Samoa skips Friday in leap across international dateline
The time jump means that Samoa's 186,000 citizens will now be the first in the world to ring in the new year, rather than the last.
When the clock struck midnight Thursday, the country skipped over Friday and moved 24 hours ahead — straight into Saturday, Dec. 31.
Samoans gathered around a main clock tower in the capital of Apia for the historic moment, applauding in celebration as the midnight hour struck to the wail of sirens and burst of fireworks. Drivers circled the clock tower blaring their horns, and prayer services were held across the country.
Samoa aimed to align its time zone with key trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region by shifting west of the international date line.
The time jump means that Samoa's 186,000 citizens, and the 1,500 in the three-atoll United Nations dependency of Tokelau, which also shifted, will now be the first in the world to ring in the new year, rather than the last.