New Year's Eve celebrations: World welcomes 2018 

New Year's Eve celebrations: World welcomes 2018 The New Year has officially begun in most of the world, with cities around the globe celebrating the start of 2018 beginning with the Pacific Ocean nations of Samoa, Tonga and Christmas Island/Kiribati. The last places on Earth to see in the New Year are minor outlying US islands like Baker Island and Howland Island – although these are uninhabited. The last inhabited island is American Samoa which will welcome 2018 when it's 11am in London on January 1.  When major cities will welcome 2018 11.00 GMT Auckland, New Zealand 13:00 GMT Sydney, Australia  15:00 Tokyo 16:00 Beijing and Hong Kong  20:00 Dubai  23:00 Paris, Rome and Brussels 00:00 London  05:00 New York  08:00 Los Angeles  In the UK, Storm Dylan brought a wet and windy end to the year, with howling gales in excess of 70mph hitting parts of Ireland and Wales and squally rain bearing down on the UK mainland. Forecasters have warned of severe gusts of up to 80mph.  New Year's Eve 2017, in pictures Across the pond, New Yorkers braved the elements for one of the coldest New Year celebrations on record. Revellers were warned to bring handwarmers, wrap up warm and avoid alcohol as they flocked to Times Square, where temperatures dipped below the -11 Celsius recorded in 1962, the second coldest year on record. The coldest ever was in 1917, when it was -17 Celsius at midnight.  Drinking alcohol is discouraged because it causes body temperature to drop faster. Partygoers were told to cover all exposed skin. New York glitters in the cold Confetti rains down Credit: AP With a burst of confetti and fireworks, throngs of revellers ushered in 2018 in a frozen Times Square as the glittering crystal ball dropped.  It was the second-coldest on record, hitting a temperature of -12 Celsius at midnight. Partygoers bundled up in extra layers wearing with warm hats and face masks, dancing and jogging in place to ward off the cold.  There was also tighter security than ever after two terrorist attacks and a rampaging SUV driver who ploughed into a crowd on the very spot where the party takes place. The party went off with no major problems.  Fireworks erupt from Times Square's iconic advertising displays Credit: AP Auld Lang Syne and New York, New York played as the crowds cheered.  The music had barely died away before people headed for the warmth of home or midtown clubs. Earlier Mariah Carey made it through a performance before the crowd, making amends for her disastrous appearance last year. At the end of 2016 she had technical difficulties during a live performance of her hit song Emotions. She stopped singing, paced the stage and told the audience to finish the lyrics for her.  This year, however, she made it through cleanly despite the bitter cold. London celebrates It is finally the UK's turn to welcome in 2018 and London does it in usual style with a massive fireworks display over the Thames in front of the Houses of Parliament. Fireworks on the Thames by Parliament and Big Ben herald the start of the New Year Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/LNP Hundreds of thousands took to the streets to watch dazzling fireworks and join lively celebrations across the UK. Crowds swamped the banks of the River Thames in London for the 12-minute display after Big Ben's bongs rung out across the capital at midnight, having been turned back on for the festive period. Fireworks explode over Big Ben and the giant Ferris wheel of the London Eye at midnight Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images Europe More than 100,000 ticket-holders watched London's New Year's Eve fireworks, which featured a soundtrack dominated by women to mark the centenary of women being granted the vote. Songs by Aretha Franklin, Annie Lennox, Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa and Florence Welch were among those included in the women-only second half of the world-famous show. More than 10,000 fireworks lit up the capital's sky during that sold-out event, prompting huge cheers from the lively crowd. Scotland Yard confirmed fewer Metropolitan Police officers were working during this year's celebration, but security at the event appeared tight, with armed police on patrol and security barriers erected. The huge event took place at the end of the year which saw London hit by four terror attacks. Edinburgh's Hogmany is in full swing Torchbearers blazed through the city accompanied by a cast of pipers and drummers with the procession starting