Confetti flies over New York’s Times Square after the clock strikes midnight during the New Year’s Eve celebration as seen from the New York Marriott Marquis hotel, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.(Mary Altaffer / AP)
Palestinian youths wearing masks and 2016 Santa Claus caps take a selfie as they attend the New Year celebrations in a heavy rain along the street in Gaza City, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.(Adel Hana / AP)
The Great Pyramids are illuminated for New Year’s Eve in Giza, near Cairo, Egypt late Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015.(Maya Alleruzzo / AP)
Revellers take souvenir selfies at the end of the 5-minute video performance displayed on the Arc de Triomphe as part of New Year’s Eve celebrations on the Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris, France, Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.(Francois Mori / AP)
A man is drenched with water splashed from an office in Montevideo’s old district on December 31, 2015 as a way of celebrating the end of the year. Every last day of the year, ripped pages from calendars and water are thrown out of offices’ windows in the financial district of the Uruguayan capital.(Pablo Porciuncula / AFP/Getty Images)
The New Year’s Eve fireworks go off in Sydney Harbor on Jan. 1, 2016.(Mick Tsikas / EPA)
Woman celebrate the coming of a new year as they wait for the annual New Years Eve fireworks display in Sydney, Australia, on Dec. 31, 2015.(Rob Griffith / AP)
Indian artist Harwinder Singh Gill displays his new artwork made with vegetables on New Year’ Eve in Amritsar, India, on December 31 2015.(Raminder Pal Singh / EPA)
Brave swimmers get out of the four degree Celsius cold water of the Moossee lake at Moosseedorf, Switzerland, on December 2015, after their traditional New Year’s Eve swim.(Peter Klaunzer / EPA)
Shinto priests leave the shrine’s main sanctuary at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan, on December 31, 2015, to attend the shinto ritual preparing for the New Year. More than three million people visit the Meiji Shrine during the first three days of the New Year, to pray for their health, economic fortune and wishes to come true.(Kimimasa Mayama / EPA)
Palestinian women shop on the last day of 2015 in Gaza city, on Dec. 31, 2015.(Hatem Moussa / AP)
Thirty thousand runners participated in the 91th Sao Silvestre international 15 km race in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on December 31, 2015.(AFP/Getty Images)
Evalena Worthington, garbed in a pirate wench costume, practices her New Year’s Eve descent from the top of a sailing ship’s mast at the Schooner Wharf Bar in Key West, Fla. On Dec. 31, Worthington is to be lowered as one of four unique “drops” in Key West to mark the beginning of 2016.(Rob O’Neal / AP)
Chinese paramilitary police personnel patrol along the Bund, a popular tourist attraction in Shanghai, China, on Dec. 31, 2015. Authorities cancelled the annual countdown at the Bund as a precaution against a repeat of last year’s deadly stampede.(AP)
Fireworks explode over the Opera House during a pre-New Years Eve fireworks display over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in Sydney, Australian, on Dec. 31, 2015.(Rob Griffith / AP)
Photographers prepare to take photos of fireworks go off at the Taipei 101 skyscraper on New Year’s Eve in Taipei, Taiwan, on December 31.(Ritchie B. Tongo / EPA)
Shinto priests enter the inner shrine at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan, on December 31, to attend the shinto ritual preparing for the New Year. More than three million people visit the Meiji Shrine during the first three days of the New Year, to pray for their health, economic fortune and wishes to come true.(Kimimasa Mayama / EPA)
Indian school children sit in the formation of ‘Welcome 2016' in a school in Jammu, the winter capital of Kashmir, India, on December 2015.(Jaipal Singh / EPA)
Balinese girls take a selfie during a New Year celebration in Denpasar, on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on December 31, 2015. Various form of dances and music have made Bali’s art and culture one of the most diverse in the world.(Sonny Tumbelaka / AFP/Getty Images)
People dressed as monkey take part in a New Year’s parade in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek on December 31, 2015. 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.(Vyacheslav Oseledko / AFP/Getty Images)
Filipino Catholic devotees jostle to get closer to the image of the Black Nazarene during a thanksgiving procession on New Year’s eve in Manila, Philippines, on Dec. 31, 2015. The procession was held on New Year’s eve amidst heightened alert by the Philippine National Police for the Yuletide season.(Bullit Marquez / AP)
A woman prays in front of lanterns to celebrate the new year at Chogye Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea, on Dec. 31, 2015.(Ahn Young-joon / AP)
France’s defense minister has visited troops on duty ahead of unusually tense New Year’s Eve celebrations in Paris after November attacks that left 130 dead and hundreds injured.(Michel Euler / AP)
Security has been beefed up in Malaysia’s biggest city, Kuala Lumpur, where fireworks will ring in the new year at a historical square as well as at the Petronas Twin Towers, one of the world’s tallest towers.(Joshua Paul / AP)
