Cocking a snook at the global financial crisis, Sydney has staged its biggest ever New Year firework display. A record crowd of 1.5 million people gathered at the famous harbour as Australia ushered in 2009 in style.
A massive firework spectacular also lit up the night sky in Hong Kong where revellers were encouraged to write down their wishes for the year ahead.
Elsewhere, in parts of the Arab world, festivities were cancelled because of the conflict in Gaza.
But in Taiwan huge crowds gathered for colourful celebrations to welcome in 2009 – the year of the Ox in the Chinese lunar Calendar.