New Years celebrations in the High Arctic, as I've written before, have their own unique flavour. Certainly each community has its own variations of the theme, but in general they are just a little out of the ordinary.
New Years Eve, like many other days here, starts out with games at the Community Hall. One of the truly enjoyable things about living here, is this idea of community fun. The entire community plays together. After the games there is an ecumenical church service that starts around 10:30. All three denominations (for the most part there are Anglican and Full Gospel, but there is also a small congregation of Roman Catholics here as well) take part.
One thing that always makes me laugh is that I unfailingly know the songs/hymn/carols that are being sung in Inuktitut, but rarely do I know more than one verse. So I'll sing that verse over and over and over again while the song is being sung in Inuktitut. Then the English version will start and I'll do it all over again. Some seem to last forever.
Just before midnight Auld Lang Syne will be sung, right up until the countdown. At midnight every one greets everyone else with a handshake and "Happy New Years". There are invariably a lot of tears shed. I don't know what it is, but most people take that moment to remember friends and relatives that have passed, and probably half of everyone there is in tears.
A few Rangers fire a volley of rifle shots into the air (formalizing a somewhat disconcerting northern ritual where people will take to their back yards firing rifles in the air). Leaving it to the Rangers alone makes it much safer, and saves anyone from getting into trouble. Sometimes there is the odd firework, or flare.
And then the parade starts. Most snowmobiles (and ATVs) in town head out to Uluksa Point, where they form up and then drive back to town on the ice. They do it in one long line that snakes around on the sea ice, before heading in town and driving all around the streets, yelling Happy New Years above the roar of the machines. Nowadays they are joined by trucks. This year I counted about 65 machines and at least 15 trucks.
At that the dance starts. Inuktitut dancing is a square dance, without a caller. I'd say they dance until dawn, but that won't be until February. And that would wear everyone out. No, they dance until 5:00.
Here are a couple of videos from the parade of snowmobiles. The first from far away as they circle around on the bay, the second close up as they zoom by in town.