at St Giles cathedral and making its way down the Royal Mile towards Holyrood Park, passing Scottish Parliament and the Palace of Holyrood House. Hogmany celebrations Credit: Ian Georgeson/The Corner Shop The Torchlight Procession which marks the opening of city's New Year celebrations, makes its way through Edinburgh Credit:  David Cheskin/PA Fireworks light up the sky in Edinburgh during the Hogmanay New Year celebrations Credit: David Cheskin/PA Revellers braved blustery conditions to enjoy Hogmanay celebrations, after Storm Dylan earlier threatened to cause disruption. Gusts of up to 76mph were recorded in parts of Scotland on Sunday afternoon but conditions calmed, allowing one of the world's biggest street parties to go ahead as planned. Tens of thousands saw in 2018 against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. Underbelly, which is producing the event for the first time, promised the "best party ever" for the 75,000 people attending, with live music, DJs, street entertainment and the "ultimate fireworks display" from Edinburgh Castle. Rag'n'Bone Man is headlining Concert in the Gardens, with Declan McKenna and Nina Nesbitt as support acts, while those performing on the three Street Party stages include The Human League, Sacred Paws, Treacherous Orchestra and Huey Morgan. Berlin celebrates Fireworks explode next to the Quadriga sculpture atop the Brandenburg gate during New Year celebrations in Berlin Fireworks explode next to the Quadriga sculpture Credit: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/REUTERS Athens rings in 2018 Fireworks explode by the Ancient Acropolis in Athens  Fireworks explode by the Ancient Acropol Credit: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP Moscow's skies explode with colour Fireworks lit the sky over the Bolshoy Kamenny bridge where Red square and Kremlin Palace are seen on background during the New Year's celebrations in Moscow, Russia  Fireworks light the sky in Moscow Credit: TATYANA MAKEYEVA/REUTERS  A performer during New Year celebrations in central Moscow Credit: Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS Dubai puts on light show Dubai celebrated the start of 2018 with a spectacular New Year's Eve extravagant light show in its usual impressive fashion. "Light Up 2018" promised to be a dazzling experience that integrated music, visuals and the performance of The Dubai Fountain in a brilliantly choreographed show. The world's tallest building was emblazoned with the words Year of Zayed. 2018 will mark 100 years since the birth of the founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan. Dubai welcomes in 2018 with an extravagant light show  Dubai welcomes in 2018 with an extravagant light show  Hong Kong and Beijing count down to 2018 An impressive fireworks display lit up Hong Kong as partygoers counted down to 2018. The musical fireworks stretched 1.1km along the harbourfront, during the 10-minute show which started at midnight. The display includes a "Magic Stardust" firework, inspired by the idea of dancing fairies which scatter magical stardust over the harbour, a symbol of the New Year's blessings to the city. Time to party and celebrate the #NewYear in style in #HongKong! ���� See more here:— Hong Kong (@discoverhk) December 27, 2017 Members of the public  were able to “make a wish” on the stars, with the various colours symbolising love, health, happiness and wealth. Additionally, there were well-attended countdown parties across Hong Kong, with revellers enjoying a multitude of activities from karaoke to masquerade. Beijing rang in the New Year at the same time, after Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech. Stunning aerial view of #Beijing's Central Axis lit up for #NewYear's Eve Stunning aerial…— Mensur Lawler (@honzaruiite) December 31, 2017 He said the year 2018 marked the first year of fully implementing "the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China," also promising that by 2020 all rural workers will be lifted out of poverty. The city was lit up by spectacular fireworks – it is known for its displays and China is thought to have invented them more than a thousand years ago during the Tang dynasty. Balloons, fireworks and foxes: Tokyo rings in the New Year Tokyo celebrated the New Year at 3pm UK time. The Japanese capital saw the first snow of the season on Sunday as people prepared to ring in 2018. There were many countdown parties taking place across the city, with some celebrities in attendance. Happy New Year from Tokyo American Club.