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Practical Techie: A very virtual 2021 New Year to you

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As 2020 winds down, it will not be like the old days with parties, firecrackers, music, drinks and dancing.

It will be the end of the year to stay calm, secluded and collected. Most of us will see the year die down with cell phone in hand to communicate with distanced loved ones at the stroke of midnight. Maybe merely to entertain ourselves. In a simple way. Virtually.

EARTHCAM – There are spots on planet Earth where New Year’s Eve rituals are spectacular. And there are hundreds of portals on the Web that connect netizens to the farewell festivities of the year in those parts of the world.

One of the best virtual windows to end of year celebrations is earthcam.com. It primarily takes the visitor in livestream to the famous Times Square, New York venue and its famous countdown as the sphere descends minute by minute at the close of the year.

It also offers glimpses of different streets, corners, and buildings in downtown Manhattan, back-to-back with panoramic shots of the city, zooms and sounds in real time. It is like being right there live.

Earthcam also has cameras at key places in another 100 global locations such as Tokyo, Borocay in the Philippines, Dubai, Moscow, Paris, Jerusalem and Kauai in Hawaii. It also includes cameras in the main islands of the Caribbean and the Dominican Republic.

SHIPCAM – If you prefer something more adventurous, turn to the great transatlantic cruise ship Queen Mary website for a good description of the goodbye to the year at sea, or at port this year. Includes images of a celebration on board, Chinese style. The page is where cybersurfers will connect to the onboard festivities.  

Another famous place to bid farewell for the year is the Old Naval Dock, in Chicago, Illinois. On its website, you can enjoy the fireworks display live, not only there, but in different parts of the world. For example, see how in Beijing, dancers say goodbye to the year in front of the Tai Miao temple, by the ancient Forbidden Imperial City. In Egypt, the year goes out in front of the three pyramids of Giza and in Athens, around the famous Parthenon, with colorful fireworks.

CARIOCACAM – In Rio de Janeiro, the “Cariocas” ring in the new year on Copacabana Beach —virtually this year — under a shower of luminous rockets and roman candle lights. Another unique farewell is the illuminated balloons that are launched into the sky in Singapore to ring in the new year. On the newyearsrace.com website, enjoy a virtual visit to downtown Los Angeles. In years past, the locals held a marathon that gathered thousands of runners on the streets of the city. This year it will small scale.

SOCIALIZE – On this website, the visitor establishes three goals to pursue in the New Year and a whole community of peers helps or encourages you to follow up on it. This exercise is for those who like to set and fulfill New Year’s resolutions.

Another site is much more obliging. The user agrees to meet their goals or pay money each time they fail. The money is donated to public charities. This site helps you count the hours, minutes and seconds to the end of the year. The website also allows you to generate printed calendars for the next 12 months and provides event schedules in 105 cities of the world, including solar and lunar calendars.

FAR EAST – This website is for those who like oriental themes. The site offers details about the Chinese New Year and its different forms of celebration. If you are not satisfied with all of the above options, please go to history.com/topics/holidays for the whole story of New Year’s Eve from ancient times to the present and the worldwide farewell traditions.

Author Details
Author Rafael Matos is a veteran journalist, a professor of digital narratives and university mentor. He may be contacted at cccrafael@gmail.com.
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