Myanmar celebrates 2013 with its first public New Year countdown

myanmar5.jpg

A view of birds scattering as New Year's fireworks go off near the Shwe Da Gon pagoda at Kandawgyi Lake in Yangon on December 31, 2012. Some 50,000 people were expected to gather at the revered golden Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon for the city's first public countdown to the New Year and fireworks.

Credit:

Ye Aung Thu

After many years of military rule, Myanmar is holding its first public New Year countdown to ring in 2013.

According to the Associated Press, between 50,000 and 90,000 are expected to attend the celebration at a large field in Yangon.

"This is very exciting and also our first experience in celebrating the New Year at a big countdown gathering. We feel like we are in a different world," said Yu Thawda, a university student who came to the public celebration with three of her friends.

More from GlobalPost: Myanmar rings in 2013 with first public New Year's Eve countdown

Before this year's countdown went public, New Year's Eve was reserved for private parties and celebrations inside hotels, the AP continued. The military regime reserved grand firework displays to honor Armed Forces Day.

  • newyear9.jpg

    A Myanmar worker puts up a sign to bring in the new year ahead of Myanmar's first public New Year countdown celebration at the Myoma grounds in Yangon on December 31, 2012. Some 50,000 people are also expected to flock to the revered golden Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon for the Myanmar city's first public countdown with fireworks, seen as further evidence of opening up after decades of junta rule.

    Credit:

    Soe Than WIN

  • myanmar1.jpg

    A Myanmar worker cleans the area ahead of Myanmar's first public New Year countdown celebration at the Myoma grounds in Yangon on December 31, 2012. Some 50,000 people are also expected to flock to the revered golden Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon for the Myanmar city's first public countdown with fireworks, seen as further evidence of opening up after decades of junta rule.

    Credit:

    Soe Than WIN

  • myanmar2.jpg

    People enjoy the last sunset of 2012 at Kandawgyi Lake in Yangon on December 31, 2012. Some 50,000 people were expected to flock to the revered golden Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon for the Myanmar city's first public countdown with fireworks, seen as further evidence of opening up after decades of junta rule.

    Credit:

    Ye Aung Thu

  • myanmar4.jpg

    People wait before the countdown to the New Year near the Shwe Da Gon pagoda and Kandawgyi Lake in Yangon on December 31, 2012. Some 50,000 people were expected to gather at the revered golden Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon for the city's first public countdown to the New Year and fireworks.

    Credit:

    Ye Aung Thu

  • myanmar5.jpg

    A view of birds scattering as New Year's fireworks go off near the Shwe Da Gon pagoda at Kandawgyi Lake in Yangon on December 31, 2012. Some 50,000 people were expected to gather at the revered golden Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon for the city's first public countdown to the New Year and fireworks.

    Credit:

    Ye Aung Thu

  • myanmar6.jpg

    A view of New Year fireworks near the Shwe Da Gon pagoda at Kandawgyi Lake in Yangon on December 31, 2012. Some 50,000 people were expected to gather at the revered golden Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon for the city's first public countdown to the New Year and fireworks.

    Credit:

    Ye Aung Thu