Billions Say Goodbye to 2008

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CBNNews.com - People around the world rang in the New Year, even if a bit less extravagantly in some places than in years past.

In the U.S., millions began ringing in 2009 with friends and family, hoping for a better outlook as a troubled 2008 was etched into history.

Hundreds of thousands of people braved the cold temperatures in New York's Times Square to welcome 2009 and watch the famed crystal ball drop as confetti filled the air.

Click play to see various celebrations from around the world.

Many planned celebrations across the globe had been scaled back as economic uncertainty continues. But that did not stop millions of revelers from gladly welcoming the hope of a new year.

Sydney, Australia, was the world's first major city to ring in 2009, showering its shimmering harbor with a kaleidoscope of light that drew cheers from more than a million people.

In Ireland, thousands of Dubliners and tourists gathered outside the capital's oldest medieval cathedral, Christ Church, to hear the traditional New Year's Eve bell-ringing.

"It is a wondrously beautiful note on which to end what, for many people, has been an awfully out-of-tune 2008," said Gary Maguire, a volunteer pulling the ropes.

In Rome, Pope Benedict XVI called for "soberness and solidarity" in 2009.

During a year's end vespers service Wednesday evening, the pope said these times are "marked by uncertainty and worry for the future" but urged people not to be afraid and to help each other.

Sources: The Associated Press, ABC News

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