Happy 2019! (Credit: Covi/Pixabay/CCO)

Happy 2019! As is the tradition each year, at the stroke of midnight on December 31st, 2018, cities and towns worldwide ushered in the new year with elaborate fireworks displays. Here are a few that we thought were particularly noteworthy.

Sydney, Australia

Given that Sydney, Australia is one of the first major cities to welcome the new year, it is not surprising to hear that the officials go all out to stage two magnificent fireworks shows. The first one, which takes place at 9:00 pm to enable families with young kids to celebrate the new year early, is broadcast live nationally. The second, more extravagant, show at midnight is streamed live internationally and watched by more than 1 billion people worldwide.

This year, over 1.5 million people gathered at the famed Sydney Harbour to admire the city’s largest-ever fireworks display. Lasting a full 12 minutes, it featured 8.5 tons of fireworks, more than 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects, and 35,000 shooting comets. The only thing that detracted from the otherwise picture-perfect extravaganza, which cost the city $5.78m, was the incorrect "Happy New Year 2018” message beamed on the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), usually takes the limelight when it comes to larger-than-life New Year’s Eve fireworks. However, this year it was the less well-known Ras Al Khaimah emirate that made the headlines with an epic display, which spanned an impressive 8 miles (13 kilometers) long. In addition to delighting the locals, the show also broke the Guinness World Records for "longest straight line of fireworks" and "longest chain of fireworks.” UAE’s capital city of Abu Dhabi added to the country’s accolades with the record for the largest ever sentence created in pyrotechnics by spelling out “Happy New Year 2019.” The three records add to the country’s 95 entries that will appear in 2019 Guinness World Records!

London, England

London kicked off 2019 with a stunning 12-minute fireworks display along the Victoria Embankment and South Bank areas of the River Thames. The sold-out show, which attracted over 100,000 revelers, featured 70,000 projectiles made up of 12,000 fireworks, with the iconic Big Ben chiming in the background. With less than three months left until Britain leaves the European Union, the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, also used the occasion to assure the millions of European residents that the capital will remain “open minded,” with the words “London is open” broadcast in seven languages.

Hong Kong, Asia

A cold weather warning was not enough to deter over 340,000 people from gathering on either side of Hong Kong’s famed Victoria Harbour for the new year countdown and a spectacular synchronized “pyromusical” of fireworks. The 10-minute-long, $1.8 million show featured pyrotechnics, lights, and music and was designed to create a “celestial kaleidoscope” effect.

Happy New(s) Year!

Resources: channelnewsasia.com,BBC.co.UK, Timeoutdubai.com, Southchinamorningpost.com