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Paris was lit up for Christmas, but New Year will be low keyImage: AP

Tsunami Darkens Europe's Party Mood

DW staff (jen)
December 31, 2004

The disaster in the Indian Ocean cast a shadow over European New Year celebrations, with many cities either cancelling or toning down their planned festivities.


The Champs-Elysees, the center for New Year celebrations in Paris, will be draped in black crepe this year, in mourning for the victims of killer tsunamis in south Asia.

In a statement, Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe requested that 400 trees along the famous avenue and and 80 ornate lampposts on the Place de la Concorde be draped in black this year "to symbolize the solidarity of Paris with all the people touched by this tragedy."

Schiefer Turm von Pisa
Leaning tower of PisaImage: Bilderbox

Last year, 450,000 people gathered on the Champs-Elysees to welcome in the New Year.

Pisa calls it off

In Italy, Pisa, Bologna and Turin all abandoned New Year festivities, choosing instead to donate the saved funds to victim aid groups. Naples, Bolzano, Padova and Benevento called off traditional firework displays.

A minute of silence was to interrupt the festivities in Venice. In London, a quarter of the sums usually raised for charity during New Year parades will be sent to the wave victims.

Swedes call day of mourning

Sweden, one of the European countries most affected by the catastrophe, with 44 confirmed dead and at least 1,000 missing, proclaimed Saturday an official day of mourning.

Fahnen auf dem Reichstag auf Halbmast
Reichstag: flags at half mastImage: AP

Norwegians were urged to celebrate with moderation and the country's richest man, billionaire Kjell Inge Rokke, cancelled his fireworks show.

In Belgium, flags were flown at half-mast for a three-day period beginning on Thursday evening, and in Berlin flags flew at half mast as well.

Several countries in Asia called off New Year festivities altogether.

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