Sydney and Auckland are the first major cities to ring in 2024 as war shadows celebrations elsewhere

December 31, 2023

Sydney and Auckland were among the world’s first major cities to ring in 2024, with revelers cheering spectacular fireworks displays that lit up the skies over Sydney Harbor and New Zealand’s tallest structure, Sky Tower. The ongoing wars in Ukraine and Gaza, and heightened tensions in parts of the world, are affecting this year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations in a myriad of ways. Many cities were deploying extra security, and some places canceled New Year’s Eve events altogether. Fireworks explode over the Sydney Opera House and on the Harbour Bridge as part if New Year’s Eve celebrations in Sydney, Monday, Jan. 1, 2024. In Muslim-majority Pakistan, the government has banned all New Year’s Eve celebrations as an act of solidarity with the Palestinians.