03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

New Year's Celebrations Around The World (PHOTOS)

(AP) PARIS - Fireworks exploded over Sydney's famous bridge and the Eiffel Tower prepared for its own colored-light spectacle as the world celebrated a New Year that many hope will be more prosperous and peaceful than 2009.

Revelers across the globe at least temporarily shelved worries about their future prospects to bid farewell to the first decade of the 21st century.

The financial downturn hit hard in 2009, sending many industrial economies into recession, tossing millions out of work and out of their homes, as foreclosures rose dramatically in some countries.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said 2009 had been an extraordinary year for the world -- citing the inauguration of the United States' first black president and international attempts to grapple with climate change and the global financial crisis.

"The great message from 2009 is that because we've been all in this together, we've all worked together," Rudd said in a New Year's message.

Australia got the festivities rolling Thursday, with Sydney draping its skies with explosive bursts of crimson, purple and blue to the delight of more than 1 million New Year revelers.

New Year's Eve In Photos

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