RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Let's put aside reality for a few moments, and join celebrations around the world kicking off 2014 - and a fresh start in life offering at least the hope of happiness, peace, prosperity and love. In London, a spectacular fireworks display kicked off with Big Ben chiming in the New Year.
(SOUNDBITE OF A CROWD COUNTING DOWN, CLOCK CHIMING)
MONTAGNE: An added twist to tradition this year in London: edible banana confetti was thrown, and strawberry mist rained down on celebrants for a multisensory experience.
In Paris, fireworks lit up the sky behind the Eiffel Tower in time to music. The tower itself sparkled in the glow.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, CHEERING)
MONTAGNE: Tokyo welcomed the New Year with the sound of a gong.
(SOUNDBITE OF GONG, CHEERING)
MONTAGNE: While on Shanghai's waterfront, there was a massive sound and light display.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: There were even fireworks in places without a lot to celebrate, like the capital of the repressive nation of North Korea.
(SOUNDBITE OF EXPLODING FIREWORKS)
MONTAGNE: And in New York City, as always, Times Square was packed with an estimated 1 million revelers enjoying live musical performances from the likes of Macklemore and Miley Cyrus, with some much-loved classics also played for the crowd.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NEW YORK, NEW YORK")
MONTAGNE: And, of course, the annual drop of the crystal ball.
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD MEMBERS: (Chanting) Eight, seven, six, five, four, three...
MONTAGNE: One city stood above all the rest in this revelry: Dubai, which already boasts the record for the world's tallest building, set another Guinness World Record for World's Biggest Fireworks Display - ever.
(SOUNDBITE OF DRUM ROLL, CHEERING, EXPLODING FIREWORKS)
MONTAGNE: The show used over 400,000 fireworks and lasted about six minutes, incorporating Dubai's biggest landmarks.
(SOUNDBITE OF EXPLODING FIREWORKS, MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: And the finale you just heard was so spectacular it created the illusion of a sunrise over the city.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: On this New Year's Day celebrating with you, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.