New Year's Eve: A by-the-numbers look at the year's biggest party

It's one of the biggest parties of the year — and is never fashionably late. As the world prepares to ring in 2016, we count down New Year's Eve by the numbers.

From 2,000 pounds of confetti to 7 tonnes of fireworks, here's what it takes to ring in the new year

Fireworks light up the London skyline and Big Ben just after midnight on Jan. 1, 2015. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

By now the champagne is chilled, the noisemakers purchased and the Aspirin at the ready.

As we prepare to say goodbye to 2015, billions around the world welcome Jan. 1 with one of the biggest parties of the year.

Since New Year's Eve is all about counting down, here's a by-the-numbers look at how we mark the annual event:

Celebrations in New York's Times Square

Confetti is dropped on revellers at midnight during New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square in New York on Jan. 1, 2014. (Gary Hershorn/Reuters)

The ball drop in Times Square is one of the world's most recognizable Dec. 31 celebrations.

  • One million people fill the square annually to watch the ball drop.
  • More than one billion additional people around the world tune in to watch the event on TV.
  • 907 kilograms of confetti will be dropped on revellers as the clock strikes midnight.
  • 5,386 kilograms is the weight of the star of the show, the famed New Year's Eve ball. It also measures 3.6 metres in diameter.
  • 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles decorate the ball, in addition to the 32,256 LEDs that illuminate it. Together they can display more than 16 millioncolours and billions of patterns meant to create a "kaleidoscope" effect from the ball's perch high above Times Square.
Electricians Jason Andrle and Nick Bonavita install Waterford Crystal triangles on the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball. (Pearl Gabel/Reuters)
  • 1907: The first year the ball dropped, when the sphere — then made of iron and wood — weighed just 317 kilograms.
  • Zero public restrooms available for those in the Square.
  • $400: The cost of entry to the Olive Garden, one of only three restaurants listed as having a view of the ball on the Times Square website. That ticket will give you access to an open bar, a DJ and full buffet that, oddly, will not feature the chain's signature breadsticks.

  • 6,000 police officers will be guarding Times Square on New Year's Eve, a larger presence than past years due to the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif.
More than 6,000 officers on duty to police New Year's celebrations 2:20

Fireworks in Sydney

Half a world away, Australia's largest city gives the Times Square party a run for its money with Sydney's spectacular fireworks display. Now in its 20th year, the show is centred around a different theme each year: the theme for 2015-16 is City of Colour.

Fireworks explode over the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge during New Year's Eve celebrations on Jan. 1, 2015. (Rob Griffith/Associated Press)
  • An estimated 1.5 million people line Sydney's coastline to experience the pyrotechnic display.
  • An additional one billion people tune in via TV, especially since Sydney's celebrations take place hours before major events in North America and Europe.
  • Two shows take place: a family-oriented event at 9 p.m. and the main show at midnight.
  • Seven tonnes of fireworks will be set off this year, including 11,000 shells, 25,000 shooting comets and 100,000 individual pyrotechnic events.
  • A crew of 45pyrotechnicians is involved in setting off the fireworks, and more than 60 kilometres of wiring links the explosives. The midnight display lasts an estimated 12 minutes.
  • $7,285,680 is budgeted for the annual event, which started in 1996.
  • 25 per cent of the show's fireworks will be fired in the last 30 seconds.
  • 23 C: The temperature forecast for Dec. 31 in Sydney.

Canadian celebrations

Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square will host a New Year's Eve celebration featuring skating, live music and a fireworks display after the stroke of midnight. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press)
  • An estimated 30,000 people turn out annually at Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square for the main New Year's celebration in Canada's largest city. The event features skating and musical acts, before fireworks at the stroke of midnight. A total of 818 pyrotechnics will be set off, resulting in 18,142 individual effects. The celebration takes about two months to plan and five days to set up and dismantle.
  • $3 million was the budget for 2014's New Year's celebrations in Niagara Falls, which featured free concerts by Keith Urban, Nick Jonas and Shawn Mendes, the biggest names in the event's history. But after Global passed on broadcasting the event — 4.2 million Canadians tuned in at midnight in 2014 -— this year's show will be decidedly lower key. Still, Tom Cochrane, Alan Doyle, Down With Webster and Dennis DeYoung will all perform, even if it won't be captured by TV cameras.
  • 1,000 people are expected to turn out in Oakville, Ont., on Jan. 1 for Canada's largest polar bear dip.
  • The City of Vancouver is this year hosting its first major public New Year's Eve celebration in more than 10 years.
  • More than 1.5 million lights are twinkling during ZOOLIGHTS, as part of the annual holiday display at the Calgary Zoo. Zoo Year's Eve will feature additional special events, including entertainment and fireworks, but you'll have to find somewhere else to usher in 2016 as the event ends at 9 p.m.
Participants take part in Courage Polar Bear Dip at Coronation Park in Oakville, Ont., on Jan. 1, 2015. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)
Walking through a winter wonderland tunnel at the Calgary Zoo's annual ZOOLIGHTS spectacle. (Flickr/Eric Z Chu)

Other odd tidbits​

  • 1788: The year in which Scottish poet Robert Burns is said to have "written" the poem Auld Lang Syne. But though he put pen to paper to collect the verse, it is believed Burns was merely the first person to write down the words to an old Scottish folk song.
  • In one of the more offbeat traditions, those in Spain often usher in the new year by eating 12 grapes at midnight — one for every stroke of the clock. The practice has spread to other Spanish-speaking countries as well, including Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Chile.
  • Samoa and Kiribati are the first nations to experience New Year's, while the uninhabited Baker Island and Howland Island are the last.
Learning the lyrics to a New Year's Eve classic 2:34


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