The world wanted to bid a final goodbye to 2016 described by many as tumultuous and traumatic and to welcome 2017 with better wishes and bigger hopes. New Year celebrations all over the world were marked with the conventional merrymaking like fireworks, parties and festivities. A terror attack dampened the New Year celebrations in one country, however; while technical glitches marred an otherwise high-spirited performance and festivities in one of the world's most watched celebrations; while messages from world top leaders indicated that 2017 will definitely have its own share of controversies.
Annual fireworks in Sydney, Australia drew a strong crowd of more than one million people who lined up the waterfront to witness a show dedicated to the late entertainers David Bowie and Gene Wilder- two of the many celebrities who passed on in 2016.
Big Ben chimed as fireworks exploded around the London Eye to signal the beginning of 2017.
Japan honored the New Year celebrations with temple bells sounding at midnight as families flocked to shrines for the nation's biggest holiday.
Beijing and Shanghai in China marked their celebrations in practically a state of security lockdown in an effort to avoid a similar tragic stampede that happened two years ago.
Russia ushered in the New Year with a stunning fireworks and light show.
New York again welcomed more than a million revelers in iconic tourist attraction Times Square to witness the famous crystal ball drop to signal the New Year. Unexpectedly, however, Mariah Carey suffered through a performance train wreck due to technical malfunctions that saw one of the top-selling recording artists of all time prematurely ending her number with a rare meltdown on national TV.
The saddest part of the world to welcome the New Year happened to be Turkey when its celebrations were marred by a tragic shooting incident in Istanbul's popular, cosmopolitan, affluent night club Reina that left at least 39 people killed and injuring scores of others. 15 of those killed were foreigners from Belgium, France, India, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the act as terrorists' attempt to break Turkey's will but egged on his people to stand together and never give ground to such dirty games.
Outgoing President Barack Obama in his weekly address reflected on the past year, and his two terms of office. He closed his address by saying " and from the Obama family to yours, have a happy and blessed 2017."
At Vatican City, Pope Francis speaking during vespers marking New Year's Eve encouraged his followers to help young people find a place in society.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in his annual greetings statement congratulated current and past world leaders including Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Theresa May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping, French Pres. Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pope Francis, U.N. Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-Moon, U.N. Sec. Gen.-elect Antonio Guterres, International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and even former U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush. Conspicuously absent in Putin's greetings was outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama. Instead, Putin warmly congratulated incoming President Donald Trump.
President-elect Donald Trump for his part sent his New Year greetings via a strong and controversial Twitter message: " Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies who have fought me and lost so badly they just don't know what to do. Love!".
It promises to be an interesting New Year ahead, indeed.