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by Blogger T. D. Iglesias
Photos of New Year’s Eve celebration in Spain: screengrab


We looked around and asked ourselves what was it we were celebrating.  We tried to think positive.


When Sydney starts firing up its spectacular pyrotechnic display on its famous harbor you know the planetary New Year has arrived. It isn’t that it is the place on Earth which ushers in the New Year. No, it’s Christmas Island who has that “privilege” but that’s really just splitting hairs; the island which was discovered on Christmas Day is an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean. So they’re pretty much the same. The thing, though, is that the state capital of New South Wales and Australia’s most populous city is the first major city in the world to mark the New Year and telegenic into the bargain. That’s why Sydney is so attention-getting and eye-catching and leads people to think it’s the “usher” and it alone.

The New Year “exits” from Honolulu, Hawaii, the last to celebrate the exciting event in accordance with the international dateline.

Isn’t it kind of odd that New Year “begins” smack in the middle of summer (Sydney) and “ends” on the island of balmy breezes and swaying palm fronds (Honolulu)? When you picture New Year as typically snow-blanketed and freezing cold, this planetary fact is odd!

Anyhow, whatever’s the weather, it’s still a HAPPY New Year , generally speaking and with due respect for those who are cultural-bound to celebrate it but cannot because of unfortunate circumstances.

Thousands flocked to the Puerta del Sol in Madrid to welcome tghe New Year. But just minutes after 2014 made its entrance the New Year a note of disenchantment crept in.

Thousands flocked to the Puerta del Sol in Madrid to welcome the New Year. But just minutes into 2014 a note of disenchantment had crept in.

In Spain, ten hours after the vibrant Sydney event, we went through the motions: the gathering of thousands in the centrally located Puerta del Sol, Madrid, to welcome 2014; the cena de gala (gala dinner) for the lucky few who can afford to and do thumb their noses at the economic crisis that’s still gripping the country so hard it’ll turn lethal if it doesn’t let up very soon; the popping of the twelve “lucky grapes” into one’s mouth in time with the twelve strokes to midnight by the clock on Puerta del Sol . . .

There are no fireworks displays for the New Year in Spain; we save those for our venerable town fiestas.

After the celebration on Puerta del Sol which in the past had generated so much excitement in the homes across Spain through live TV coverage, but with little success this year, we looked around and asked ourselves what was it we were celebrating. A foreseeable bonanza after all our hardships? From where we were standing, it didn’t look like that would happen in a million years.

That was no good. We tried to think positive.

The Dubai emirate wanted to have a stellar billing in the global celebration of the New Year’s Eve and had let it be known that it was going after a new world record for the largest display of fireworks on the occasion. The Guinness adjudicators were on hand to record the success of its bid should that happen.

Ten months of planning and designing and an alleged $6 million (€4.3 million) went into the bid. Since 4 December more than 200 technicians of two most prestigious fireworks firms were in the emirate to mount the result of those ten months. But working with explosives could be really tricky even for the most experienced; something could trigger an explosion and reduce Dubai’s New Year ambition to ashes.

An image of the Dubai fireworks display at New Year, from the Pirotecnia Caballer Facebook page.

An image of the Dubai fireworks display at New Year, from the Pirotecnia Caballer Facebook page, Fair use

But not this time. At Dubai City’s waterfront where the impressive Palm Jumeirah (man-made archipelago shaped like a palm) and the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper, are located, the more than half a million fireworks fired seamlessly. The dazzling 30-miute show of thousands of shimmering lights on New Year’s Eve climaxed with the fireworks display that lasted 6 minutes, illuminating 94 km (58.4 miles) of Dubai’s waterfront and making the Burj Kahlifa look even taller and of course glitzier. (Click here for the world record setting fireworks:

Guinness World Records certified that it was now the world’s largest fireworks display, an overkill of Kuwait’s 77,000 fireworks which in 2012 held the record.

But what’s that got to do with thinking positive in Spain?

Well, as it turned out, the explosives responsible for Dubai’s new world record were supplied by Pirotecnia Caballer, a Spanish company which traces its beginnings to 1880 and situated in Valencia, on the eastern coast of Spain. The fireworks were manufactured in the Pirotecnia Caballer complex, the biggest in Europe.

The American company Fireworks by Grucci tends to get all the credit. (It designed the fireworks display, after all.) But Vicente Caballer of Pirotecnia Caballer worked side by side with Phil Grucci of Fireworks by Gruzzi in the creation of the spectacular show in Dubai and some of the pyrotechnicians behind the project were from the Spanish company though the majority were Americans.

Jupiter throphy

Jupiter trophy (Fair use)

The Pirotecnia Caballer is the proud winner of 5 Jupiters, the Oscars’ equivalent in the realm of pyrotechnics, awarded annually by Le Concours international d’art pyrotechnique de Montréal, the world’s largest fireworks competition in terms of the number of participants and the amount of time devoted to each of the firework displays.

Could it be that all is not lost in Spain then? Only 2014 can and will tell. They say we’re coming out of the recession. Uh-huh. Meanwhile we’ve won a consolation prize when Dubai set a new world record in the New Year celebrations – in a way. More (invisible) feathers to our cap on the cards?



Spain is a few seconds into 2014, according the famous clock on Puerta del Sol. Apart from showing the time, it also sets the (fast) phase of taking the lucky grapes.

Spain is a few seconds into 2014, according the famous clock on Puerta del Sol. Apart from showing the time, the clock also sets the (fast) phase for taking the lucky grapes.









Click here for the video of the celebration in Dubai following the United Arab Emirates’ election as host to Expo 2020. An elated Pirotecnia Caballer says on its Facebook: “Products used by Fireworks by Grucci to celebrate Dubai’s win of EXPO 2020 were produced in collaboration with Phil Grucci at our Valencia Fabrication facility PIROTECNIA CABALLER.”