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As we usher in the beginning of a new decade, do you wonder which part of the world gets to celebrate and welcome the year 2020 first?

To answer this question, we must first understand why countries experience day and night at different times. Time zones are created because the Earth spins around its axis. As certain locations on Earth rotate into sunlight, sunrise becomes visible. Meanwhile, the opposite happens in other parts of the world, where sunlight recedes, giving in to night time.

Because of this, Samoa and Kiribati in the Polynesian region of Pacific Ocean, positioned west of an irregularly drawn international date line, gets to welcome the New Year first. The last place to observe New Year is the uninhabited Baker Island and Howland Island located in the Minor Outlying Islands of United States.

Here’s the chronological order of places celebrating New Year’s Eve around the world:






Tuesday, December 31, 6 p.m.Kirimati (Kiribati), Apia and Salelologa (Samoa)
Tuesday, December 31, 6:15 p.m.Chatham Islands (New Zealand)
Tuesday, December 31, 7 p.m.Auckland (New Zealand), Suva (Fiji), Wellington (Africa), Nukualofa (Tonga)
Tuesday, December 31, 8 p.m.Anadyr (Russia), Funafuti (Tuvalu), Yaren (Nauru), Tarawa (Kiribati), Majuro (Marshall Islands)
Tuesday, December 31, 9 p.m.Melbourne, Sydney, and  Canberra (Australia), Honiara (Solomon Islands)
Tuesday, December 31, 9:30 p.m.Adelaide, Broken Hill, and Ceduna (Australia)
Tuesday, December 31, 10:30 p.m.Darwin, Alice Springs, and Tennant Creek (Australia)
Tuesday, December 31, 11 p.m.Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (South Korea), Pyongyang (North Korea), Dili (Timor-Leste), Ngerulmud (Palau)
Tuesday, December 31, 11:15 p.m.Eucla (Australia)
Wednesday, January 1, 12 a.m.Beijing (China), Manila (Philippines), Hongkong (Special Administrative Region of People’s Republic of China), Singapore (Malaysia)
Wednesday, January 1, 1 a.m.Jakarta (Indonesia), Bangkok (Thailand), Hanoi (Vietnam), Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
Wednesday, January 1, 1:30 a.m.Yangon, Naypyidaw, and Mandalay (Myanmar), Bantam (Cocos Islands)
Wednesday, January 1,  2 a.m.Dhaka (Bangladesh), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Thiumpu (Bhutan)
Wednesday, January 1, 2:15 a.m.Kathmandu, Pokhara, Biratnagar, and Dharn (Nepal)
Wednesday January 1, 2:30 a.m.New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bangalore (India)
Wednesday, January 1, 3 a.m.Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi (Pakistan)
Wednesday, January 1, 4 a.m.Dubai, Abu Dhabi,  (United Arab Emirates), Muscat (Oman), Port Louis (Mauritius)
Wednesday, January 1, 4:30 a.m.Tehran, Rasht, Isfahan, Mashhad, and Tabriz (Iran)
Wednesday, January 1, 10 a.m.King Edward Point (South Georgia), Fernando de Noronha (Brazil)
Wednesday, January 1, 11:30 a.m.St. John’s and Mary’s Harbour (Canada)
Wednesday, January 1, 5 p.m.Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau  (Alaska)
Wednesday, January 1, 5:30 p.m.Taioha’e (French Polynesia)
Wednesday, January 1, 8 p.m.Baker Island and Howland Island (United States of America)



In whatever time zone you’ll be welcoming the new decade, the most important thing is to embrace it with positivity and hope.

Happy New Year, wherever you are in the world!