Muscovites smashed champagne bottles on Red Square and Japanese bought charms to ward off misfortune in the Year of the Dragon as the world welcomed the New Year on Friday in many traditional ways.
For the Irish, 1988 marks Dublin's second millennium. The New Year also starts Australia's bicentennial.
From the Vatican, Pope John Paul II sent greetings to the estimated 4 million Roman Catholics in the Soviet Union, which this year marks 1,000 years of Christianity, and he implored world leaders to "listen to men's yearning for peace."
Soviets' Biggest Holiday
New Year's Day is the biggest nonpolitical holiday in the Soviet Union because the Communist authorities have transferred to it most of the traditions usually associated with Christmas, including the exchange of gifts.
Several thousand Muscovites trekked to Red Square in the biting cold minutes before the clock on Spassky Tower chimed midnight, when toasts and cheers rang out and people smashed empty champagne and wine bottles on the cobblestone expanse.
In Brazil, thousands met at Rio de Janeiro's beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema to pay homage to the sea goddess, Iemanja, by tossing flowers and small gifts into the Atlantic surf. They asked for peace, health and love in 1988 in a ritual brought by African slaves in the 16th Century.
At midnight in Tokyo, ships tooted their whistles and low-pitched temple bells tolled the end of the Oriental calendar's Year of the Rabbit and the beginning of the Year of the Dragon.
Japanese believe children born during the Year of the Dragon will be healthy, honest and energetic, but short-tempered and stubborn.
After Mass at St. Peter's Basilica, the pontiff wished a happy 1988 to about 80,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square and, by radio broadcast, to a worldwide audience.
"In the name of God, listen to men's yearning for peace, for just well-being, for brotherhood, for solidarity, for the supreme and transcendent values," the pontiff told the world's leaders.
Tens of thousands of people packed downtown Dublin on New Year's Eve to kick off a yearlong celebration of the 1,000th anniversary of Ireland's capital, first settled by the Vikings as a naval base.
The first of the 1,000 events organized for 1988 began at midnight when Irish soldiers fired a 100-gun salute. A ceremony also marked the lighting of a 10-foot peace candle, which is designed to burn all year and signify the spirit of Irish reconciliation.
Australians Honor Cook
In Sydney, Australians brought wreaths to throw on the beach where British discoverer Capt. James Cook landed in 1770, setting the stage for the creation of a colony 18 years later.
Parisians in formal clothes, who had partied all night, were among thousands who came to the Versailles palace for the pre-dawn start Friday of the 10th annual Paris-Dakar Rally, the world's longest road race.
In West Germany, police fought street battles in Bremen and West Berlin when New Year's Eve parties were mixed with an outburst of anarchist demonstrations and looting. There were 22 policemen reported injured in West Berlin, where seven people were arrested.