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Which country celebrates New Year’s first?

Corks will be popping around the globe this evening to ring in the New Year, but in parts of the world 2023 has already begun.

Fireworks explode over Sydney Harbour during the New Year's Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia, January 1, 2023. REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

As the year draws to a close there are now only a few hours of 2022 remaining. Unless, of course, you happen to live in one of a number of regions where the bell has already struck midnight and 2023 is well underway!

People around the world will celebrate the New Year as the clock strikes twelve in their respective time zones, meaning that the NYE celebration spreads around the world like a wave.

The first region to celebrate the New Year is Kiritimati in Oceania. The small island, also known as Christmas Island, inhibits a time zone 14 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The first major islands to reach midnight in the region will be Tonga, Samoa and parts of New Zealand, one hour later. One hour after that the most easterly parts of Russia, along with Fiji, will enter 2023.

GMT is the time zone that passes through Greenwich in London, United Kingdom. Here, midnight will come exactly 14 hours after the first bottles of bubbly were popped in Kiritimati. But even at this stage, only around half of the planet will have hit midnight

In the United States, the east coast will be the first to reach 2023, doing so five hours after London. Areas covered by Eastern Standard Time are five hours behind GMT, meaning that the Time Square celebrations in New York City can begin.

One hour after, areas covered by Central Standard Time will reach midnight, followed by Mountain Standard Time one hour later. Pacific Standard Time comes one hour later, followed by Alaska Standard Time.

This means that, 22 hours after the beginning of 2023 in Oceania, all of mainland United States will have finally made it into the New Year.

The last place on earth to hit 2023 will be the islands of American Samoa, back in the Pacific Ocean where things first started. A full 24 hours after the fellow Pacific island of Kiritimati entered into the New Year, the residents of American Samoa will do the same.


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