Thousands of people gather in central London for New Year celebrations, including fireworks at the London Eye at midnight
The United Kingdom's celebrations are noticeably divided among the three nations that compose it: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. In England, clocks symbolize the transition that occurs at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. The celebration in London focuses on Big Ben, the bell and by association, the clock housed in the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster. The celebrations have been televised from London by the BBC since 1984 in the English regions, Wales, and Northern Ireland, it had previously televised the Scottish celebrations since 1936. Parties are held across the country, in pubs, clubs, and private houses. At the stroke of midnight, people join hands in a ring and sing Auld Lang Syne.
On New Year's Eve 2010, an estimated 250,000 people gathered to view an eight-minute fireworks display around and above the London Eye which was, for the first time, set to a musical soundtrack. The soundtrack included songs by British artists such as Blur, The Beatles, and Queen. The celebrations in London continued into January 1, with the New Year's Day Parade, held annually since 1987. The 2011 parade involved more than 10,000 musicians, cheerleaders and performers. For the arrival of 2012, there were a few small changes. In addition to the fireworks going off at the London Eye, more fireworks went off from the Big Ben with every chime.
Other major New Year events are held in the cities of Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Newcastle.
Bideford, in north Devon, is also known for its New Year's Eve celebrations, featuring a carnival and fancy dress. The celebration centers on Bideford's quayside and around its Old Bridge, with a lone piper playing Auld Lang Syne at midnight, followed by a fireworks display.
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