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Why Celebrate New Year’s Day – History, Traditions & Customs

New Year’s Day is an annual, internationally celebrated holiday that is observed on January 1st,  the first day of the year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendar. Usually, people across the world mark the new years’ holiday with parades, fireworks, and reflections about the previous year while anticipating the future. Different cultures across the world celebrate this day in their unique way.

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What is the origin of New Year’s Day

the origin of new years’ celebration dates back to 2000 b.c in mesopotamia during the period of the vernal equinox which occurred in mid-march. according to the early roman calendar, march 1st was the first day of the year. the calendar used during this period had ten months, starting from march and ending with december. later, roman legends introduced the months of lanuarius and februarius, and initially placed them after december, but later were observed as the first two months of the year.

沙巴体育怎么玩the january kalends (first day of every month according to the roman calendar) came to be observed as the new year in 153 bce by two roman consuls. however, despite the change of the date, private and religious organizations continued the new year’s celebrations around march. during the 7th century, it was customary to exchange presents during new year’s celebrations, a tradition which was condemned by saint eligius. however, european christians continued the tradition of gift-giving during new years’ celebrations because this day was within the 12 days of christmas in the western christian calendar. nonetheless, the culture of gift-giving dates back to the nativity of jesus, where the biblical magi or the three wise men presented jesus with gifts in celebration of his birth.

during the middle ages, both the julian calendar and the gregorian calendar underwent numerous reforms. among one of the most significant changes was correcting the leap year error present in the julian calendar. in 1582, pope gregory xiii acknowledged the gregorian calendar, which is commonly used around the globe today and corrected the leap year mistake by deleting ten days. in effect, the gregorian calendar rectification reinstated january 1st as new year’s day. this reformed gregorian calendar took effect almost immediately in catholic countries while in protestant countries the effect was gradual. for instance, the british empire, together with its american colonies, continued celebrating new year’s day on march 25th until 1752 when they adopted the gregorian calendar. 

in western europe during the middle ages, the majority of the nations formally accepted january 1st as new year’s day prior to adopting the gregorian calendar. this was because authorities shifted new year’s day depending on the region. some of the dates when new year’s day was observed included march 1st, march 25th, easter, september 1st and december 25th. however, upon adoption of the gregorian calendar, the different dates for new year shifted to a single fixed date, january 1st.

When is New Years’ Day celebrated across the world?

although formal acceptance of the gregorian calendar and observing january 1st as the start of a new year is almost universal, use of local or regional calendars continues, together with accompanying cultural and religious practices across the world. for instance, in latin america, china, israel, among other regions, new year’s day is observed on varying dates, according to their calendars as well as the difference in time zones.

generally, the globe is divided into different time zones meaning that the new year moves progressively around the world. the first time zone to welcome the new year is usually west of the international date line, situated in the line islands which has a time zone of 14 hours ahead of utc. other zones are behind by 1-25 hours.

although the celebration of new year’s day may differ from country to country, some of these customs contain similarities. a good example is most countries begin the festivities on the day before, during new year’s eve which is on december 31st. in many states, the day is usually ushered in with a countdown to midnight as well as the setting of new resolutions that are centered on self-improvement. it is quite common for countries to put on firework displays at the stroke of midnight. in the european countries, for example, new year’s day is marked with private fireworks while across great britain numerous celebrations take place, including gathering along the river thames to watch fireworks, attending parades, family gatherings, among others.

January

沙巴体育怎么玩january 1st marks the beginning of a new year all over the globe. converse to popular belief in the west, january 1st is not an orthodox christian religious holiday. however, this date is a religious holiday in itself because january 1st marks the feast of the circumcision of christ, which took place precisely seven days after he was born, as well as a celebration of saints. while the orthodox calendar does not make provisions for the celebration of the new year, orthodox nations may, nonetheless, make public observances of this holiday. countries that use the reformed the julian calendar (which provides synchronized dates with the gregorian calendar) can celebrate both the religious holidays and the public holiday on january 1st. these countries include: 

沙巴体育怎么玩in countries or nations with orthodox churches that follow the julian calendar, the new year is celebrated on january 1st of the gregorian calendar while the religious celebrations mentioned above are observed on january 14th (january 1 in the julian calendar). these countries include:

  • Israel
  • Russia
  • Georgia
  • Ukraine
  • Serbia
  • Republic of Macedonia
  • Montenegro

Lunar New Year

  • In China, the new year is also referred to as the Lunar New Year and takes place annually on the new moon of the first lunar month, around the start of spring. The date for the lunar year can fall anywhere between the dates of January 21st to February 21st.
  • The Korean New Year also referred to as Seollal or Lunar New Year’s Day,  marks the first day in the lunar calendar which is of great importance to the Koreans, as it is believed to prevent evil spirits and bring good luck throughout the year.
  • The Vietnamese New Year is observed on a similar day as the Chinese New Year since Vietnamese use the same lunar calendars as the Chinese.
  • In Tibet, New Year (Losar) is usually observed between January and March.

March

  • In Babylon, the beginning of a new year was marked by the first new moon after the Northward equinox.
  • Nava Varsha is observed in India, in different provinces, from March to April.
  • In Iran, New Year is observed on either March 20th or March 21st, which marks the start of the spring season.
  • The Balinese New Year is observed based on the Balinese-Javanese calendar and occurs during Bali’s Lunar New Year which is usually around March.

April

沙巴体育怎么玩the new year for many south and southeast asians, such as the people of pakistan and india, usually falls between april 13-15. for instance in sri lanka, this holiday is observed with the harvest festival when the sun shifts from the house of pisces to the house of aries. however, unlike other customs and traditions for celebrating new year, sri lankans begin celebrating the new year depending on the time determined by astrologers. additionally, astrologers also determine when the old year ends and set a specified time, usually hours, before the beginning and the end of the new year.

June

  • Odunde Festival also referred to as African New Year is observed in Philadelphia, US, during the second Sunday of June.
  • The Kutchi people observe new year during Ashadi Beej, which is the second day of Shukla Paksha of Aashaadha month in the Hindu calendar. This day usually falls between June 22nd and July 22nd.

September

the ethiopian new year, also known as enkutatash occurs on the same day as the neyrouz in september.

Northern Hemisphere Autumn

  • Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish holiday observed in celebration of the 7-days of creation and marking God’s annual restoration of the world.
  • Pathans Kalasha marks the beginning of the new year by celebrating their Chowmus in the Chitral province of Pakistan and parts of India.
  • The Gujarati New Year occurs in either October or November in accordance with the Lunar Calendar.
  • The Nepalese New Year is observed in some regions encompassing original Nepal. The New Year celebrations take place four days after Diwali.
  • Neo-pagans observe their perception of Samhain (a ceremony of the ancient Celts which is observed on November 1st) as their New Year’s Day.

Variable 

The Islamic沙巴体育怎么玩 New Year, also referred to as Hijri New Year, takes place on Muharram based on the Islamic calendar. The Islamic calendar consists of 12 lunar months which amounts to 354 days, meaning the Islamic new year comes 11 days earlier in comparison to the Gregorian calendar.

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