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Updated December 31st, 2023 at 17:32 IST

Kiribati becomes first place to celebrate New Year 2024

In the intricate fabric of global New Year celebrations, Kiribati, a charming island nation with 33 atolls, has claimed the lead as the first to welcome 2024.

Manasvi Asthana
Kiribati becomes first place to celebrate New Year 2024.
Kiribati becomes first place to celebrate New Year 2024. | Image:AP
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In the intricate fabric of global New Year celebrations, Kiribati, a charming island nation with 33 atolls, has claimed the lead as the first to welcome 2024. The Line Islands, part of Kiribati, stand at the forefront due to the country's unique equatorial Pacific position.

Kiribati's claim to this distinction traces back to a significant 1994 shift in time zones, reshaping its relationship with the International Date Line. This move, shifting the line over 1,000 kilometers eastward within Kiribati's territory, aimed to unify the nation under a single time zone, resolving the confusion arising from a divided date line.

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Previously split across two days, Kiribati grappled with complexities arising from its location straddling the Date Line. The decision to consolidate time zones brought Kiribati into the Asian side of the Date Line, aligning the nation under three time zones and eliminating perpetual duality in dates.

As the Line Islands embraced the first sunrise of the New Year, traditional Kiribati celebrations unfolded. Locals marked the temporal transition with festivities featuring customary cuisine, including succulent roast pig and crayfish, along with coconut sap beverages.

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While Kiritimati, the main island, had no major events, the Line Islanders celebrated with a spirit of community and anticipation for the opportunities the new year brings.

The Line Islands sharing the same time as Honolulu but existing one day ahead symbolizes Kiribati's unique chronology in the global time continuum. As the world embraces 2024, Kiribati proudly stands as the vanguard of this annual temporal milestone, showcasing the intricate interplay between geography, time zones, and celebratory traditions.

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Published December 31st, 2023 at 17:32 IST

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