Welcoming another year is a blessing, erase that, it’s a very wonderful blessing! In every corner of the world, there are lots of ways to celebrate this poignant change of the calendar year. Different cultures in different time zones have their own ways of embracing the new chapter of their lives. And technically, new year does not necessarily mean January 1 as there are other dates that mark the beginning of another twelve-month period or even lesser.
Probably the most celebrated and widely adopted new year celebration that is observed every January 1 is the Gregorian New Year. Without a doubt, this one is internationally commemorated by most countries with spectacular observances that include sumptuous food feasts, breathtaking fireworks displays, and, of course, the exciting new year countdown.
Well, there are lots of things that will pump up your new year celebration; you just have to be wise and practical to start the new year without breaking the bank. A low-cost holiday wouldn’t hurt as long as you are spending it with your love ones, right? Enjoy the new year eve gazing at the bright colorful skies or conversing with your family and friends at your humble dinner table filled with tasty treats and sparkling wines.
Another on the list is the Chinese New Year. Unlike other cultures with particular new year date, Chinese New Year depends on the Chinese lunar calendar; hence, the date changes every year but always fall within the period of January 21 to February 20. There is a 15-day observance held during this celebration, which is also the most significant tradition of Chinese holidays一 the ‘Spring Festival’.
As one of the most important traditional festivals, Chinese New Year is downright grand, from decorative abodes with red lanterns to spectacular sets of beautiful explosives. Be ready as the entire town is painted in red and the streets are filled with fierce dragons and red posters. In the evening, the skies turn into a beautiful hue of colorful canvas as fireworks and firecrackers cast away the bad luck And just like other new year celebrations, the whole family reunites to welcome another year to pursue the bright and beautiful life that lies ahead.
Shanah Tova! Though typically celebrated in autumn, the Jewish New Year or also called as Rosh Hashanah moves every year because of its lunar cycle dependency. This two-year celebration begins on the Tishrei, which is the first month of the civil year and the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year. One of the most iconic occasions during the Rosh Hashanah, aside from the gathering of friends and family for a religious meal, is the blowing of the shofar or the ram’s horn on mornings that signals the synagogue services.
As part of tradition, many Jews would attend to longer prayer services during the special days to ask for forgiveness and give thanks. Another customary tradition done every Jewish New Year is the Tashlich, where the Jews would throw bread crumbs into a nearby body of water as a symbol to cast away one’s sin from the past year. Also, eating apples dipped in honey is a popular tradition to welcome a new and sweet year ahead.
The month of April is always packed with locals and foreigners on the streets, dancing the night away and celebrating the grandest festival in the country― the Songkran. Also considered as the Thai New Year, the Songkran is celebrated every April 13 to 15 by a huge number of people, not only in the country but also in other nations like Burma, Cambodia, and Laos. As the longest and the most significant public holiday in Thailand, the entire country is on holiday to give opportunity for the natives to visit their relatives in the province and make way for thousands spectators on queue.
Throwing of water is the festival’s highlight so it’s very normal to see people soaking wet on the streets. In Thailand, water is a particular symbol of high hopes so that the next year would bring good rains and provide prosperity all throughout the season. So, if you’re planning to visit Thailand on these dates, better yet ready your water guns and hoses for a fun and memorable Songkran.
Even if the date of the Islamic new year changes annually because of the lunar movements, it falls on the first day of Muharram, or the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar. And as a signal to mark the new year, Muslims look up to the new moon at sunset. The sighting of the new moon signals the start of the first day of the month, also called as Hiji New Year .
This poignant and religious observance varies by around 11 days every year and is celebrated by the entire Muslim community around the world. Unlike the joyous festivities from other cultures during new year, the Islamic people take this period as solemn time for contemplation and prayer. Further, this may not be as widely-celebrated and well-known compared to the Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr, the Muharram is the second most sacred period of the Islamic calendar, after Ramadan. Accordingly, Muslims spend more time with their family, make resolutions and relive the historical battle of Karbala and emigration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina.
The Ethiopian New Year is called the Enkutatash, meaning gift of jewels, and it happens on Meskerem 1 on the Ethiopian calendar and September 11 based on the Gregorian calendar. The Enkutatash is a merry celebration that marks the end of the big, gloomy rains.The celebration, however, isn’t as grand as other new year cultures, so it’s not an exclusive religious holiday celebrated across the world.
Still, natives honor the event by exchanging bouquet of flowers or greetings and cards for the urban people. Families visit the church and gather for the traditional injera (flatbread) and wat (stew) meal. There would be singing, dancing all throughout the spring festival to light up the mood and welcome another year of blessing.