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How SA saw in the new century

Sunday Mail, p. 9 - 2 January 2000

Adelaide; Advertiser-News Weekend Publishing co.

Newspaper, 410 x 300 mm

Location : State Library of South Australia - view catalogue entry

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Despite conjecture about whether the year 2000 was really the beginning of the new millennium or not, and concern that the computer systems of the world would crash because of the Y2K bug, the new millennium was celebrated around the world on 1 January 2000.

The first inhabited place to greet the year 2000 was the Pacific nation of Kiribati. The country had officially shifted the International Date Line to the east on 1 January 1995 to remove the 23-hour time difference between some of its islands and to make sure the new year started there. Kiribati celebrated on the newly named Millennium Island with singing, dancing and a fiery torch carried by a dugout canoe.

Celebrations around the world had their own distinctive styles. Sydney celebrated with the biggest fireworks display the city had ever seen. The festivities centred on the Harbour where more than a million people lined the shore and 7000 vessels took to the water. In London 2 million revellers watched Big Ben’s illuminated face strike 12 and the Thames become a ‘river of flame’ with fireworks. Earlier in the evening the Queen opened the much-hyped Millennium Dome at Greenwich. More than one million New Yorkers filled Times Square to watch the traditional lit ball falling at midnight. In Rome the Pope delivered his traditional blessing over the crowd of thousands in St Peter’s Square and welcomed in the Holy Year 2000. Paris celebrated with eleven multi-coloured Ferris wheels glowing along the Champs Elysees and fireworks around the Eiffel Tower.

China celebrated the beginning of the Year of the Dragon, the luckiest year of the Chinese zodiac, despite the fact that traditional Chinese New Year usually falls sometime in February. The monks of a Buddhist temple in Shanghai rang its bell a sacred 108 times, representing the number of human weaknesses Buddhists will try to avoid in the New Year. In India too celebrations occurred even though the year 2000 had already passed on the Hindu calendar. The Dalai Lama, with thousands of Buddhist and Hindu monks, held prayers on the banks of the Ganges. Samoa was the last peopled landmass to enter the year 2000. About 1000 visitors welcomed the New Year with locals in the tiny village of Falealupo on the western coast of the largest Samoan island of Savai’i.


Further reading


BBC special feature: millennium celebrations

BBC News: millennium celebrations

ABC (US) News: millennium celebrations

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