The problems and difficulties of 2023 were given a symbolic farewell at a Times Square event before the New Year


NEW YORK (AP) — A man wanted to get rid of his anger problems. Others turned the page on medical bills, work stress, insecurities, taxes, regrets, bad habits, bad hair days, COVID-19, worrying about other people, and “all the negativity of 2023.” tried.

People hoping to get rid of those and other problems gathered in Times Square on Thursday for “Good Riddance Day,” a New Year’s Eve promotional event that aims, at least symbolically, to shed light on the burdens, irritations and Provides a chance to remove bad memories.

“The whole world is going through this. Many people are going through bad experiences. War, inflation, life has become difficult. I’m just hoping 2024 will give everyone a break from those horrible things,” said Angel Villanueva of Washington after watching his personal banisters — bad relationships and negative energies and experiences — go up in smoke.

Previous iterations of “Good Riddance Day” include Shredder and a garbage cans, But this year, magician Devonte Rosero took a grill lighter to the pieces of paper on which Villanueva and others had written what they wanted to leave behind.

For Carol Vera, it’s fast food and unhealthy snacks, now that she’s discovered she has high cholesterol levels. But on a broader level, New YorkHe is saddened by the conflict around the world.

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“We should focus on humanity instead of fighting each other,” Vera said.

Natasha Naheer was eager to get rid of college applications, school, bad hair and makeup days, and fake friends. Nahir, who was visiting North CarolinaExcited for 2024: “There’s a lot we can improve on this year,” she said.

Despite all the troubles of 2023, Villanueva is also optimistic.

She said, “Some people may think that being optimistic or wishing for something is too good to be true, but I like to be hopeful and positive.”

Associated Press writer Jennifer Peltz contributed.

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