As the clock struck midnight and 2018 disappeared into the night, Apia’s waterfront burst into colour.
The world’s first fireworks to herald in the New Year began with a bang, and the seawall was packed with onlookers of all ages.
The fireworks, which will become an annual New Year’s Eve event, were preceded by an address by the Prime Minister, who said Samoa’s place on the international dateline makes the fireworks “fitting.”
“In celebration of the New Year; and Samoa being the first country in the World to usher in, the very first dawn of the new year ever since we shifted the International Dateline to stay permanently between Samoa and American Samoa therefore, it is fitting that Samoa put on a display of fireworks to herald in 2019,” Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said.
The fireworks lasted a full 30 minutes. While for some, turning to their cell phones around the 20 minute mark it may have been too long, the faces upturned towards the sky showed it may have been too short.
Around the world, other displays followed suit.
In New Zealand, bringing in the new year just an hour later than Samoa, the fireworks from Auckland’s Skytower garnered international attention, with Stuff.co.nz reporting two Indian newspapers and media giants CNN and BBC covering the display.
In England, London major Sadiq Khan drew controversy with his fireworks display, which featured a blue London Eye below golden sparkles in the colours of European Union Flag.
The Guardian reports Mr Khan also tweeted afterwards, saying: “Our 1 million EU citizens are Londoners, they make a huge contribution, and no matter the outcome of Brexit, they will always be welcome.”
In the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai, the Burj Khalifa was the centre of a fireworks display and light show, a special treat for anyone around the tallest building in the world, towering at 828 meters.
Sadly, the celebrations also caused injury and in some cases, death. The Associated Press reports a 17 year old boy died in Berlin trying to light a powerful firework, and two people died in similar cases in the Netherlands.