Filipino Catholic devotees jostle to get closer to the image of the Black Nazarene during a thanksgiving procession on New Year’s eve in Manila, Philippines, Dec. 31, 2015. The procession was held on New Year’s eve amidst heightened alert by the Philippine National Police for the Yuletide season.(Bullit Marquez / AP)
Indonesia is on high alert after authorities said last week that they had foiled a plot by Islamic militants to attack government officials, foreigners and others in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.(Firdia Lisnawati / AP)
Less than six months after a pipe bomb killed 20 people at the Erawan Shrine n Bangkok, Thailand, tens of thousands are expected to ring in the new year at the same intersection with live music and a countdown.(Sakchai Lalit / AP)
Installations for the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display is dismantled at Place de Broucker, after Mayor of Brussels Yvan Mayeur cancelled the event, in Brussels, Belgium, on December 31, 2015. Around 10,000 people usually gather every year for the traditional fireworks display.(Olivier Hoslet / EPA)
New Year is Japan’s biggest holiday, and millions crammed into trains to flee the cities for their hometowns to slurp down bowls of noodles, symbolizing longevity, while watching the annual Red and White NHK song competition.(Eugene Hoshiko / AP)
On a New Year’s Eve haunted by fears of terrorism, a spectacular fire in one of Dubai’s tall towers captured the world’s attention. With few exceptions, the celebrations rolled on, and while fire still raged, the Dubai Media office declared on Twitter: “New Year celebrations in Dubai will continue as scheduled.”
As 2015 drew to a close, many people were bidding a weary and wary adieu to a year marred by attacks that left nations reeling and nerves rattled.
In Bangkok, site of a deadly bombing months ago, police flanked partygoers. In Paris, residents recovering from their city’s own deadly attacks enjoyed scaled-back celebrations. And in Munich, police warned of the threat of a terror attack.
A look at how people around the welcomed the new year:
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
In the megacity of Dubai, a fire broke out two hours before midnight in The Address hotel, in the area where a massive fireworks display was being prepared.
Organizers said the Burj Khalifa had been fitted with 400,000 LED lights and 1.6 tons of fireworks would be used in the display.
Burning debris rained down from The Address building as firetrucks raced to the scene. It was unclear what caused the fire, which ran up the 63-story building. The Address has 626 luxury apartments and 196 hotel rooms, according to Skyscraper Center, which tracks skyscrapers.
The French are still recovering from the Nov. 13 attacks that left 130 people dead in Paris, and authorities prepared for a possible worst-case scenario on New Year’s Eve. About 60,000 police officers and troops were deployed across the country, and revelers said that made them feel safer.
French President Francois Hollande used his traditional New Year’s Eve speech to warn that the terrorist threat is still at its “highest level.”
“2015 has been a year of suffering and resistance,” he said. “Let’s make 2016 a year of courage and hope.”
Paris canceled its usual fireworks display in favor of a 5-minute video performance at the Arc de Triomphe just before midnight, relayed on screens along the Champs Elysee, where people chanted.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the show was aimed at “sending the world the message that Paris is standing, proud of its lifestyle and living together.”
Less than six months after a pipe bomb killed 20 people at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, tens of thousands of people rang in the new year at the intersection with live music and a countdown.
Up to 5,000 police officers were in the area, with explosive ordnance disposal experts sweeping the area ahead of time.
Security was beefed up in Malaysia’s biggest city, Kuala Lumpur, where fireworks greeted the new year at a historic square and at the Petronas Twin Towers, one of the world’s tallest buildings.
Concern in the Philippines on New Year’s Eve focused on the use of illegal fireworks, which last year injured more than 850 people. Shopping malls and cities organized fireworks displays to discourage people from lighting their own firecrackers.
An annual procession of the Black Nazarene, a black wooden statue of Jesus Christ, was held a day earlier than usual Thursday to prevent injuries from mounds of trash and unexploded firecrackers that litter Manila’s streets after New Year’s revelries.
New Year’s Eve is Japan’s biggest holiday, and millions of people crammed into trains to flee the cities for their hometowns to slurp down bowls of noodles, symbolizing longevity, while watching the annual “Red and White” song competition on television. As midnight approached, families bundled up for visits to neighborhood temples, where the ritual ringing of huge bronze bells reverberated through the chill.
Tokyo was on special alert for security issues, with posters in subways and other public spaces warning people to keep their eyes open for suspicious packages or activities.
South Koreans marked New Year’s Eve with traditional bell ringing ceremonies, fireworks and outdoor music and dance performances. One celebration was organized at a town near the border with rival North Korea to watch one of the ceremonies and wish for peaceful Korean unification.
