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Which Country Celebrates the New Year First?

The first country to celebrate New Year’s Eve annually is the Oceanic country Kiribati—the island of Kiritimati to be precise. Kiribati is an island country, made up of more than 30 islands and atolls spread over hundreds of miles, and the International Date Line actually loops eastward around the country's easternmost islands (including Kiritimati) in order to keep them all in the same day (otherwise the country's eastern islands would be up to 24 hours behind the western islands). Kiribati is also the only country to have territory in all four hemispheres.

The cities and countries of Chatham Islands, New Zealand; Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia; and Sydney, Australia celebrate the new year shortly after Kiribati.

Time Zone Difference Examples

New Year's Day arrives at a different hour in each of the Earth's 24 time zones, as illustrated by the comparisons and table below.

Australia, Europe and North America

When the clock strikes midnight (UTC+14) and begins New Year’s Day in Kiritimati, Kiribati, it’s 9pm in Sydney, Australia. In London, England, it’s only 10am on December 31, though most other European countries are slightly ahead—for example, it's 11:00 AM in Paris, France; Berlin, Germany; and Rome, Italy.

As for the countries of North America, in the United States, it’s 5am in New York City, 4am in Chicago, only 2am in Los Angeles, and 12am—the very start of December 31—in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Canadian city of Ottawa, Ontario shares a time zone with New York City, so its local time would be just 5am on Dec. 31 when Kiritimati reaches midnight, January 1st. Mexico City, Mexico celebrates the same time as Belize City, Belize in South America and Chicago in the US, so its local time would be 4am.

South America

12am in Kiritimati corresponds to 7am in Rio de Janeiro on December 31 in the South American country of Brazil. Moreover, it corresponds to only 4am in Belize City, located in the Central American Country Belize.

Africa

Many countries in Africa are located almost directly across the globe from the International Date Line. When it’s midnight on New Year’s Day in Kiritimati, Kiribati, it’s 11am in Lagos, Nigeria the day before. In Cairo, Egypt, it’s noon on New Year's Eve.

In Asia

Asia is the world's largest continent, and includes two of the largest countries in the world—Russia alone stretches across eleven time zones. Midnight on January 1 in Kiritimati occurs at 6pm Dec. 31 in Shanghai, China; at 3pm Karachi, Pakistan; and at 7pm in Tokyo, Japan.

Local Times at 12:00 AM in Kiritimati, Kiribati

CountryCityLocal Time
KiribatiKiritimati12:00 AM (midnight)
New ZealandChatham Islands11:45 PM
RussiaPetropavlovsk-Kamchatsky10:00 PM
AustraliaSydney9:00 PM
JapanTokyo7:00 PM
ChinaShanghai6:00 PM
PakistanKarachi3:00 PM
RussiaMoscow1:00 PM
EgyptCairo12:00 PM (noon)
NigeriaLagos11:00 AM
FranceParis11:00 AM
EnglandLondon10:00 AM
IcelandReykjavik10:00 AM
BrazilRio de Janeiro7:00 AM
United StatesNew York5:00 AM
CanadaOttawa5:00 AM
United StatesChicago4:00 AM
MexicoMexico City4:00 AM
BelizeBelize City4:00 AM
United StatesLos Angeles2:00 AM
United StatesHonolulu12:00 AM (previous day)

Kiribati New Year’s Traditions

A former British colony and current member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Kiribati is a developing country—one of the least-developed countries in the world, in fact—with a Human Development Index score of .624. The tiny island country's New Year's celebrations are notably more modest than the fireworks-centered spectaculars in cities such as New York, Sydney, or London—Kiritimati's population is fewer than 10,000 people.

However, the Kiribati temperature on New Year’s Eve is much warmer than in some parts of Europe and North America. It’s usually between 25-30 degrees Celsius (77-86 Fahrenheit), which permits snorkeling, swimming or fishing, and golfing on New Year's Eve. People also gather at the public maneaba (meeting place), which has the same shape as an American park pavilion but with roofs made of coconut wood. Finally, music and dancing have always been a part of Kiribati culture, and are likely to be a part of the country's NYE observance.

