As you celebrate the New Year in your home country, it may be that some other countries have already done that. Or, in the other extreme, some countries are still hours behind your country. The difference in time zones across the world makes it be this way, as some countries wake up to see daylight ahead of others.
If you continue to read on, you will be surprised to find out that remote nations that are smaller than major countries like India or China are the ones that will first celebrate the New Year ahead of others.
Every country celebrates the New Year at midnight on January 1. Below, we put together a list of ten of the first countries to celebrate the New Year.
1. Christmas Island, Kiribati
This country is about 13 hours ahead of Nigeria. It is GMT+14. If you live in a West African country, this country is perhaps 13 0r 14 hours ahead of where you live. I write from Nigeria. At the time I put this article together, it was 12:09 but up there in Christmas Island, Kiribati it is already 01:09. That’s clearly in the morning, the second day of January 2022.
It is good to note that this territory is not in parts of Australia. That country also has its own settlement called Christmas Island.
2. New Zealand
This country is seven hours ahead of India. Its time zone is GMT+13. As Nigeria launches into the hot afternoon sun at 12 pm and thereafter, New Zealand is already in another day. It is about 12 hours ahead of Nigeria. Since the country has different time zones, some would wake up earlier than others to celebrate the New Year in that country but that will be different less than one hour.
The country is remote and secluded from main places in Europe. However, a surprising thing for people who live in these parts is that they have gotten used to surprising different time zones in areas not far from each other. Such is the case with the Chatham Islands with New Zealand’s.
This small country shares the same time zone as New Zealand. But it is still a few minutes to almost an hour ahead of New Zealand. The people in that country celebrate the New Year at about the same time that New Zealand does. Samoa should not be confused as American Samoa, though that country is also close by. As I write this, Samoa is already on Sunday, 2nd January 2022. The time zone is GMT +13.
The country consists of more than 170 South Pacific islands. It’s a beautiful place to be in, and the area shares the same time zone as New Zealand and Samoa. People love to be in Tonga because it has assortments of beaches and coral reefs, while it is covered with tropical rain forest. Tonga is just a few minutes ahead of Samoa in time zones. Tonga is 21 hours ahead of Los Angeles, USA.
Fiji is still at 23:37 Saturday, 1 January 2022, as I write this at 12:37 Saturday, Nigerian time. The country has two time zones of FJST Fiji Summer Time, and FJT – Fiji Time. FJT is UTC +12, while FJST is UTC +13. The country celebrated the New Year when Nigeria was still at December 31, 1 pm.
Russia’s far eastern part celebrates the New Year at the same time that Fiji does. However, Russia is a large country. Moscow is GMT +3. However, places like Vladivostok have celebrated their New Year earlier because the time zone there is GMT +10. Kamchatka Krai, Russia has GMT +12, so close to that of Fiji. People living in Russia have to be time conscious because the variety in time zones for that country is dumbfounding. It will surprise you to know that Russia has 11 time zones.
Australia celebrated the 2022 New Year after the countries listed above did. The country has nine time zones ranging between three hours. Some areas are UTC +8, such as Perth; while others like Lord Howe Island is UTC +11. The country is about 10 hours ahead of Nigeria. The country is 16 hours ahead of Maryland, USA.
8. Papua New Guinea
Since the center of Papua New Guinea is 17 hours ahead of the center of the United States, it makes the country one of the first 10 counties to celebrate the New Year. The country has just two time zones. The time zone for the capital, Port Moresby is commonly used for international purposes.
9. Guam (US)
The US territory celebrates the New Year at around the same time that Papua New Guinea does. That means they have celebrated before the mainland US woke up on January 1, 2022. Guam is situated in the Western Pacific. The island’s time zone is called Chamorro Standard Time of GMT +10. 125 pm Nigerian time is 22:25 in Guam.
When it is 4 pm in Nigeria on December 31, Japan celebrates its New Year. The country is known for GMT +9 which puts it ahead of many African countries when it comes to time zones. It is good to know that like Nigeria, the whole of Japan is inside one time zone.
Why No African country is on this list
From Cairo, Egypt, to Cape Town, South Africa – the time zone difference is not much. Egypt is GMT +2, while South Africa is GMT +2. Cities in West Africa maintain GMT +1 mostly. But the cities in East Africa are in the GMT +3 range. Therefore, it can be seen that no African nation is situated at the extreme of zones. These countries are in the middle when compared to Tonga, or a place like Hawaii.
As you must have seen on the list of the first ten countries to celebrate the New Year, before many people wake up in places like USA or Canada, people in Tonga, Samoa will flip their calendars to a new year. After that, places like New Zealand, Australia, and a few others will join in celebrating the New Year.
As far as it is concerned, some countries will have to wait a whole day after Samoa has celebrated the New Year in order to begin their own celebrations because of the huge time difference.