Australia’s largest city Sydney put on its biggest-ever fireworks display in a spectacular welcome to the New Year, kicking off a wave of celebrations for billions around the world.
A record amount of pyrotechnics as well as new fireworks effects and colors lit up the city’s skyline for 12 minutes and dazzled the more than 1.5 million spectators who packed the harbor front and parks.
An earlier thunderstorm did not dampen the spirits of revelers who camped out at vantage points, some since the morning.
To mark the international year of indigenous languages in 2019, the harbor also hosted a ceremony celebrating Aboriginal heritage that included animations projected onto the bridge’s pylons.
In the Indonesian capital Jakarta, more than 500 couples tied the knot in a free mass wedding organized by the government, with fireworks shows cancelled out of respect for tsunami victims.
New Year’s Eve celebrations were also called off in nearby Banten province, where the disaster struck on 22 December killing more than 400 people.
In Japan, locals flocked to temples to ring in 2019, as US boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather came out of retirement to beat Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in a multi-million-dollar “exhibition” bout outside Tokyo.
“It was all about entertainment. We had fun,” Mayweather said in the ring after the event, which pitted him against an opponent less than half his age.
“I’m still retired… I did this just to entertain the fans in Japan,” added the 41-year-old.