Facts About Kiribati

The name Kiribati is actually pronounced "Kiribass" because ti has an s sound in Gilbertese, the country's spoken language. Kiribati obtained its independence from the UK (and chose its current name) in 1979, making it one of the world's youngest sovereign states other than the dozen-plus countries formed from the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Kiribati consists of 32 coral atolls, which are land formations composed of reef rings around lagoons, and one raised coral island. While the atolls of Kiribati have an collective area of only 811 km² (313 mi²), they are spread over 3.5 million km² (1.4 million mi²) of ocean area.

Kiritimati is the Gilbertese language translation of the word "Christmas", and refers to one of the island's alternate names, Christmas Island, which it acquired when British explorer James Cook arrived there on Christmas Eve in 1777. Note, however, that Kiritimati is different from the island officially named Christmas Island, which is located in the Indian Ocean and is a territory of Australia, as well as similarly named islands off the coasts of Tasmania and Nova Scotia. While archeological evidence indicates that the Polynesian people visited and occasionally occupied Kiritimati as early as 1250 AD, the first permanent settlement in the modern era did not begin until 1882. The militaries of both the US and the UK used Kiritimati as a nuclear testing site in the 1950s and 1960s.

A number of Oceanic islands such as American Samoa and Baker Island are actually located to the west of Kiritimati, but still to the east of the International Date Line's original path. Because the redrawn International Date Line returns to this original path after wrapping around Kiribati, these islands experience the new year 24-26 hours after Kiritimati.

  • In countries that touch more than one time zone, such as Russia and the United States, the time shown is the earliest time at which the new year arrives on the mainland.

