World gets first taste of 2018 as Asia, Oceania ring in the new year

Sunday, December 31, 2017 05:02PM
Fireworks exploded over the famed Sydney Opera House and Hong Kong's Central District as revelers gathered to usher in 2018 in cities across Asia and Oceania.

Across Asia and Oceania, revelers gathered en masse to welcome the world's first moments of 2018.

In Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city, tens of thousands gathered around Sky Tower as five minutes of nonstop pyrotechnics exploded from the top of the structure. A dazzling display of fireworks then exploded over the famed Sydney Opera House as an estimated million revelers gathered to watch the fireworks.

Three hours later, thousands of people filled the streets near Seoul's City Hall for a traditional bell-tolling ceremony to usher in the new year, and 2018 arrived an hour later in Hong Kong with a spectacular fireworks display over the city's Central District.

Many Japanese celebrated the arrival of the Year of the Dog in the traditional way of praying for peace and good fortune at neighborhood Shinto shrines and eating New Year's food such as noodles, shrimp and sweet black beans.

VIDEO: New Year's celebrations from Dubai to Kuala Lumpur
New Year's celebrations from Dubai to Kuala Lumpur

Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, has again served as the focal point of New Year's Eve celebrations - though this year authorities decided against fireworks and chose a massive LED light show on the structure.

As Americans prepare to gather for large celebrations in cities across the country, chilling temperatures are expected in New York City - which could see the coldest New Year's Eve in decades - and much of the east. Security remains tight as officials work to keep revelers safe after a year deemed by one group as the deadliest year for mass shootings in modern American history.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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