Countries around the world have celebrated New Year’s Eve in style following two years of Covid restrictions.
Fireworks and countdowns marked the end of a difficult 2022 in which war returned to Europe and inflation soared into double digits.
The year 2023 kicked off in the atoll nation of Kiribati in the central Pacific, then moved across Russia and New Zealand before heading time zone by time zone, through Asia and Europe and into the Americas.
Raucous crowds cheered and danced in confetti in New York’s Time Square when the clock hit midnight there.
Here is a selection of some of the best New Year’s Eve photos from across the globe.
New Zealand was one of the first countries to see in 2023. In Auckland, large crowds gathered below the Sky Tower, where a 10-second countdown to midnight preceded fireworks. The celebrations in New Zealand’s largest city returned after Covid-19 forced them to be cancelled a year ago.
In Australia, more than a million people crowded along Sydney’s waterfront for a multimillion-dollar celebration based around the themes of diversity and inclusion. More than 7,000 fireworks were launched from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and another 2,000 from the nearby Opera House.
China cautiously looked forward to 2023 after a recent easing of pandemic restrictions unleashed a resurgence of the virus but also signalled a return to normal life.
In London, Big Ben chimed as more than 100,000 revellers gathered along the River Thames to watch a spectacular fireworks show.
The display featured a drone light display of a crown and Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait on a coin hovering in the sky, paying tribute to Britain’s longest-serving monarch, who died in September.
While Covid restrictions in the UK have all been lifted there was still an air of caution in other countries.
Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach welcomed a small crowd of a few thousand for a short fireworks display, but several Brazilian cities cancelled celebrations this year due to Covid concerns. Before the pandemic, the New Year celebrations usually drew more than two million people.
In New York, rain that was fierce at times did not deter the crowd at a dazzling Saturday night spectacle kicking off celebrations across the United States.
The Times Square party culminated in the descent of a glowing sphere 12ft in diameter and comprised of nearly 2,700 Waterford crystals.
"I just wish everyone a lot of prosperity peace and love," said Tina Wright, who was visiting from the Phoenix area, after the countdown. "And let’s just get things moving in the world right now."