Ringing in the New Year around the world

  • People look at fireworks during a New Year Celebration in Manila on Jan. 1, 2015. The Philippines is mainly Roman Catholic but the celebrations draw on ancient superstitions and Chinese traditions in which the noise from firecrackers is meant to drive away evil spirits and bring good luck in the coming year. Philippine authorities said more than 260 people had been injured by fireworks, firecrackers or stray bullets in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve.
  • Fireworks explode over the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge during New Years Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia, Jan. 1, 2015. Thousands of people crammed into Lady Macquaries Chair lookout to see the new year in and watch the annual fireworks show.
  • Crowds watch and take photographs as fireworks light up the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the annual fireworks display, Jan. 1, 2015. More than 10,000 aerial fireworks, 25,000 shooting comets and 100,000 pyrotechnic effects were used during the annual Sydney Harbour New Year’s Eve show, with an estimated 1.2 million people watching from along the harbour foreshore, local media reported.
  • People gather along Sydney Harbour to welcome in the New Year on New Year’s Eve on Sydney Harbour on December 31, 2014, in Sydney, Australia.
  • A couple takes a “selfie” as fireworks go off during a ceremony to celebrate the new year at Bongeun Buddhist temple in Seoul, Jan. 1, 2015.
  • A woman lights a candle before a ceremony to celebrate the new year at Bongeun Buddhist temple in Seoul, Dec. 31, 2014.
  • Firework display from the top of the Sky Tower to welcome the New Year on Jan. 1, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. 
  • People release balloons during New Year celebrations in Tokyo, Jan. 1, 2015.
  • People skate before a New Year’s Eve countdown event in front of Beijing’s National Stadium, Known as the Bird’s Nest in Beijing on Dec. 31, 2014. Beijing is bidding to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, with a decision on the winning city to be made in July 2015.
  • Women wear eyewear in the shape of the year 2015 as they wait for a countdown event to celebrate the arrival of the new year and in wishing winning the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, in front of the National Stadium, also known as the “Bird’s Nest”, in Beijing, Dec. 31, 2014.
  • People pray during ceremonies bidding farewell to 2014, ahead of New Year’s Day, at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Dec. 31, 2014.
  • Pope Francis visits the traditional Crib in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Dec. 31, 2014.
  • U.S. soldiers from Dragon Troop of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment talk in front of a projected image to celebrate the new year at operating base Gamberi in the Laghman province of Afghanistan, Dec. 31, 2014.

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Celebrating the new year could arguably be the best 24-hour party of the year. As clocks in time zones around the world click over to 2015, some revelers are united by fireworks and flashbulbs, while others come together for prayer and thoughtful reflection. Some cultures believe the noise from fireworks scares away evil spirits and ushers in good luck for the new year.

New Zealand, where it is currently the summer, was the first place to ring in 2015 — midnight there coincided with 6 a.m. ET. Australia followed afterward with a spectacular fireworks display launched off of the Harbour Bridge in Sydney.

In America, the East Coast is gearing up to watch the New Year’s ball descend in Times Square. The iconic symbol is made of 2,688 crystal triangles and 32,256 LEDs in red, blue, green and white. 

Take a look at how the party is getting started in other parts of the world. 

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography

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