Why are we so excited about the New Year’s Eve? What is so different about this particular second when we go from one year to another? Perhaps it serves the purpose of a mental restart. It is as if a new life begins. We put aside all the bad parts that we experienced in the past year and we are giving ourselves the chance of a clean slate. This moment is so liberating, we celebrate it in style.

Over the years, the celebration has become a huge entertainment industry. The midnight fireworks mark the event for major cities around the world in a display of local pride, a show of creativity and a worldwide parade of urban artistic beauty.

Sydney Australia is the first major cities to kick start the competition. With its natural awesome scenery, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, Sydney’s NYE fireworks are hard to beat. Sydney is always spectacular at this time of the year.

This year I also watched the fireworks in Rio de Janeiro and of course, New York. Rio’s show was spectacular too. I am sure the party that follows the NY show is absolutely awesome, Brazilian style. Both Sydney and Rio celebrate the passage into the New Year in full summer, which is perfect for heavy partying.

And yet, New York, with all the freezing air, is always so full of life and enthusiasm. It is probably the most intense New Year celebration. The expectation, the intimacy of Time Square where over one million people get together looking up the huge count-down display, the spirit of Frank Sinatra hovering above the crowd, the explosion of confetti, the kissing, the laughing, everything is so amazing.

This year it occur to me a small detail that startled me: in New York the fireworks are barely visible. You don’t see them as they are somewhere above the sky scrapers. I mean, you could see them if you want to, but why would you? You look at the ball, the confetti, the cheering crowd and you take in the moment. Everything happens together and people are in the middle of it. Sydney and Rio have huge fireworks, they are beautiful, but the arrangements are such that people are distant spectators watching a show of artistic objects. Sydney is a little bit more intimate, but in the case of Rio the separation couldn’t be more obvious. In New York, the people are the show. The fireworks are social geysers of emotional exuberance. That is the difference, and that is why New York might not offer the best fireworks, but it feels like the best New Year show on the planet.