New Years Around the World in Photos

The new decade of the Gregorian calendar begins on January 1, 2020. Many people around the world hold New Year's Day as a new beginning, a time to cast out the old and ring in the new.

But what are some of the ways different countries celebrate the arrival of the new year? To help answer this question, Newsweek compiled some photos from New Year's Eve and New Year's Day commemorations around the world.

New Zealand

The first people in the world to move to the next decade were those living in the Pacific islands of Samoa, Tonga and Kiritimati. An hour later, 2020 came to the South Pacific nation of New Zealand. Festive fireworks exploded over Auckland, the island country's largest city.

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Fireworks are seen exploding from the Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour and Sky Tower during the Auckland New Year's Eve celebrations on January 01, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. Steve Thomson/Getty

According to the New Zealand Herald, thousands gathered to watch fireworks shoot out from the Sky Tower. For the first time, lasers and animations were part of the fireworks display this year.

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Fireworks from the SkyTower during Auckland New Year's Eve celebrations on January 01, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. Dave Rowland/Getty

Australia

Eastern Australia entered the new year two hours after New Zealand. As in Auckland, the fireworks at the harbor in Sydney, Australia's largest city and the capital of New South Wales, drew in vast throngs of people to see the spectacle. According to the Evening Standard, the show in Sydney attracted over a million people.

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Fireworks explode over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House during the midnight display during New Year's Eve celebrations on January 01, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. Hanna Lassen/Getty

Photographs showed what appeared to be thousands of spectators showing out to take in the celebratory fireworks displayed in Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, which rivaled those in Sydney.

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Fireworks erupt over the Melbourne central business district during New Year's Eve celebrations on January 01, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Asanka Ratnayake/Getty

South Korea

As of press time, the Republic of Korea, also known as South Korea, has also passed into the new decade. Photographs showed an impressive crowd turning out to Bosingak pavilion in Seoul, the capital.

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South Koreans perform on stage to celebrate New Years at the Bosingak pavilion on January 1, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty
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People gather to celebrate New Years at the Bosingak pavilion on January 1, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty

Japan

The approximately 126 million people living in Japan entered the new year the same time as South Korea. The countdown to the new year in Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, the city set to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, was sponsored by Coca-Cola. People wore commemorative hats emblazoned with the Coke logo and took photos of the clock as 2019 became 2020.

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People take photographs during the You Make Shibuya Countdown 2019-2020 event at Shibuya Crossing on January 1, 2020. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty
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People take photographs during the You Make Shibuya Countdown 2019-2020 event at Shibuya Crossing on December 31, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty

A more somber celebration of the new year also took place in Japan before the countdown. According to Kokugakuin University's Encyclopedia of Shinto, it is common practice for people in Japan to visit Shinto temples or shrines, known as sankei, for celebration of the New Year. Typically, people will go to the sanskei at midnight on New Year's Eve to hear the temple bells, joya no kane.

Photos captured Shinto priests about to start the Oharae ceremony in Tokyo, which is meant to cleanse people of their sins ahead of the new year.

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Shinto priests arrive for the Oharae ceremony or the Great Purification ceremony at the Meiji Jingu shrine on December 31, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty

China

People in the most populated country on the planet, the People's Republic of China, rang in the new year with a bang. There was a massive countdown event in Beijing's Shougang Park.

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Chinese people celebrate the New Year during a New Year's Eve event at Shougang Park on December 31, 2019 in Beijing, China. Lintao Zhang/Getty
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Chinese people celebrate the New Year during a New Year's Eve event at Shougang Park on December 31, 2019 in Beijing, China. Lintao Zhang/Getty
New Years Around the World in Photos | World