Revelers around the globe are bidding farewell to a decade that will be remembered for the rise of social media, the Arab Spring, the #MeToo movement and, of course, President Donald Trump.
A look at how the world is ushering in 2020:
Revelers as well as pro-democracy protesters flocked to sites across Hong Kong to usher in 2020.
The semi-autonomous Chinese city has toned down New Year”s celebrations amid the monthslong demonstrations. The protests have repeatedly sparked pitched battles with police and have taken their toll on Hong Kong”s nightlife and travel industries.
Russians began the world”s longest continuous New Year”s Eve with fireworks and a message from President Vladimir Putin urging them to work together in the coming year.
Putin made the call in a short speech broadcast on television just before the stroke of midnight in each of Russia”s 11 time zones. The recorded message was followed by an image of the Kremlin Clock and the sound of its chimes. State TV showed footage of extensive festive fireworks in cities of the Far East.
More than a million people descended on a hazy Sydney Harbour and surrounding areas ahead of the ringing in of the new year despite the ongoing wildfire crisis ravaging New South Wales, Australia”s most populous state.
The 9 p.m. fireworks over Sydney”s iconic landmarks was briefly delayed due to strong winds, but revelers clearly enjoyed themselves in a desperately needed tonic for the state.
New Zealand”s major cities greeted the new year with fireworks as the nation appeared happy to be done with a year of challenges, both natural and man-made.
On March 15, a lone gunman identified killed 51 people and wounded dozens at two mosques in the South Island city of Christchurch. In December, an eruption of volcanic White Island off the east coast of the North Island killed at least 19 tourists and tour guides.
In Samoa, New Year”s Eve was more somber than usual. While fireworks erupted at midnight from Mount Vaea, overlooking the capital, Apia, the end of the year was a time of sadness and remembrance.
A measles epidemic in late 2019 claimed 81 lives, mostly children under 5.
Londoners were making their way to the banks of the River Thames to jostle for position to watch a spectacular fireworks display launched from the London Eye and of barges near Parliament.
The familiar chimes of London”s Big Ben clock tower were to ring in the new year, even though they have been silent for most of 2019 because of extensive restoration work.
To the north, the multi-day Hogmanay New Years celebrations in Edinburgh began Monday night with a torchlight parade through the streets of the Scottish capital.
Thousands of revelers gathered at Cape Town”s Waterfront area to ring in the new year with music, dancing and fireworks in front of the city”s iconic Table Mountain.
In past years, residents of Johannesburg”s poor Hillbrow neighborhood would celebrate the New Year by tossing furniture, appliances and even refrigerators from the balconies of high-rise apartment buildings. Police have issued stern warnings and it appears the dangerous tradition has declined.
Pope Francis delighted tourists and Romans in St. Peter”s Square on Tuesday night when he took a stroll to admire the Nativity scene. Shouts of “Pope! Pope!” and “Happy New Year!” resounded as families rushed to catch a glimpse of him or thrust out their infant in hopes he would pat their heads or pinch their cheeks.
One woman grabbed the pope”s hand and pulled him toward her to shake it. Francis, 83, exclaimed and then struck the woman”s hand twice to free his hand.
At a New Year”s Eve Vespers service in St. Peter”s Basilica, Francis urged people to practice more solidarity and to “build bridges, not walls.” Since becoming pontiff in 2013, Francis has preached openness — a reform-minded agenda that has irritated a small but vocal group of ultra-conservatives in the church.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
For nearly 10 minutes, fireworks will light the sky over Dubai”s Burj Khalifa, the world”s tallest building, as hundreds of thousands gather downtown to watch the spectacular display.
The New Year”s Eve display at the 828-meter-tall (2,716-foot-tall) skyscraper is just one of seven different fireworks shows across the emirate. Tourists, especially from Europe and Russia, flock to the sunny beaches of Dubai at this time of year to escape the cold, dark winter.
To keep the massive crowds safe, police have created walkways around the Burj Khalifa tower for male-only groups to separate them from families and women.
Dubai this year will be hosting Expo 2020, a world fair that brings the most cutting-edge and futuristic technologies.
People flocked to temples and shrines in Japan, offering incense with their prayers to celebrate the passing of a year and the the first New Year”s of the Reiwa era.
Under Japan”s old-style calendar, linked to emperors” rules, Reiwa started in May, after Emperor Akihito stepped down and his son Naruhito became emperor. Although Reiwa is entering its second year with 2020, Jan. 1 still marks Reiwa”s first New Year”s, the most important holiday in Japan.