena and the Rose Bowl, the oldest bowl game in American college football, first played in 1902. For others, celebrations center on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, ritualistic parades in Romania, "wishing spheres" in Singapore and even “polar bear” swims in frigid water in Russia.
Whether it’s the traditional garb of a region and culture, swimsuits, or those cheesy New Year's glasses that we all thought would disappear after 2009, people around the world put on their best to ring in the New Year.
Preparations for global New Year’s Eve celebrations have been nonstop around the world over the past few days. In New York, technicians check and recheck the Times Square Ball to ensure it’s ready for countdown time. Workers arrange “wishing spheres” in Singapore and preparations continue in Burma, Berlin and other places around the globe.
Take a peek at New Year’s Eve preparations in the photos below.
Students stand to form "Happy 2014" to welcome the upcoming New Year at a middle school in Ma'anshan, Anhui province. Reuters/China Daily
People walk along a street as they do their last-minute New Year's shopping in the Ameyoko shopping district in Tokyo, Dec. 30, 2013. Reuters/Yuya Shino
Members of the "Cryophil" winter swimming club walk along the Yenisei River holding a Christmas tree, during a New Year celebration in air temperatures of minus 5 degrees Celcius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Dec. 29, 2013. Reuters/Ilya Naymushin
Gurung girls wearing traditional costumes dance while taking part in a New Year parade in Kathmandu, Dec. 30, 2013. Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
Gurung girls wearing traditional costumes watch a passing New Year parade from inside a cafe in Kathmandu, Dec. 30, 2013. Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar
People from Romania's northeastern region of Moldova take part in a traditional parade, a ritual for good luck in the New Year, in Comanesti, 300 km (186 miles) northeast of Bucharest, Dec. 30, 2013. Reuters/Bogdan Cristel
A worker prepares for a New Year countdown party at Yangon, Dec. 30, 2013 Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun
A dancer from Romania's northeastern region of Moldova performs the "bear" dance, a ritual for good luck in the New Year, during a traditional parade in Comanesti, 300 km northeast of Bucharest, Dec. 30, 2013. Reuters/Bogdan Cristel
Environment group members wearing gas masks protest against the use of air-polluting firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices in the coming New Year revelry during a rally in Quezon city, metro Manila, Dec. 30, 2013. Reuters/Romeo Ranoco
A woman walks past a rack of novelty 2014 glasses on sale in Times Square, ahead of New Year's Eve in New York, Dec. 29, 2013. Reuters/Carlo Allegri
The ball that will drop at midnight is pictured in Times Square ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations in New York. Reuters/Carlo Allegri
Volunteers work on the City of Alhambra's Tournament of Roses Parade float in Pasadena, Calif., Dec. 29, 2013. The 125th Rose Parade will take place in Pasadena on New Year's Day. Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn
People walk near a stage set up for New Year's Eve celebrations at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Dec. 30, 2013. Reuters/Thomas Peter
Workers walk along a floating platform while arranging "wishing spheres" along Marina Bay in Singapore, Dec. 30, 2013. People penned their wishes for the new year onto the spheres before placing them into the river. Reuters/Low Youjin
A reveler (unseen) writes "2014" with sparklers ahead of New Year's Eve, in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Dec. 30, 2013. Reuters/Benoit Tessier