— Tokyo American Club (@TACtokyo) December 31, 2017 Singer John Legend and wife Chrissy Teigan were in Japan in order to celebrate the New Year. She tweeted earlier in the evening: "3 hours and 12 minutes left in this ridiculous year but who’s counting." During the celebrations, balloons were released at Tokyo Park and there was a fireworks display at Sea Paradise Aquarium in Yokohama. Happy New Year from the cool craziness of Tokyo with 80,000 people celebrating— rachel lilley (@NZRACHEH) December 31, 2017 A more unusual way to ring in the New Year is the Oji Fox Parade, at which revellers dress as foxes as they count down to midnight. Spectacular fireworks fill Australia's skies Sydney, Australia rang in the New Year at 1pm UK time, after a family-friendly firework show earlier in the evening. The Opera House could be seen illuminated by the fireworks as an estimated 1.6 million people gathered to watch. The fireworks for this evenings New Years Eve celebrations in #Sydney.— Ross Johnson (@rossxjohnson) December 31, 2017 Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the display would enforce the city's position as the New Year's Eve capital of the world He said:"The most technologically advanced fireworks display I'm told. Wow! The family-friendly 9pm fireworks set the scene for a huge celebration. We can’t wait to see what midnight brings— City of Sydney (@cityofsydney) December 31, 2017 "It'll promote Sydney to the world. There'll be a billion viewers out there watching." Melbourne also celebrated in style, with  14 tonnes of fireworks launched from the top of 22 city buildings. New Zealand celebrates the new year Record numbers were expected to show up to New Zealand's new year celebrations as it became one of the first countries to celebrate 2018, at 11am UK time. Good news. It's 2018 in NZ already and it's not bad so far. Happy New Year!— Jemaine Clement (@AJemaineClement) December 31, 2017 In Auckland, revellers were treated to reggae music from local bands at a block party and in Rotorua, there is a free festival featuring local entertainment, fireworks and the hedline act Elemeno P. There are quite a few festivals happening across the country – but alcohol has been banned in many parts of New Zealand including Queenstown, Frankton, Arrowtown, Wanaka and Hawea. Fireworks in Auckland Credit:  Dave Rowland/Getty Images This came into effect on Wednesday and will be in place until the 6th. The alcohol bans are put in place to avoid disruption and danger, but the elements caused some chaos, with a south-westerley wind hitting the beaches and sending towels and umbrellas flying. Police were also forced to deal with escaped sheep. Big news coming out of Timaru. Cows were wondering on the road but were mooved off by a motorist. Our unit didn't find cows but did find sheep. Ewe know what that could mean. #NZPCanterburyNYE— CanterburyPoliceNZ (@NZPCanterbury) December 31, 2017 A local police department tweeted: "Big news coming out of Timaru. Cows were wondering on the road but were mooved off by a motorist. Our unit didn't find cows but did find sheep. Ewe know what that could mean. " First country rings in the New Year Samoa became the first country to celebrate 2018 as midnight struck on the islands. Samoa became the first country to celebrate the New Year Credit:  David Kirkland/ Photolibrary RM The most interesting thing about the New Year in Samoa is the fact that one can take an hour's flight to American Samoa, which is on the other side of the dateline, and celebrate the New Year twice, twelve hours later as it is one of the last places to hit midnight. Fia Fia dance��mosquito dance Samoa的傳統舞基本上就是打蚊子舞��最喜歡他們跳舞唱歌時的樣子,完全就是自然奔放的太平洋之子們阿�� #samoa #pacificisland #islandboys #mosquitodance #fiafianight A post shared by MEI_CINDY (@meihan_huang) on Dec 30, 2017 at 11:36pm PST Often, Samoans and visitors to the country celebrate with fireworks and traditional juggling and dancing. People visit from all over the globe in order to be the first to see the New Year. A post shared by Carol Sheldon (@carolshe) on Dec 30, 2017 at 8:20pm PST  In 2011, officials in Samoa decided to move  from the eastern side of the international date line to the western side, making it the first country to celebrate the New Year instead of the last. This put the Pacific island nation on the same weekday as its neighbours to the west, including Australia and New Zealand, and was aimed at making trade with the countries easier and boosting the economy.

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