“Auld Lang Syne” is a traditional song that is widely sung all over the world as part of their New Year celebrations. For many, a new year means a fresh start full of possibilities. It’s a time to make decisions, spend time with family, and even take things into account.
And now, let’s talk about how different countries celebrate the New Year, how it all began and its significance in different cultures.
First thing’s first, let’s start with the history of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s celebrations and take it from there.
New Year’s date
It is said that we have been celebrating the New Year all over the world for more than four thousand years. Of course, as you move from country to country and explore different cultures and traditions, the New Year celebrations are different.
Most of the time, New Year’s celebrations begin on December 31, known as New Year’s Eve, and continue until January 1, the start of the new year. This series of events takes place according to the most widely used calendar, the Gregorian calendar.
New Year’s celebrations began in the ancient city of Babylon in conjunction with the first new moon following the “vernal equinox.” (As a side note, the vernal equinox is defined as two separate moments during the year when the sun falls just above the equator when the day and night are the same in length. The vernal equinox occurs around March 20 or 21 of each year, also marking the beginning of what we know as spring.) On it, the Babylonians celebrated the beginning of the new year with a huge religious festival called “Akitu”.
Over time, civilization developed more modern and sophisticated calendars which associated the new year with an astronomical or agricultural event. Take, for example, the Chinese New Year which is celebrated on the second new moon that occurs after the “winter solstice.”
New Year’s Eve Celebrations and Traditions
January, as we know it today, comes from the Roman word “Januarius”. It was the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar who applied January 1 as the first day of the year and in honor of the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings.
The early days of the New Year festivities saw people making sacrifices to Janus and exchanging gifts, throwing parties, and decorating their homes. Fast forward to the last times, the New Year festivities begin on December 31st. This day is widely known as New Year’s Eve.
In many cultures, traditions make them use fireworks to celebrate the New Year. In the United States, Times Square, New York City, in particular, the Times Square Ball Drop has become a world-famous attraction and a way to celebrate the New Year. As the countdown to midnight begins to celebrate the start of a new year, a large custom-designed flagpole ball descends and stops when the clock strikes 12, symbolizing the official start of a new year.
In countries like Spain, they eat 12 grapes before midnight as a symbol of hope for goodwill in the coming months. In other parts of the world, watching fireworks and singing songs to welcome the New Year is also a common tradition.
Other New Year’s Traditions and Practices
For the most part, New Year’s Day is usually recognized as a public holiday around the world. With this in mind, there are also many religious and cultural celebrations that take place either to welcome the new year or to celebrate it.
Chinese New Year
Tuesday, February 1, 2022 will be the start of the next Chinese New Year. This new year is considered the year of the tiger. Chinese New Year is sometimes called the Lunar New Year because as you might guess, it goes according to the phases of the moon.
Chinese New Year celebrations usually last fifteen days, and normally, there is no work in the first seven days of the celebration. During this time of Chinese tradition, a thorough cleaning is done in your home to get rid of all the bad luck that may be lingering. In addition, food is prepared and enjoyed by everyone on certain days during the festivities. The highlight of the Chinese New Year celebrations is the Lantern Festival, which often occurs on the last day of all festivities.
Jewish New Year
The Jewish New Year is called “New Year”. The translation of the term Rosh Hashanah means “New Year’s Eve”. It is a holiday in Judaism and falls in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. New Year’s Eve usually falls in September or October according to the Gregorian calendar. The Jewish New Year celebrates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the ten days of awe.
To celebrate the New Year, the popular custom of eating apples and honey is widely practiced. This is usually done after a special prayer has been recited. Apples are believed to have healing qualities and honey signifies hope for a “sweet” new year.
The Jewish New Year celebrations end with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The practice of sounding the trumpet, a trumpet made from a ram’s horn, plays an important role in these ceremonies.
Celebrating the beginning of the new year is an important practice for many. It is crucial to see that you have reached the end of one year with a chance to start a new one. For many, changing behavior and mindsets in the form of decisions is a common practice around the world.
How will you celebrate New Year’s Eve this year and the beginning of the new year? However, I chose to celebrate, and make it good.
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Happy New Year when it comes! from us to you.