As January 1 nears, people around the globe are preparing to celebrate the new year in their own way. But the world's different time zones means there will be parts of the world that welcome 2018 first – and places that will celebrate last.
So which places will be the “earliest birds” to enter 2018, and which areas will be the last to step into the new year?
First to enter 2018
Two Pacific islands will see the year switch first: Kiritimati and Samoa.
Kiritimati, also known as Christmas Island, is a raised coral atoll in the northern Line Islands, Pacific Ocean, and a part of the Republic of Kiribati. With an area of 388.4 square kilometers, it has a population over 5,500. Because it's located in the world’s farthest forward time zone – 14 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), it is one of the first places to welcome the New Year.
Kiritimati, also known as Christmas Island
Samoa, another island nation in the Pacific Ocean, is located in the same time zone as Kiritimati, making its residents the first to experience 2018. The country “changed its time zone in December 2011 by moving to the west of the International Date Line (IDL) in an effort to boost its economy by doing business with Australia and New Zealand,” according to BNO News.
The IDL is an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth from the North Pole to the South Pole, that defines one day and the next.
UTC is a time standard and basis for the world’s civil time and time zones. There is no time difference between UTC and GMT, the time zone that's used in some countries.
Last to enter 2018
A trio of islands in the Pacific Ocean – Alofi, Midway Atoll and Pago Pago – all 11 hours later than UTC, will be the last three places to celebrate 2018.
Alofi is the capital of the Pacific Ocean island nation of Niue, Midway Atoll an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the US and Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa.
Two other islands – Baker Island and Howland Island – will be the last uninhabited places to see the New Year.
Happy New Year everyone, no matter where you are and how early you meet 2018!