We celebrate a new year cycle on the 1st of January, but when do other faiths and countries mark certain dates as a new year?
Religion & Belief
The Chinese New Year
We’ll start with perhaps one of the most obvious calendars, the Chinese New Year which starts on the 16th of February 2018. The Chinese Zodiac (also known as Sheng Xiao) is based on a twelve-year cycle, each year in this cycle is related to an animal, for 2018, it will be the year of the dog. These signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. With each Chinese New Year comes an assigned animal with a hidden meaning. An example would be in the year of the horse, apparently these people love the limelight, tend to be popular and hard working. They aren’t great listeners and are constantly looking for a way to improve themselves. The Chinese New Year also has a list of Taboos, things to be avoided on the first day of the new year; Porridge should be avoided as it is considered that only poor people eat this, Laundry should not be washed on the first or second day, you shouldn’t wash your hair as it is considered that you could wash your fortune away. The main celebration for the Chinese New Year are in London, which are set to be the biggest outside of Asia.
Jewish New Year
Much like the Chinese New Year, not all New Year celebrations take place on the 31st of December. The Jewish New Year (also known as Rosh Hashanah) is in September and is a two-day holiday. During this time families celebrate tradition through food and prayer services, a traditional celebration will almost always include slices of apple dipped in honey, symbolising a sweet New Year.
Eastern Orthodox Church New Year
Russia (along with other countries: Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine) celebrate the New Year on January 14th, this is an Orthodox Church religious holiday which is celebrated with family feasts.
If you are planning a winter trip to Russia, Macedonia, Serbia or Ukraine, you’ll want to be there on December 31st, despite the religious holiday falling on January 14th, the public holiday is January 1st and New Year’s Eve is home to fireworks, feasts and festivities.
Balinese New Year
The New Year on the island of Bali is celebrated in March, coinciding with their lunar New Year. Surprisingly, many cities in U.S. also celebrate the Balinese New Year with yoga camps and meditation clinics. So, if you’re looking for a relaxing holiday, join in on the 12-hour dedicated silence that sweeps across the island.
Grab your party hats for New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. They shut down the entire strip of traffic so it becomes one LARGE giant block party for you and 300,000 people. Where you can spend your evening drinking with your buddies or gambling, whether it’s in the casino, or to play bingo online.
You can get your New Year’s health resolutions off to a good start, thanks to Spain’s tradition of eating 12 grapes, one for each stroke of midnight. Which is harder than it sounds, but if you’re successful, tradition says you’ll have a year of prosperity. You can join the crowds in Puerta del Sol in Madrid for Nochevieja – which is New Year’s Eve. You’ll have 12 grapes in one hand and a glass of cava in another.
Or if smashing things is where your interest lies, you’re in for a treat for Denmark’s traditions. As smashing things against someone’s house might be considered back luck and rude, but in Denmark, people hold onto chipped dishes and glasses just for New Year’s Eve. During that night, they go around to houses of friends and family and smash a plate against their front door. Then in the morning, the more shards you have on your front door, the more popular you are.
If you’re looking to get out of the cold and into some warmth, the festivities in Rio de Janeiro, particularly Copacabana Beach are worth a trip, especially with their New Year’s Eve traditions. One of them dedicates jumping seven waves as this will bring good luck in the coming year. Bonus points if you wear white while doing so, as this brings peace. You can also bring flowers with you, to throw into the ocean as a gift to the goddess of the seas.
Ringing in the New Year is one tradition that spans the globe. Whether it’s fireworks, a huge countdown, a different time of year there is always cause to celebrate.