Happy New Year! Which country will be the first to ring in 2023?

From Christmas Island to Hawaii, which country will be the first to ring in the new year, and which will be the last?

 Early fireworks explode over Sydney Opera House during the New Year's Eve celebrations, in Sydney, Australia, December 31, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/JAIMI JOY)
Early fireworks explode over Sydney Opera House during the New Year's Eve celebrations, in Sydney, Australia, December 31, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/JAIMI JOY)

Celebrations marking the start of the new calendar year are well underway across the world, with each region marking it at a different point depending on the timezone they are in.

Which countries will be the first to welcome in 2023, and which country will be the last?

It is generally believed that the first to celebrate the arrival of the New Year are the people of Australia, but there are those who mark it even before them.

On Christmas Island and several other small islands located in the center of the Pacific Ocean, most of which are uninhabited, the new year has already started, coming in at midday, Israel time.

This is despite the fact that Christmas Island lies just south of Hawaii - where the new year will begin exactly 24 hours later.

 A couple takes a selfie with the setting sun on New Year's Eve at the Seoul Sky Observatory in Seoul, South Korea, December 31, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/HEO RAN) A couple takes a selfie with the setting sun on New Year's Eve at the Seoul Sky Observatory in Seoul, South Korea, December 31, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/HEO RAN)

An hour later, at 1 p.m. Israel time, the tiny island of Tonga in the Pacific Ocean will usher in the New Year, along with New Zealand and Samoa. Just two hours later, Sydney in eastern Australia will also celebrate the arrival of 2023. 

The last to celebrate the beginning of the new year are Howland and Baker Island, although as both islands are uninhabited, there won't be many people ringing in the new year there. Nevertheless, the start of 2023 on these islands won't be marked until 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 1, Israel time.

Slightly earlier than these lonely islands, and with more people in attendance, Hawaii will ring in the new year at 10 a.m. Sunday, Israel time. And, just two hours before them, California will celebrate the start of 2023 as well.