New Year’s Eve: Global celebrations bring in 2015 – BBC News

Fireworks in Sydney

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Fireworks light up the skies around the world as millions welcome 2015

Revellers across the globe are gathering to welcome in the new year, with New Zealand and Australia leading the celebrations.

A giant clock in Auckland’s Sky Tower counted down the minutes until midnight (11:00 GMT), when fireworks erupted.

Up to 1.5m people lined the shores of Sydney harbour in preparation for the city’s famous firework display.

Celebration plans have been muted in Indonesia, however, in the wake of the AirAsia Flight QZ8501 crash.

In Brazil, more than one million people will join the crowds on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach, while New Yorkers will watch the city lower its trademark crystal ball over Times Square.

Some of the easternmost corners of earth, including Samoa, Kiribati and the Chatham Islands of New Zealand, were the first places to herald the new year.

New Year fireworks in Sydney, 31 December 2014Sydney’s Harbour Bridge was the centrepiece of the city’s new year fireworks

 Firework display from the top of the Sky Tower to welcome the New Year on 1 January 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand.Auckland was the first major city to welcome in 2015 with a huge firework display and music blasting from its iconic Sky Tower

People gather along Sydney Harbour to welcome in the New Year on New Year's Eve on Sydney Harbour on 31 December 2014 in Sydney, Australia.Sydney residents pitched up early on Wednesday to try to get the best view of the huge light display

Shinto priests walk through a wooden tore gate after concluding an yearend ritual in preparation for the New Year at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan, 31 December 2014. Shinto priests conduct an end of year ritual ahead of the new year at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. Over the coming days, more than three million people are expected to visit the shrine to pray for health and prosperity in 2015

A man hangs a wooden plaque with people's wishes or prayers on a hook during ceremonies bidding farewell to 2014, at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo on 31 December 2014People hung wooden plaques with wishes or prayers for 2015 at the shrine

Fireworks explode over the Victoria Harbour to celebrate the 2015 new year in Hong Kong, Wednesday 1 January 2015Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour was lit up by fireworks as the clock hit midnight

Students form "2015" standing on snow to welcome the upcoming New Year at Shenyang Agriculture University in Shenyang, Liaoning province, 31 December 2014. Students at China’s Shenyang Agriculture University found their own way of marking the start of 2015

Indian students form numbers representing the year 2015 during a function to welcome the New Year at a school in Ahmadabad, India, on 31 December 2014It was a similar picture from students in Ahmadabad, India

A woman prays during New Year celebrations at Jogye Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, 1 January 2015.A woman prays during new year celebrations at Jogye Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea

A man with his face painted before the 90th Sao Silvestre international 15km race in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on 31 December 2014A reveller in Sao Paulo, Brazil, painted his face for the Sao Silvestre 15km (9 miles) run, which has become an end of the year staple in the city

A college student with paintings of a sheep on their hands to welcome the new year, and to mark the coming "Year of the Sheep", in Liaocheng, in eastern China's Shandong province on 30 December 2014 2015 is the “Year of the Sheep” in China, as illustrated by this student in eastern Shandong province

A man and a woman dressed as Father Frost (L) and his granddaughter (2-L) wave from a horse-drawn carriage as they take part in a New Year parade in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 31 December 2014. Grandfather Frost – the Russian equivalent of Father Christmas – and his granddaughter joined Kyrgyzstan’s new year parade in Bishkek

Onlookers write and post their New Year wishes on a wishing wall display at a mall in Quezon city, metro Manila 31 December 2014. A wishing wall is on display in the Philippines capital, Manila. Around 50,000 posted wishes will be used as confetti alongside fireworks to herald in the new year

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