Each day on earth is 24 hours long, but the new year starts at different times everywhere.
This is because of the International Date Line, which is the official means of determining the beginning and end of each day.
The idea of the International Date Line came up during a conference in 1884.
The purpose of this conference was to fix regulations regarding railway lines and international travel.
The International Date Line is the name of an imaginary line on the earth’s surface from north to south on the opposite side of the first meridian. At the same time there are two different dates on either side of it, i.e. the date of the western part is one day ahead of the date of the eastern part.
Countries are free to decide which time zone they want to be a part of, north or south.
But things get more complicated when countries set their own time.
According to an estimate, there are currently 38 local time zones in use around the world.
Some countries have added 30 or 45 minutes to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) instead of an hour.
If you take UTC into consideration, according to experts, a day takes 25 hours to complete in all parts of the earth.
As for the countries that celebrate New Year first and last in the world, their details are as follows.
The first country to welcome the New Year
The New Year on Earth begins in the Kiritimati region of the Pacific island nation of Kiribati and its 10 surrounding uninhabited islands.
Kiribati is a country consisting of 33 islands and the New Year in Kiribati starts 24 hours before the US state of Hawaii and 9 hours before Pakistan.
Interestingly, this has happened recently.
At one time, the International Date Line passed through the middle of Kiribati, meaning that the date was different in the western or eastern islands of the country, but in 1995, the country was given a single time zone for all locations.
It was meant to attract tourists eager to welcome the new century first, but now there are 3 time zones.
Last but not least are the areas to welcome the new year
Niue (under Britain) and American Samoa (under America) are the last inhabited places in the world to welcome the New Year.
They are located in the South Pacific Ocean, southwest of Kiribati, where New Year starts 16 hours later than Pakistan.
Nearby Samoa was once one of the last countries to start the New Year, but in 2011 the country adjusted its time zone to Australia and New Zealand.
As a result of this change, Samoa became one of the first countries to welcome the New Year in the International Dateline.
By the way, Baker Island and Howland (where the day ends 17 hours later than Pakistan) have the last end of the day in the world, but no one lives there.