The Pacific island of Samoa has moved 24 hours into the future, making its nation the first to see in 2012.
People began celebrating as soon as the clocked ticked over from Thursday, December 29, skipping Friday and moving straight onto Saturday, December 31 at 12:01 a.m.
Samoa and neighboring Tokelau lie near the date line in the Pacific Ocean and both islands decided to realign themselves from the Americas side to the Asia side in order to be more in line with major trading partners. It is hoped the move will help improve the economy.
Pools and beaches have been packed with Samoans and tourists who are keen to be the first to celebrate rather than the last.
Elsewhere across globe millions of people are preparing to say goodbye to a 2011 that saw mass uprisings in several Arab countries, the death of Osama Bin Laden, Muammar Gaddafi and Kim Jong-il.
It was also a year of economic turmoil which saw an endless string of natural disasters that devastated several countries across the world.
In Australia people gathered on the shores of Sydney’s harbor to watch the iconic fireworks display over the Harbour Bridge.
This year’s theme was “Time to Dream” and it is hoped it will help inspire those who have had a particularly bad 2011 to look forward to the year ahead.
Some of the fireworks exploded into shapes of clouds – because everyone has a silver lining – and a series of colorful lights were beamed into the centre of the bridge forming an “endless rainbow”.