The new year has arrived in Baghdad, where Iraqis gathered in a downtown shopping neighborhood to light fireworks and celebrate. Some said it was the first time they felt safe enough to welcome the new year outdoors since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Elsewhere, some one million people enjoyed a dazzling fireworks display over the harbor in Sydney. In Tokyo, revelers released balloons as 2008 started, while onlookers in Taipei and Auckland enjoyed fireworks.
But Belgian officials canceled fireworks in Brussels due to the continuing threat of terrorism.
In Moscow, thousands gathered in Red Square. In Paris, people gathered along the Champs-Elysees. And in London, the crowd rang in 2008 along the banks of the river Thames.
In Madrid, new year celebrants brought 12 grapes to eat - one for each chime of the clock to ensure good luck in the coming year.
Meanwhile, in New York City, tourists and others are staking out spots along the street in Times Square, ahead of the annual dropping of the ball at the famous intersection at midnight.
This year will mark the 100th anniversary of the lighted ball dropping in Times Square, welcoming in the new year celebrations packed with partiers. This year, for the first time, the redesigned ball will use energy efficient LED lights.