Happy New Year: World welcomes 2019 with pomp and fireworks
Auckland, Dec 31: As the new year dawned, fireworks boomed and crackled in different cities of the country while party-goers sang, hugged and danced. New Zealand was the first country to usher in the New Year 2019.
Auckland, New Zealand welcomed 2019 with fireworks over the Auckland Sky Tower and a first-time ever light show on Auckland Harbour bridge. Auckland is the first major city to welcome the new year.
Snoop Dogg, Sting and Christina Aguilera will welcome 2019 in a packed Times Square along with revellers from around the world who come to see the traditional crystal ball drop.
Australia's largest city Sydney put on its biggest-ever fireworks display in a spectacular welcome to the New Year, kicking off a wave of celebrations for billions around the world.
A record amount of pyrotechnics as well as new fireworks effects and colours lit up the city's skyline for 12 minutes and dazzled the more than 1.5 million spectators who packed the harbour front and parks. An earlier thunderstorm did not dampen the spirits of revellers who camped out at vantage points, some since the early hours of the morning.
To mark the international year of indigenous languages in 2019, the harbour also hosted a ceremony celebrating Aboriginal heritage that included animations projected onto the bridge's pylons.
The party atmosphere will sweep across major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas as the clock ticks past midnight.
In Hong Kong, hundreds of thousands of revellers packed the streets on both sides of the city's Victoria Harbour for a spectacular 10-minute firework show.
Some $1.8 million worth of pyrotechnics bathed the city's skyscrapers in a dizzying array of colours accompanied by a score that included Auld Lang Syne sung in Cantonese, Mandarin and English.
Revellers were packed shoulder to shoulder on the densely crowded streets, many festooned with LED lights and sparkly glasses reading "2019".
In the Indonesian capital Jakarta, more than 500 couples tied the knot in a free mass wedding organised by the government, with fireworks shows cancelled out of respect for tsunami victims.
New Year's Eve celebrations were also called off in nearby Banten province, where the disaster struck on 22 December killing more than 400 people.
In Japan, locals flocked to temples to ring in 2019, as US boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather came out of retirement to beat Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in a multi-million-dollar "exhibition" bout outside Tokyo.
In Moscow, concerts and light shows will be held across the Russian capital's parks and more than 1,000 ice rinks have been opened for merrymakers.
In Paris, a fireworks display and sound and light show under the theme "fraternity" is set to go ahead on the Champs-Elysees despite plans for further "yellow vest" anti-government protests at the famed avenue.
In Berlin, music lovers will party at a concert at the Brandenburg Gate, but a popular German tradition of setting off fireworks to mark the occasion has been banned in some other cities over safety concerns.
In Mumbai, the new year celebration at Bandra Reclamation was marked by extensive fireworks. People gathered in large numbers in Ahmedabad to welcome the new year 2019. India and five other countries entered an election year to elect a new government. Other nations that go to the polls in 2019 are Afghanistan, Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina and Australia.