Thousands packed onto the streets of Paris to welcome the New Year but the party was overshadowed by the tsunami disaster in southern Asia.
Black ribbons were tied to the branches of trees lining France’s most famous boulevard, the Champs Elysées.
In London, two minutes of silence were held in memory of those lost. The British people have dug deep to give 70 million euros in donations, equalling the amount pledged by the government.
In the German capital, Berlin, spirits were high, but sales of fireworks are reportedly down on previous years after a message of seasonal giving from Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
He asked people to donate the money they would normally spend on pyrotechnics to aid organisations like UNICEF.