Brilliant Father Time
Celebrating New Year’s Eve extravaganzas worldwide
By Robin Jay
The exquisite gear complications and gleaming diamonds inlaid in the Swiss watch face featured on this issue’s cover of International Opulence represents the brilliance and priceless value of time. It’s a one-of-a-kind Corum timepiece gifted to a talented musician in France and has no monetary price tag. It serves as a reminder this holiday season to do good unto others and that the best things in life are free. As Father Time prepares to ring in yet another New Year, take a moment to reflect on the history of the festivities and discover places around the world that provide grand celebration destinations…
In 1612, engraving artist Jan Collaert II created a masterpiece he titled Veritas Temporis Filia – which means ‘truth is the daughter of time.’ Today, it hangs in London’s British Museum, perhaps reminding all who see it about the origins of Father Time. The grand print depicts Cronos, an elderly winged man – Father Time – who is holding up and unveiling his daughter Veritas. In modern times, around the eve of the new year, we symbolize Father Time as the bearded man who sports a dated sash and an hourglass as he hands over Baby New Year.
In London, the first official New Year’s Eve fireworks presentation didn’t take place until 2000. The BBC reported that 3 million Londoners gathered around the Thames River to watch the celebration in the sky which, no doubt, reflected beautifully on Big Ben, as shown here.
To find out about this year’s New Year’s Eve plans in London, visit www.london.gov.
In Rome, the Roman dictator Julius Caesar may have envisioned that he himself was Father Time. Why? For the first time in Caesar’s reign, according to the Julian calendar (and History.com), the Romans celebrated New Year’s Day on January 1 in 45 B.C. Caesar concluded he needed to reform the Roman calendar, and so in the year 46, he added 90 more days to the annum in effort to synchronize the sun with his calendar.
In the modern world, it is the Gregorian calendar that feels most familiar to the way we celebrate New Year’s Eve. Some know it as Saint Sylvester’s Day or Old Year’s Day, always commemorated on the 7th day of the Christmas season, on December 31, with song, food, dance, drink – and, of course, fireworks to ring in the new year of renewed hope.
Auckland, New Zealand, is an intriguing destination to celebrate New Year’s because it’s one of the first cities in the world to ring in the New Year. When the clock strikes 12:01 a.m. in Auckland on New Year’s Day on Monday, January 1, 2018, it will only be 4 p.m. Sunday in Miami and New York City and 1 p.m. in Los Angeles. What’s even more captivating is that Auckland is only a four-hour flight to Aitutaki, one of the Cook Islands, and one of the last cities to reach New Year’s Day. So, thanks to the international dateline, it’s strangely possible to celebrate midnight on New Year’s in Auckland and then fly to Aitutaki to ring in the New Year again a few hours later. SKYCITY Auckland, Sky Tower, is the perfect destination for New Year’s Eve with two hotels (4.5 and 5 star), a host of award winning celebrity chef restaurants, live entertainment, casino, a free concert on Federal Street, and New Zealand’s most iconic fireworks display from the Sky Tower at midnight, preceded by a three-hour laser animation show at 9 p.m.
For details visit www.skycityauckland.co.nz/whats-on/events/new-years-eve-at-skycity.
In Singapore, a spectacular showplace to ring in the New Year is at Gardens by the Bay, a 250-acre nature park of reclaimed land adjacent to the Marina Reservoir. Park designers created it to transform Singapore from a “Garden City” into a “City in a Garden.” The initiative’s goal is to enhance the quality of life with vibrant flowers and greenscapes.
For New Year’s Eve event information, go to www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en.
In India, celebrate New Year’s like an emperor near the Taj Mahal in Agra. Described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love, this stunning mausoleum has become the de facto tourist emblem of India. It was constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his second wife Mumtaz Mahal, whose death in childbirth in 1631 left the Emperor so heartbroken that his hair is said to have turned gray overnight. The luxurious Oberoi Hotel in Agra offers exemplary resort accommodations and complimentary transportation to the nearby Taj Mahal.
For details, visit www.oberoihotels.com/hotels-in-agra-amarvilas-resort.
Aitutaki, a Cook Island in the South Pacific nestled on the opposite side of the International Date Line, is one of the (inhabited) places in the world where guests can hear the last clock strikes to hit 12 a.m. on New Year’s Eve. Celebrators in Aitutaki can enjoy a serene, secluded oasis surrounded by white-sand beaches, a crystal azure lagoon and a barrier reef teeming with rays, bonefish and turtles. Quite the ideal restful destination for adventurers who wish to time-zone hop to ring in 2018.
To arrange to celebrate New Year’s in Aitutaki, visit www.aitutakilagoonresort.com. Visitors must fly into Rarotonga Island and boat over to Aitutaki.
Happy New Year!
TRAVEL TO THE CARIBBEAN FOR NEW YEAR’S & SUPPORT RECOVERY EFFORTS
Or, donate your Marriott points to make a difference
With the heartbreaking consequences of the most recent natural disasters, many travelers continue to wonder how they can help the ongoing recovery efforts and make an impactful difference.
The Caribbean has something to offer for all types of vacationers: white sandy beaches, exotic wildlife, romantic sunsets, a plethora of delectable cuisine, vibrant-rich heritage and family-friendly activities. One example is the luxurious Santo Domingo JW Marriott Hotel shown here – the glorious rooftop view is a stunning location to celebrate and watch the fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
Marriott Rewards members can donate their Rewards points to help communities affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria. They can give to one of Marriott’s featured organizations and support a variety of emergency services to help families recover and rebuild. Such services include: cash contributions, in-kind donations, and employee volunteerism.
Another way travelers can help is through the MI Disaster Relief Fund established to support Marriott’s efforts to assist communities, especially affected associates during times of disasters. Currently the fund is focused on helping communities impacted by the natural disasters that have struck the Caribbean and Latin American regions.
To find out more information about donating Marriott Rewards points, visit www.mrgivingus.com.