Millions gather worldwide to ring in new year

Published: Saturday, Jan. 1 2011 1:24 a.m. MST

In London, higher temperatures after weeks of frigid weather were expected to draw about 250,000 onto the streets. Many planned to line the River Thames to watch fireworks and hear Big Ben toll at the stroke of midnight.

In Scotland, the four-day Hogmanay festival began Thursday night with a torch-lit procession through the streets of Edinburgh. Around 25,000 people took part, marching to the top of a hill to watch the burning of a model Viking ship. Hogmanay is derived from the winter solstice festival celebrated by the Vikings.

The Dutch celebrate by eating deep-fried dough balls covered in powdered sugar and washed down with champagne. The Danes jump off chairs to "leap into the new year." And the Austrians twirl in the new year with a waltz, carrying radios so they can dance to Strauss' "Blue Danube" as the clock strikes midnight.

Associated Press writers around the world contributed to this report.

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