New Year's Eve 2021 celebrations around the world - in pictures

See how countries around the world are welcoming 2021

Powered by automated translation

After a challenging year around the globe, the world is preparing to welcome in 2021 with open arms, and New Zealand is kicking off the celebrations.

Marking the arrival of the New Year with a fireworks show at SkyTower in Auckland, people gathered to celebrate as the clock hit midnight.

In Australia, Sydney's world-famous fireworks took place with much smaller crowds than usual, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

As people gear up for New Year's celebrations around the world, many of which will look rather different this year, The National will be sharing pictures as the start of 2021 trickles across the globe.

In the UAE, the turn of the New Year was marked with fireworks displays, including a show at the world's tallest building, and an attempt to break a Guinness World Record in the capital with the world's longest fireworks display, at 35 minutes.

"Happy new year" and "2021" were seen on the Burj Khalifah in Dubai as fireworks shot off up and down the tower.

In Cairo, Egypt, fireworks exploded over the new suspension bridge crossing the River Nile, named Tahya Misr (Long Live Egypt), for the new year.

Fireworks light up the sky as Baghdad welcomes in new year

Fireworks light up the sky as Baghdad welcomes in new year

Berlin's annual official New Year's Eve festivities at The Brandenburg Gate were broadcast by public German TV station ZDF.

Any chance of an in-person crowd at the "Welcome 2021" show was blocked, because of rising coronavirus cases in Germany.

Britain rang in the new year with subdued, limited, and cancelled celebrations shortly after the nation formally left the European Union market.

New York City's Times Square was barricaded on Thursday, with only a handful of invited guests, including healthcare workers and others from the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, allowed in to watch the New Year's Eve ball drop in person.

The eagerly awaited first lights of 2021 fell on the Pacific nations of Kiribati and Samoa, with the uninhabited Howland and Baker Islands the last to tip over into the New Year 26 hours later.

New Zealand, which has won plaudits for its handling of the coronavirus, followed an hour later with large crowds gathered in Auckland to watch a fireworks display.

Although still isolated by international border closures, months of zero recorded cases in the community has let life in New Zealand return to relative normality.

In Australia's largest city, Sydney, plans to allow crowds were scrapped amid a cluster of about 150 new infections, leading to severe travel restrictions to and from the city.