Celebrations from Around the Globe

For most people, January 1st marks the beginning of a brand new year. New Year's Eve parties on the 31st of December are a rage the world over. However, December 31st parties are not the only events that mark the beginning of a new year. Examine cultures from around the world and you will find that there are a number of other celebrations that mark the onset of a new year for different communities. These celebrations are the result of deeply rooted historical significances or cultural calendars and do not coincide with the traditional December 31st or January 1st celebrations we have grown accustomed to. Here are some of the most commonly celebrated holidays commemorating the beginning of the year --

  • New Year’s Eve - The most common of celebrations from around the world, New Year’s eve is celebrated on December 31st. On this night millions of people across the globe stay up to celebrate the arrival of the new year, often throwing parties and gathering with loved ones to countdown to midnight. Depending on your local, traditions can vary widely but can include special community events, fireworks displays, and deliciously decedent food or drinks. From Europe and the Americas to Asia and other parts of the world, people often mark the start of the New Year in extravagant styles and time honored traditions. On this day, the commonly accepted superstition states that the way in which you celebrate the New Year will be representative of your life in the coming year.
  • Rosh Hashanah - Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the first month of the Jewish calendar, also known as Tishrei, and is usually commemorated in September. Traditionally, Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of a period of self reflection and repentance that ends on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. On the day of Rosh Hashanah celebrations vary from family to family. However, it is common for people to gather and share a festive meal with traditional prayers. Food items like apples prepared with honey or a loaf of circular Challah bread, which symbolize the cycle of time, are consumed on Rosh Hashanah.
  • Chinese New Year - Chinese New Year, also referred to as the spring festival is celebrated to mark the end of winter around January or February. Celebrations often include extravagant community festivals. However, on the eve of this day, it is most common for families to gather for a special dinner. Revered as one of the most important holidays in the Chinese culture, the Chinese New Year is generally celebrated with the sharing of special regional recipes and foods that symbolize wealth, happiness, and good fortune for the coming year. Red envelops known as hóngbāo, containing money, are also commonly gifted during gatherings marking the New Year.

From the celebration of Songkran in Thailand and Seol-nal in Korea to the traditions of Hogmanay in Scotland and Oshogatsu in Japan, there is a world of different traditions and histories surrounding the welcoming of a new year. Read up on these and soon, you might be motivated to implement some and create your own unique new year traditions for the family.

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