Cities around the world prepared to welcome the New Year on Monday, from traditional ceremonies in Japan to fireworks displays in Sydney, Dubai, London, Edinburgh and Rio de Janeiro.
At 6 a.m. ET, Auckland, New Zealand, became the first major city to ring in 2019 with fireworks erupting from Auckland's Sky Tower. Thousands of revelers on the waterfront cheered as they watched brightly colored fireworks and laser lighting shoot into the sky over the city's harbor.
Celebrations followed in Sydney two hours later with rain-drenched crowds counting down to midnight. Fireworks launched from buildings across the city lit up the night and reflected in the harbor.
Police estimated that more than 1 million people would crowd Sydney Harbor to watch the spectacular display. More than 1 billion people around the world were expected to watch the display on television.
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Tokyo also rung in 2019 at 10 a.m. ET, Hong Kong at 11 a.m. ET and Bangkok at noon ET.
While many celebrate New Year's Eve with fireworks and revelry, hundreds of Thais traveled to Takien Temple in a suburb of Bangkok to lie inside coffins for traditional funeral rituals. Participants believe the ceremony symbolizing death and rebirth helps rid them of bad luck and paves the way for rebirth in the new year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual New Year message was transmitted in the Moscow subway system at midnight — 4 p.m. ET — for the first time. The video message will be seen on almost 9,000 screens in 1,820 train cars.
In the Vatican, Pope Francis led the "Te Deum" to thank God for 2018.
Hours ahead of midnight on the East Coast of the U.S., President Donald Trump tweeted an 11-second video saying, "While I'm at the White House working, you're out there partying tonight. But I don't blame you. Enjoy yourselves. We're going to have a great year. Have a really, really happy new year."
Not all was set to be a celebration, however. Across Europe, security has been stepped up.
In Paris, "yellow vest" protesters were calling for more demonstrations on the famed Champs-Elysees, where fireworks, lights and sound show was planned. President Emmanuel Macron was to deliver a televised message.