In the final hours of 2015, Pope Francis encouraged humanity to hang on to recollections of good deeds so that gestures of goodness can be seen triumphing over evil.
Francis presided over a year’s end prayer service Thursday evening in St. Peter’s Basilica, where he mused about how people are sometimes driven by “insatiable thirst for power and by gratuitous violence.” He said it was impossible to forget “so many days marked by violence, by death, by the unspeakable suffering of so many innocents.”
New Zealand, the first nation with a sizable population to celebrate the New Year, counted down the seconds to midnight with a giant digital clock on Auckland’s landmark Sky Tower. Horns blared and crowds cheered as the tower was lit up with fireworks, with colors shifting from green to red to white.
Simultaneous fireworks displays erupted along Sydney’s famed harbor, where people crowded onto balconies, into waterside parks and onto boats as they jockeyed for the best view, clinking glasses and whooping with joy as the first pyrotechnics exploded.
More than 1 million people had been expected to watch the glittery display, featuring a multicolored fireworks waterfall cascading off the Sydney Harbour Bridge and effects in the shapes of butterflies, octopuses and flowers.
An official New Year’s Eve celebration was staged near Beijing’s Forbidden City with performances and fireworks, and one of China’s most popular TV stations broadcast a gala from the National Stadium, known to most as the iconic Bird’s Nest.
For safety reasons, Shanghai closed subway stations near the scenic waterfront Bund, mindful of a stampede last New Year’s Eve that killed 36 people and blemished the image of China’s most prosperous metropolis.
Gaza’s Islamist Hamas rulers banned New Year celebrations in the Palestinian coastal enclave. Police spokesman Ayman Batniji said hotels and restaurants were allowed to hold parties a day earlier or a day later.
“Celebrating the new year contradicts the instructions of Islamic religion,” Batniji said. “It’s a Western custom that we don’t accept in Gaza.”
In Cairo, people put aside fears of the growing number of militant attacks throughout the country to celebrate the new year. Engineering graduate Mohamed Youssef, whose military service begins in a few months, attended a house party.
“It doesn’t matter if they deploy me to Sinai or throw me in the western desert,” he said. “I don’t care if I lose a leg or my life. Tonight, we drink and dance!”
At the Giza Pyramids, hundreds of people gathered for a fireworks and lighting display at the stroke of midnight.
Police in Kenya, which has been repeatedly attacked by al-Shabaab militants from neighboring Somalia, urged vigilance as many people prepared to celebrate the new year in hotels and watch midnight fireworks displays. Unauthorized fireworks were banned as safety hazards “in view of the elevated threat of terrorism,” police said.
Rainy weather dampened the New Year celebrations in Berlin, where security was tighter than in previous years. Several hundred thousand people still turned out for several minutes of fireworks at the Brandenburg Gate, wishing each other “Froehes neues Jahr” and expressing their hopes for a peaceful 2016.
In Munich, police warned about an hour before the New Year of a “serious, imminent threat” of a terror attack. Despite the call by police for people to stay away from crowds, thousands of people were still on the streets to meet the new year with fireworks.
Major celebrations marked by fireworks spectaculars were planned in London, Edinburgh and other big cities despite a terror threat judged to be severe. Police advised revelers not to go to the fireworks displays without tickets and to be ready to have their belongings searched.
Rio de Janeiro kicked off its Olympic year with a fiesta on Copacabana Beach attended by more than 2 million people, according to police estimates. Brazil’s most popular New Year’s Eve show was illuminated by 24 tons of fireworks fired off over almost 16 minutes. To celebrate Rio’s hosting of the 2016 Summer Games in August, the soundtrack for revelers included music from previous Olympics and songs paying homage to samba on its 100th anniversary.
Rio authorities said they weren’t as worried about terrorism as other cities. Police used two monitoring trucks to follow suspicious movements during the party. That equipment also will be used in security operations during the Olympics.
Around 1 million people converged on Times Square for the annual New Year’s Eve celebration. An 11,875-pound Waterford crystal ball descended as revelers counted down to 2016 before sharing hugs and their first kisses of the year under a blanket of confetti.
The glitzy party included musical acts including Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas and Carrie Underwood.
This year’s festivities were attended by nearly 6,000 police officers, including members of a specialized counterterrorism unit.
The Las Vegas Strip has begun to fill with some of the 332,000 people expected to attend New Year’s celebrations on the boulevard and along downtown’s Freemont Street.
As revelers await fireworks and other events, a wide-open Las Vegas Boulevard intersection is doubling as a wedding dance floor for a new bridge and groom.
As Frank Sinatra crooned in the distance, Bill and Christa Cooper of Kentucky danced their first dance at Flamingo Avenue surrounded by their family.