New Year's Celebrations Kick Off in South Pacific, Down Under

The Pacific islands of Christmas Island, Kiribati and Samoa were the first populated places to ring in 2013. New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga joined in on the celebrations an hour later, and Australia began to celebrate as Americans headed to work at 8 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, Scotland got a head start with the festivities as it celebrated the annual festival known as Hogmanay. The evening celebration began Sunday night with thousands of torchbearers marching in Edinburgh, the nation's capital, to bid farewell to 2012 in a celebration that drew inspiration from pagan traditions. In Sydney, an estimated 1.5 million people camped out on the shores of Sydney Harbor to watch the fireworks display centered on the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Elsewhere, countries in the Asia-Pacific region celebrated with renewed optimism, powered by the region's buoyant economies. Myanmar was planning a public countdown for the first time, while Jakarta was preparing a large street party befitting Indonesia's powering economy.

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