Happy New Year 2019: Photos of Celebrations Around the World

2019 has officially begun. The tiny Pacific island nations of Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati were the first to welcome the new year.

Interestingly, Samoa used to be one of the last places to greet the new year, but in 2011 the International Date Line was redrawn to align Samoa more with its main trading partners Australia and New Zealand.

Speaking of New Zealand, fireworks lit up the night sky over Auckland, the world's first major city to welcome 2019. Fireworks erupted from the 1,076-feet Sky Tower, while a light display danced across the harbor bridge.

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Fireworks shoot out of the Sky Tower, while lights dance across the Harbor Bridge in Auckland, New Zealand. Phil Walter/Getty Images for ATEED
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People enjoy the music at the Wondergarden Festival during New Year's Eve celebrations at Silo Park in Auckland, New Zealand. Phil Walter/Getty Images for ATEED

And so on to Australia and Sydney Harbor, whose stunning location is traditionally the site of one of the most spectacular new year celebrations in the world. So spectacular, in fact, they do it twice—once at the family-friendly time of 9pm and then again at midnight.

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Fireworks explode over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House during the traditional early family fireworks show held before the main midnight event in Sydney, Australia. Peter Parks/AFP

This year, however, Nature threatened to put on a display that would rival the city's famous fireworks, with lightning bolts crackling in the dark skies over the city. The storm couldn't keep thousands of revelers from the waterside promenade, even if they did have to see in the new year wearing plastic rain ponchos.

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Storms head over the city before Sydney's first fireworks display at 9pm. James D. Morgan/Getty Images
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A young girl shelters from the storm with her father on New Year's Eve in Sydney Harbour. Brook MitchellCity of Sydney/Getty Images)

The midnight fireworks display, watched by millions of people around the world, was reliably spectacular, with fountains of color erupting from the landmark Harbor Bridge and from barges moored in the harbor.

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Fireworks explode over the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Opera House in the midnight display in Australia's biggest city. Brett Hemmings/Getty Images
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People cheer as fireworks explode over the Sydney Opera House at midnight. Brook Mitchell/Getty Images
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A young girl watches the 12am fireworks display over Sydney Harbor. Brook Mitchell/Getty Image
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New Year's Eve fireworks erupt over Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Peter Parks/AFP
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The midnight fireworks light up the Sydney Opera House during New Year's Eve celebrations. Jessica Hromas/Getty Images

Another city with a stunning harbor seemingly designed to show off spectacular fireworks displays is Singapore. Skies over the city state were a riot of colour as pyrotechnics exploded over the futuristic buildings and towering high-tech artificial trees surrounding Marina Bay.

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Fireworks light up the sky as Singapore ushers in the New Year at Marina Bay. Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

In South Korea, thousands of young people gathered at Seoul's Bosingak pavilion for a hectic new year's party, while Buddhists lit candles at the city's Jogyesa temple, in a more sedate celebration.

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Crowds gather to celebrate New Years at the Bosingak pavilion in Seoul, South Korea. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
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Buddhists light candles during New Year celebrations at Jogyesa temple in Seoul, South Korea. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Paying visits to temples and shrines over new year is also a tradition in Japan. Millions of Japanese people are expected to make such visits to pray for the well-being of their families during the first three days of 2019.

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Shinto priests hold a ceremony to offer New Year prayers at Kanda Myojin Shrine in Tokyo. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP
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People visit Kanda Myojin Shrine to offer New Year prayers in Tokyo. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP

Over in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, fireworks illuminate the city's skyline.

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Fireworks illuminate the city's skyline during New Year's celebrations of 2019 on January 1, 2019 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Getty Images

Children in Sri Lanka hold sparklers during a New Year's celebration.

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A child holds a sparkler during New Year's celebrations in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on January 1, 2019. Getty Images

Fireworks explode over the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia.

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Fireworks explode over the Kremlin in Moscow during New Year celebrations, on January 1, 2019. Getty Images
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Fireworks explode over the Kremlin in Moscow during New Year celebrations, on January 1, 2019. Getty Images

Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate is lit up by fireworks to usher in the New Year.

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Fireworks explode behind the quadriga of Berlin's landmark the Brandenburg Gate to usher in the New Year on January 1, 2019. Getty Images

'Yellow vest' protestors celebrate the New Year in a makeshift shelter. Others face police officers during a protest on the Champs-Elysees during the New Year's celebrations in Paris.

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'Yellow vest' protestors (Gilets jaunes) celebrate the New Year in a makeshift shelter built of wooden palettes and tarpaulins, on the edge of the access of the A28 motorway, south of Le Mans, northwestern France, on December 31, 2018. Getty Images
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A child and a 'Yellow vest' protestor (Gilet jaune) let off fireworks to celebrate the New Year on the edge of the access of the A28 motorway, south of Le Mans, northwestern France, on December 31, 2018. Getty Images
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'Yellow vest' protestors (Gilets jaunes) face police officers on the Champs-Elysees during New Year's celebrations in the French capital Paris on January 1, 2019. Getty Images

The London skies are lit by fireworks, from Westminster Abbey and all along the River Thames.

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Fireworks explode around the London Eye during New Year's celebrations in central London just after midnight on January 1, 2019. Getty Images
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Fireworks explode over Westminster Abbey and Elizabeth Tower near Parliament as thousands of revelers gather along the banks of the River Thames to ring in the New Year on January 1, 2019 in London, England. Getty Images
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Fireworks explode over The London Eye and Elizabeth Tower near Parliament as thousands of revelers gather along the banks of the River Thames to ring in the New Year on January 1, 2019 in London, England. Getty Images

People watch fireworks from the water on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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People watch fireworks from the water on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the New Year celebration on January 1, 2019. Getty Images

Rainy weather didn't stop New Yorkers from heading to Times Square for Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest, which featured a performance from Christina Aguilera and, of course, the annual ball drop.

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Christina Aguilera performs on stage during Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2019 on December 31, 2018 in New York City. Getty Images
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Christina Aguilera performs on stage during Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2019 on December 31, 2018 in New York City. Getty Images
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Michael Parente and Nina Esposito celebrate ringing in the new year in Times Square on January 1, 2019 in New York City. Getty Images
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A view of Times Square at midnight during Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2019 on December 31, 2018 in New York City. Getty Images

This article will be updated as more information comes in about New Year's celebrations in other countries around the world.