The annual New Year countdown in Xintiandi continued as Shanghai’s most iconic celebration, while Longhua Temple and Jade Buddha Temple held traditional bell-tolling ceremonies to welcome 2019.
At the Longhua Temple, a bronze bell was struck 108 times at midnight to bring good luck while eliminating grief and worries.
Visitors and tourists at the temple from home and abroad enjoyed dragon-and-lion dance and stilt-walking performances, and ate bowls of vegetarian noodles to celebrate the new year.
“It is the first time for me to attend the traditional ceremony and it is very interesting to welcome the new year in such a way,” said Gulbahar Shamuradova from Turkmenistan, who is a student at Shanghai University.
Lahdiy Yasmine from Morocco, who has been in Shanghai for four years, said she would eat noodles at the temple after midnight, which should bring good luck.
The celebration in Xintiandi was the city’s only official public countdown event for the new year.
It attracted 4,900 participants together with singers and pop idols.
Sam Crombach, a Dutch expat working in the metal industry, said he felt that people are “more modern” in Shanghai.
He also had some New Year resolutions. “I need to put on some weight, and work hard since I just got myself a new job,” he said.
Talking about his first New Year’s Eve in Shanghai, Hector Martinez, a Mexican tourist, said it was not as “big” as in America or Mexico where people would party till 6am or 7am.
“One thing might be the same, that people usually plan for something new,” said Martinez, revealing that he and his wife were planning to have a baby in 2019.
The Bund was also packed despite the cold. Armed police soldiers lined up at every street junction to maintain order.
Ega Nadhan and his friends from India were busy taking photos of the neon lighting Lujiazui up.
“I have lived here for five years and would come to the Bund for a walk every couple of months, but I’ve never come here on a New Year’s Eve,” said Nadhan.
“There is a delighted vibe here tonight. I hope good things will happen in the new year.”
Sarah Maier and Paulina Moser from Austria are on a one-week stay in Shanghai.
“Looking at the flash and lights, you see a bit of the world,” said Maier. “The skyline is like that in New York, and the Bund feels like London.”
The girls said their wish for the new year is to stay healthy.
“Health is the most important thing,” said Maier. “And I want to find my Mr Right, and travel more.”
Dining and shopping were also popular ways for local residents to spend the last day of the year, as some department stores extended their business time till after midnight with attractive promotions.
The Shanghai New World Department Store operated till 2am, with some goods at 60 percent discount.
Among the customers were six sisters aged between 50 and 60, all surnamed Yang. They were still wandering around at 10pm after having dinner in a nearby restaurant.
“It’s a tradition for our family to have dinner together on New Year’s Eve,” said one of the sisters. “We are aged people and are not so good at online shopping. We like seeing the real things and trying them out before buying.”
In the Pudong New Area, some bookworms welcomed the new year in a gentler way as Pudong Library reopened to 2,000 residents on New Year’s Eve after a four-month renovation.
At the library, young parents taught their children how to insert coins to play their favorite games such as run-and-gun video game Contra.
“It’s great to share my childhood memories with my son,” said a visitor surnamed Huang, a father of a 4-year-old boy.
Clear and cloudy weather has been forecast for the beginning of the new year, while a rise in temperature is expected.
According to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau, today and tomorrow will be clear and cloudy, with temperatures between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius. The temperature will climb to 10 degrees on Thursday.
Light showers are expected on Friday, with temperatures of 7-10 degrees.
Shanghai’s air quality has been forecast to be good on the first three days of the new year.