By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 6:28 PM on 31st December 2010
Fireworks lit up the sky near the landmark Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur as Malaysia became the latest country to celebrate the start of 2011.
Auckland, New Zealand, was the first major city to celebrate the New Year before Australia, Singapore and China followed suit later today.
The iconic towers in the Malaysian capital looked dazzling as fireworks went off at midnight - temporarily banishing the misery of extreme weather which has struck countries across the world.
Spectacular: Fireworks light up the sky near the landmark Petronas Twin Towers during new year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
'Reddy' for the New Year: Celebrating in Malaysia by the iconic towers
Singapore: Fireworks explode over Marina Bay in front of the Marina Bay Sands casino and resort during a pyrotechnic show
Roads were due to be cordoned off in London as the capital prepared itself for its own fireworks display tonight.
Australia has welcomed 2011 with a spectacular fireworks display over Sydney Harbour. Despite losing the Ashes this week, thousands of party-loving Aussies had camped out for hours at parks alongside the Sydney Harbour Bridge to win the best view of today's spectacular New Year's Eve fireworks.
As the clock ticked closer to 2011, Europeans were looking forward to celebrations that could help them forget their economic worries.
Japan and South Korea both celebrated New Year at 3pm GMT - and India was readying itself for its celebrations in the next few hours.
In New York City, nearly a million revellers were expected to cram into the streets around Times Square to watch the traditional midnight ball drop several hours after the UK has marked the start of 2011. The 20-inch snowstorm that blanketed the city will be just a memory thanks to work crews and warmer temperatures.
At least 1.5 million people lined the harbour in Sydney, the first major city where the new year arrives after 2011 hit New Zealand. Celebrations began with aerial displays by vintage aircraft and a parade of boats around the harbour.
In Christchurch, New Zealand, two minor earthquakes on Friday did not shake plans for all-night celebrations.
'There is more reason than ever for people to get together and celebrate the beginning of a New Year,' Christchurch's acting mayor Ngaire Button said, urging residents to celebrate in the central Cathedral Square, where workers were removing loose masonry after the quakes.
A powerful 7.1-magnitude quake wrecked thousand of buildings in Christchurch on September 4, but nobody was killed.
Ready for 12: Revellers in Hong Kong, China, prepare for the New Year
This year marks the first time Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, officially celebrates the new year with a countdown blowout, complete with a light show and foreign DJs in front of the city's elegant French colonial-style opera house.
Vietnamese in the past paid little attention to the changing of the calendar, instead holding massive celebrations during Tet, the lunar new year that begins on Feb. 3. But in recent years, the Western influence has started seeping into Vietnamese culture with teens, who have no memory of war or poverty and are eager to find a new reason to party in the Communist country.
In South Korea, up to 100,000 people went to a bell-ringing ceremony in central Seoul, with officials and citizens striking the large bronze bell hung in the Bosingak bell pavilion 33 times at midnight.
Some South Koreans also go to the mountains or beaches on early Saturday to watch the first sunrise of the new year.
At midnight in Taipei, Taiwan, fireworks will form a spiralling dragon climbing up the city's tallest skyscraper. Some 50 dancers will beat drums in the freezing cold river in a dance to underscore how people should live with nature in harmony.
Kicking off the world's celebrations: A curtain of fireworks cascades over the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the display that began at 9pm
Breathtaking: As the clock struck midnight, the skies above Sydney were illuminated with this dazzling fireworks display which lasted 15 minutes
In Japan, New Year's Eve is generally spent at home with family but those who venture out go to temples to pray for good luck in the new year. At Zojoji, a 600-year-old Buddhist temple in central Tokyo, thousands were expected to release balloons at midnight carrying notes with their hopes for 2011.
In Beijing, about 500 people were expected to gather at the Ancient Bell Museum for the chance to ring in the new year on the 46-ton bell. The city is also trying to start a new tradition, with an orchestra playing a 'Hymn to China' at the China Century Monument just two minutes before midnight.
While many Asian countries famed for their firework displays were planning to light up the night skies, Myanmar's military government banned all fireworks for New Year's Eve and said severe action would be taken against anyone selling or using them.
Happy New Year! Sydney Bridge is lit up as Australia becomes the first country to welcome 2011
First New Year: Auckland was the first major city to celebrate the start of 2011
A local news journal, Modern, noted that last year 62 people were given six to 12-month prison terms for violating this ruling.
The government gave no reason for the ban but in the past has said that it feared 'unscrupulous persons' might take advantage of the fireworks to create disturbances.
In Europe, many people will be partying simply to forget their economic woes after a year that saw Greece and Ireland needing financial bailouts and others, such as Spain and Portugal, battling speculation that they will need similar aid.
If not at home or at private parties, Spaniards traditionally gather in their main town squares to eat 12 grapes one by one as the bell in the square marks the countdown to 2011.
In the Irish capital of Dublin, people will flock to the Christchurch cathedral to listen as the bells chime in the new year.
In London, thousands will witness a musical and firework display at the 135-meter high London Eye, located on the southern banks of the Thames River. The Eye, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, lies almost opposite the Big Ben clock tower at Parliament that will chime in 2011.
In Paris, tens of thousands are expected to pack the Champs Elysees and the area around the Eiffel Tower for dazzling light and firework displays.
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