The New Year has officially begun, as midnight passed in Samoa, Tonga and Christmas Island/Kiribati, the first places in the world to welcome in 2018.
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.
In the UK, Storm Dylan is set to bring 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. Across the pond, New Yorkers have been warned as they prepare for one of the coldest New Year celebrations on record.
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.
FIRST COUNTRY TO CELEBRATE NEW YEAR 2018
Samoa became the first country to celebrate 2018 as midnight struck on the islands. 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. People visit from all over the globe in order to be the first to see the New Year.
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.
MAJOR CITIES AND CELEBRATION TIME