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Bund spectacle and countdown galas planned
By Xu Wei

SHANGHAI hopes to make the spectacular New Year's Eve Countdown Party on the Bund a tradition and ritual like the New Year's countdown and Ball Drop in New York's Times Square.

A laser and fireworks display will illuminate the Bund's monumental architecture in Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, Beaux Arts and Art Deco styles.

Spectacular images will be projected on the landmark buildings in a show that depicts Shanghai's past and current glories, as well as its troubles and development. The aim is to create an enchanting and dreamlike ambience, according to Yan Min, the show's director.

The special effects crew of "The Fifth Element" (1997) will join the team and project images and scenes from Hollywood movies such as "Avatar" (2009).

A flying acrobatic performance and musical show will take the show to its pinnacle.

Last year the show attracted more than 120,000 people, dazzled by the colors, lights and music.

"Last year, our show attracted massive crowds on the Bund," says Yan. "They were amazed at the colorful fireworks and lights starting before midnight."

Yan says he hopes the party will become a city tradition, like the Ball Drop in Times Square.

The Bund New Year's Countdown Party will be broadcast live on Dragon TV starting at 7pm on Monday night, New Year's Eve. Before the fireworks and lasers, domestic and international pop stars will perform.

Meanwhile, local TV anchors, wearing costumes by famous designer Guo Pei, will take to the runway in a New Year's fashion show broadcast on Channel Young at 10pm on New Year's Eve. The channel will also stage a gala retrospective of major events in the fashion industry in 2012.

Fashion show

Guo Pei is the designer behind the China Central Television's annual Spring Festival Gala and the ceremonial dresses worn in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Guo combines Chinese elements such as embroidery and traditional patterns with modern Western cuts and silhouettes.

At fashion and entertainment hub Xintiandi, a "New Future" New Year's Eve Party will be held in the South Block Piazza. Hong Kong actors Wong Hei and Bill Chan will sign and count down to the New Year with locals. Activities will be underway all day.

Bell striking, a traditional New Year Eve's activity for Chinese people, will take place at Longhua Temple on December 31. The symbolic 108th strike will toll the New Year at midnight. Many activities on New Year's Eve and day will include getting New Year postage stamps, eating "cross-year" noodles and guessing riddles.

On the morning of New Year's Day, climbing competitions will be organized at landmark buildings, including the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center. Climbing on the first day of a new year is a traditional activity for Chinese people to express wishes for happiness and prosperity to come.

The Bund Countdown Party

Venue: The Bund

Date: December 31, 7pm

Fashion show on Channel Young

Date: December 31, 10pm

"New Future" Party

Venue: South Block Piazza in Xintiandi

Date: December 31, 10pm

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