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Hot, happy new year
Rio loves to party the year round but this New Year's Eve (or Reveillion) is going to be special. Copacabana leads the parties, with fireworks that last over 20 minutes and music shows. The countdown to midnight will open with the launch of the 2016 Olympics logo, followed by a video and a light and laser show. The fireworks follow a special blackout on the beach, lasting a few seconds. Revellers traditionally dress in white to symbolize renewal and locals can be spotted throwing flowers or small mementos into the surf (custom says that if the items aren't returned, the wish will be granted. ) The beach is packed but has loads of atmosphere.
Ko Pha Ngan, a stunningly beautiful island in Thailand, hosts its famous full-moon party on December 31. As many as 30, 000 people gather on the Haad Rin beach to drink out of buckets (yes, buckets filled with a cocktail of Red Bull, Coke and vodka or whisky), and dance to live music until sunrise and well after. It is believed that the party started sometime in the late 1980s when someone's birthday bash and was so great that they started coming back each month. The party grew as more travellers heard about it. When you're done celebrating, there is a choice sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving. Island-hopping is another great pastime since nearby Koh Samui and Koh Tao are beautiful.
CARNIVAL IN CAPE
Cape Town rings in the New Year with sun and surf. Celebrations begin on December 31 with a street party along the Victoria and Albert Waterfront which is filled with bars and performers. The Table Mountain is a great backdrop for fireworks. Festivities continue throughout January with The Cape Minstrel Carnival. Held annually for more than 150 years, it is attended by over 80, 000 people who watch as thousands of brightly dressed minstrels - with their faces painted in a variety of colours - storm the streets of the city centre singing traditional songs, spinning umbrellas and playing banjos in a raucous parade like nothing else on earth. Those looking to celebrate sans crowds can take a cable car to the top of Table Mountain for a view of the glittering city below.
GOODBYE DOWN UNDER
Sydney's midnight fireworks are the centerpiece of celebrations and part of the fun is the lead-up to getting a good spot to view them. People set up camp in the early afternoon by the water and spend the afternoon picnicking. It's also one of the most beautiful views in the world: the famous bridge, the opera house, the clear water. Enjoy the suspense as everyone guesses what this year's design on the bridge will be. Falling angels, double hearts, crescent moons and lightning bolts are just some of the pyrotechnic shapes that are being mooted in the lead-up to Sydney's biggest party. You could also see in the New Year in Melbourne! Sydney's rival city has its own spectacular fireworks at the Southbank and a wide array of funky restaurants and bars to spend the night in.
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