Celebrations in Australia, Asia ring in 2010 བོད་སྐད།

Starting at the International Date line in the mid-Pacific and spreading from east to west, crowds around Asia led the world in ringing in the New Year.

One of the first major cities to celebrate the beginning of 2010 was Sydney, Australia. More than a million people gathered along the Sydney harbor to watch the city's annual fireworks show, set to booming rock music.

Hours before midnight people arrived at Harbor Bridge to stake out good seats for the 12-minute display. This year's show involved more than 5,000 kilograms of explosive devices.

Other cities around Asia and the Pacific region celebrated with fireworks, such as Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. In Auckland, New Zealand, thousands of partygoers took to the streets to watch as fireworks shot from the Sky Tower. In the capital of Taiwan, 22,000 fireworks were shot from different angles off the Taipei 101 skyscraper. President Ma Ying-jeou was on-hand for the countdown party.

In other places people marked the New Year without fireworks.

Millions in Japan prayed at shrines for good fortune in 2010. At Tokyo's Zojo-ji Buddhist temple, clear balloons were released into the air at midnight.

In Seoul, South Korea, a giant bell was rung.

In China's capital, signs around Beijing cautioned not to light fireworks within the heart of the city on New Year's Eve.

This did not seem to bother Beijing residents, who say the Lunar New Year is their traditional time to celebrate with fireworks. This year that holiday is in mid-February.

Many young people were at bars and clubs in Beijing until the early hours of the morning. Still others had to work on New Year's Eve. As late-night revelers waited in the cold for a scarce cab, two men unloaded a truck at a bakery on Worker's Stadium Road. One of them, surnamed Wu, said he hoped for good health for his parents in the New Year. His coworker surnamed Zhang said he hoped to spend the Lunar New Year with family at his home in nearby Shandong province.