Download Table Data

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Country
Order of Arrival
Local Time When New Year Arrives
Kiribati112:00:00 AM Jan 01
Samoa211:00:00 PM Dec 31
Tonga211:00:00 PM Dec 31
Tokelau211:00:00 PM Dec 31
New Zealand310:45:00 PM Dec 31
Russia410:00:00 PM Dec 31
Fiji410:00:00 PM Dec 31
Marshall Islands410:00:00 PM Dec 31
Nauru410:00:00 PM Dec 31
Tuvalu410:00:00 PM Dec 31
Wallis and Futuna410:00:00 PM Dec 31
Australia59:30:00 PM Dec 31
Papua New Guinea69:00:00 PM Dec 31
Guam69:00:00 PM Dec 31
Micronesia69:00:00 PM Dec 31
Northern Mariana Islands69:00:00 PM Dec 31
Indonesia77:00:00 PM Dec 31
Japan77:00:00 PM Dec 31
South Korea77:00:00 PM Dec 31
North Korea77:00:00 PM Dec 31
Timor Leste77:00:00 PM Dec 31
Palau77:00:00 PM Dec 31
China86:00:00 PM Dec 31
Philippines86:00:00 PM Dec 31
Malaysia86:00:00 PM Dec 31
Taiwan86:00:00 PM Dec 31
Hong Kong86:00:00 PM Dec 31
Singapore86:00:00 PM Dec 31
Mongolia86:00:00 PM Dec 31
Macau86:00:00 PM Dec 31
Brunei86:00:00 PM Dec 31
Vietnam95:00:00 PM Dec 31
Thailand95:00:00 PM Dec 31
Cambodia95:00:00 PM Dec 31
Laos95:00:00 PM Dec 31
Myanmar104:30:00 PM Dec 31
Bangladesh114:00:00 PM Dec 31
Kazakhstan114:00:00 PM Dec 31
Kyrgyzstan114:00:00 PM Dec 31
Bhutan114:00:00 PM Dec 31
Nepal123:45:00 PM Dec 31
India133:30:00 PM Dec 31
Sri Lanka133:30:00 PM Dec 31
Pakistan143:00:00 PM Dec 31
Uzbekistan143:00:00 PM Dec 31
Tajikistan143:00:00 PM Dec 31
Turkmenistan143:00:00 PM Dec 31
Maldives143:00:00 PM Dec 31
Afghanistan152:30:00 PM Dec 31
Azerbaijan162:00:00 PM Dec 31
United Arab Emirates162:00:00 PM Dec 31
Oman162:00:00 PM Dec 31
Georgia162:00:00 PM Dec 31
Armenia162:00:00 PM Dec 31
Mauritius162:00:00 PM Dec 31
Reunion162:00:00 PM Dec 31
Seychelles162:00:00 PM Dec 31
Iran171:30:00 PM Dec 31
Ethiopia181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Turkey181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Tanzania181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Kenya181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Uganda181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Iraq181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Ukraine181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Saudi Arabia181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Yemen181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Madagascar181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Syria181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Somalia181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Jordan181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Belarus181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Kuwait181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Eritrea181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Qatar181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Bahrain181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Djibouti181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Comoros181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Mayotte181:00:00 PM Dec 31
Egypt1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
DR Congo1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
South Africa1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Sudan1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Mozambique1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Malawi1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Zambia1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Romania1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Zimbabwe1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Rwanda1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Burundi1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
South Sudan1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Greece1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Israel1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Libya1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Bulgaria1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Finland1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Palestine1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Lebanon1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Moldova1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Botswana1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Lithuania1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Namibia1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Lesotho1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Latvia1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Estonia1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Cyprus1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Eswatini1912:00:00 PM Dec 31
Nigeria2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Germany2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
France2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Italy2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Spain2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Algeria2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Poland2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Morocco2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Angola2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Cameroon2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Niger2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Chad2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Netherlands2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Benin2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Tunisia2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Belgium2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Sweden2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Czech Republic2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Hungary2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Austria2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Switzerland2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Serbia2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Republic of the Congo2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Denmark2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Central African Republic2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Slovakia2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Norway2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Croatia2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Bosnia and Herzegovina2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Albania2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Gabon2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Slovenia2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
North Macedonia2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Equatorial Guinea2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Luxembourg2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Montenegro2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Western Sahara2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Malta2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Andorra2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Liechtenstein2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Monaco2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
San Marino2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Gibraltar2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
Vatican City2011:00:00 AM Dec 31
United Kingdom2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Ghana2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Ivory Coast2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Mali2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Burkina Faso2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Senegal2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Guinea2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Portugal2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Togo2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Sierra Leone2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Liberia2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Ireland2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Mauritania2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Gambia2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Guinea Bissau2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Iceland2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Sao Tome and Principe2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Jersey2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Isle of Man2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Guernsey2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Greenland2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Faroe Islands2110:00:00 AM Dec 31
Cape Verde229:00:00 AM Dec 31
Brazil238:00:00 AM Dec 31
Argentina247:00:00 AM Dec 31
Chile247:00:00 AM Dec 31
Uruguay247:00:00 AM Dec 31
Suriname247:00:00 AM Dec 31
French Guiana247:00:00 AM Dec 31
Saint Pierre and Miquelon247:00:00 AM Dec 31
Falkland Islands247:00:00 AM Dec 31
Canada256:30:00 AM Dec 31
Venezuela266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Bolivia266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Dominican Republic266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Paraguay266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Puerto Rico266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Trinidad and Tobago266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Guyana266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Guadeloupe266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Martinique266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Barbados266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Curacao266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Saint Lucia266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Grenada266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Aruba266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines266:00:00 AM Dec 31
United States Virgin Islands266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Antigua and Barbuda266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Dominica266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Bermuda266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Saint Kitts and Nevis266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Sint Maarten266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Saint Martin266:00:00 AM Dec 31
British Virgin Islands266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Anguilla266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Saint Barthelemy266:00:00 AM Dec 31
Montserrat266:00:00 AM Dec 31
United States275:00:00 AM Dec 31
Mexico275:00:00 AM Dec 31
Colombia275:00:00 AM Dec 31
Peru275:00:00 AM Dec 31
Ecuador275:00:00 AM Dec 31
Haiti275:00:00 AM Dec 31
Cuba275:00:00 AM Dec 31
Panama275:00:00 AM Dec 31
Jamaica275:00:00 AM Dec 31
Bahamas275:00:00 AM Dec 31
Cayman Islands275:00:00 AM Dec 31
Turks and Caicos Islands275:00:00 AM Dec 31
Guatemala284:00:00 AM Dec 31
Honduras284:00:00 AM Dec 31
Nicaragua284:00:00 AM Dec 31
El Salvador284:00:00 AM Dec 31
Costa Rica284:00:00 AM Dec 31
Belize284:00:00 AM Dec 31
French Polynesia291:00:00 AM Dec 31
Cook Islands3012:00:00 AM Dec 31
showing: 229 rows

Which is the last country to celebrate New Year?

The last countries in the world to celebrate New Year's are the island nations of Howland Island and Baker Island.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources