- The biggest party in the world is underway with bright fireworks bursting into skies across the globe as midnight strikes and nations hail the start of 2014.
Exploding fireworks sprayed from Sydney's iconic opera house and harbor bridge as the world began ushering in a new year.
More than one million people crammed the Sydney Harbor foreshore on a warm summer night to watch Sydney's renowned annual pyrotechnics show, which appeared to live up to its billing as the city's most extravagant. Fireworks launched from four sails of the Sydney Opera House for the first time in more than a decade.
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More than one million people packed the water and shoreline of Sydney's harbour to watch the annual fireworks spectacular
The Opera House is lit up by the stunning fountains of fireworks streaming off the harbour bridge. This year's display is the most extravagant ever, organisers have said
The view over Sydney Harbour from Mrs Macquarie's chair as midnight strikes and the crowds hail the New Year
Fireworks launched from the four sails of Sydney's iconic Opera House for the first time in more than a decade
As midnight struck in New Zealand a fireworks display erupted over the city as thousands danced in the streets below
Tourists and locals dance to celebrate the New Year in Queenstown, New Zealand
New Zealand is among the first nations to see in the New Year
Dubai will later try to create the world's largest fireworks show to ring in 2014.
Closer to the edge of the International Dateline, New Zealand bid farewell to 2013 two hours before Sydney with fireworks erupting from Auckland's Sky Tower as cheering revelers danced in the streets of the South Pacific island nation's largest city.
Dubai, home to world's tallest tower, is known for its glitz, glamor and over-the-top achievements, and this New Year's Eve the city is planning to break another record by creating the largest fireworks show ever.
Organizers plan to light up the city's coastline with a flying falcon made out of fireworks that moves across a massive man-made palm-shaped island alongside a countdown in fireworks.
Sydney hailed in the New Year in stunning style, with the traditional harbour fireworks display
Young Chinese students at a middle school in Hanshan county, Anhui province, line up to form 'Happy 2014' to celebrate the New Year
A Buddhist woman attaches her name card on a lantern ahead of the New Year at Chogye Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea
In Melbourne thousands of people have linded the River Yarra, packing Melbourne Cricket Ground to take in the bright spectacular
Gearing up for the New Year, students in China use light pens to welcome 2014
Organizers say they will also create a burst of light out of fireworks to imitate a sunrise and dazzle spectators with a United Arab Emirates flag that could also break records for being the largest ever made out of fireworks.
The six-minute extravaganza will include 500,000 fireworks from 400 firing locations, all synchronized by 100 computers from stations across the city, said Barrett Wissman, co-chairman of IMG Artists that is managing the event. Guinness World Record officials will be on hand to measure the scale of the event.
Wissman said the display will cover 30 miles (48 kilometers) of seafront. 'It is really mind-blowing, the size of this,' he said.
In the Philippines, more than 260 people had been injured by firecracker blasts and celebratory gunfire ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations, one of Asia's most violent revelries.
Fireworks light up the skyline over Sydney Harbour during the 9pm family fireworks session during New Years Eve celebrations
Chinese residents in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, China use light pens to draw 2014 to welcome in the New Year
Actors dressed as the Russian Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost), right, and his companion Snegurochka (Snow Maiden), left, take part a New Year parade in the Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek
Musicians wearing Christmas costumes take part in the New Year parade in Bishkek. New Year, which was the biggest informal holiday of the year in the former Soviet Union, is also very popular in the predominantly Muslim Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan
Department of Health spokesman Dr Eric Tayag said he expected the number of injuries to rise sharply when Filipinos ignite powerful firecrackers to end a year marked by tragic disasters, including a November 8 typhoon that left more than 6,100 dead and nearly 1,800 others missing.
'Many here are welcoming the new year after losing their mothers, fathers, siblings and children so you can imagine how it feels,' said village chief Maria Rosario Bactol of Anibong community in Tacloban, the city worst hit by Typhoon Haiyan.
'I tell them to face the reality, to move on and stand up but I know it will never be easy.'
In Sydney, the fireworks will be launched from four sails of the Sydney Opera House for the first time in more than a decade. The local council said the secret fireworks feature that will erupt on the Sydney Harbor Bridge will be twice the size of last year's centerpiece of the show.
Shinto priests walk toward the main hall to hold a shinto ritual in preparation for the New Year at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan. It is expected that around three million people will visit the shrine to pray for their health, happiness and property during the first days of 2014
Shinto priests walk under a 'torii' (Japanese gate located at the entrance of a Shinto shrine) after they participated to a shinto ritual in preparation for the New Year at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan
China was planning to count down to the New Year with light shows at two spectacular and historic locations - part of the Great Wall near Beijing and at the Bund waterfront in Shanghai.
In Beijing, one flower shop manager said he hoped the new year brought more customers.
'Since the government started its campaign to crack down on luxury spending and promote frugality, our business with government agencies has been in decline,' said Mao Xiangfei. 'In the past, government clients accounted for about 10 percent of our business, but now it's zero.'
But in one polluted Chinese city, the celebrations were slated to be quieter as authorities in Wuhan in central Hubei province called off their annual New Year fireworks show and banned fireworks downtown to avoid making the smoggy air worse.
The 9.30pm New Year's Eve fireworks at Yarra Park beside the Melbourne Cricket Ground
Thousands of people gathered on Princes Bridge in Melbourne waiting for midnight to strike
In Japan, thousands of visitors, some donning kimono, will pray, ring a bell and toss coins as offerings at shrines, wishing for health, wealth and happiness. Temple bells will ring the customary 108 times, for the 108 causes of suffering according to Buddhism, and welcome in the Year of the Horse.
Japanese are hopeful about the economy for the first time in years after some signs of revival under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose easing lending policies and pump-priming measures have been dubbed 'Abenomics.'Among those upbeat about what the new year might bring is Junya Sakata, a 23-year-old Tokyo waiter looking forward to taking sommelier classes next year so he can move up in his career.
'I hope the economy will keep improving, building up to the 2020 Olympics,' he said, which will be held in Tokyo. 'So many things happened this year, but I was able to grow. Maybe next year I will find a girlfriend.'
In North Korea, a group of tourists, including Americans, planned to watch fireworks in Kim Il Sung Square and watch the Pyongyang Bell strike midnight, said Andrea Lee, CEO of Uritours, a tour group specializing in travel to North Korea.
'There were a lot of people out on the streets today for an outdoor dance event, and cars filled the streets,' Ms Lee said.
In Hong Kong, tens of thousands will turn out to watch the fireworks display over the southern Chinese city's famed Victoria Harbor.
Pyrotechnics will be fired off near the Kowloon peninsula and from the tops of seven skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island. A British colonial-era canon will be fired at midnight in a tradition dating from the end of World War II.
In Indonesia, New Year's celebrations are widespread except in the city of Banda Aceh where Islamic clerics prohibit Muslims from celebrating New Year's Eve.
In the capital, Jakarta, Governor Joko Widodo will lead a festival featuring concerts, parades, a marching band and fireworks.
Meanwhile in London Ian Guy and Alice Summerill from Bristol arrive early to get a prime spot to watch the Southbank fireworks show illuminate the capital as midnight strikes in the UK
Dozens of Portaloos are moved into position close to Parliament as hundreds of thousands of people are expected to flock to London today
Barriers have been erected around the fountains in Trafalgar Square to try and stop revellers jumping in the water amid the excitement as the clock strikes 12am