There are plenty of ways to celebrate the turning of the years, especially for different lifestyles and cultures all around the world. Some of us have the same tradition every year, some of us try out something new each time this holiday rolls around, some of us have no way of celebrating, and there are plenty of people in between. But how do individuals and families in other regions celebrate a year turning into a new one? Here are some ways of how people around the world celebrate a New Year for those of us that are curious about different or new traditions and concepts for the holiday.
Signal New Year’s Eve
On New Year’s Eve, people around the world gather in all different places or watch on television different features of the New Year turning from one year to the next at the stroke of midnight. From bells to whistles to sirens and more, many places have ways to signal for the stroke of midnight when it officially becomes a new year and celebrate the turn of year from one to the next.
Chinese New Year
In China, there are a lot of intertwined religious and cultural practices during the New Year. Children dress in new clothes, festivals are held led by a silk dragon which is the symbol of strength, lanterns are used as part of the celebrations, and each year is celebrated as a new animal in the Chinese calendar which brings different luck, fortunes, and general expectations depending on the animal.
For Jewish folk, the most significant holidays of the year happen during September or October with the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and 10 days later Yom Kippur signifies the end of the cycle where God opens the Book of Life and a day of atonement is needed. These 10 days are considered the holiest of the Jewish year.
Buddhist New Year
Contrary to other traditions, the Buddhist new year is celebrated in Thailand during the month of April with a special festival called Songkran. People tie strings around others’ wrists as a sign of respect, release fish into rivers, throw water at each other for fun, and much more. The festival lasts three days and is considered important and their new year, even though it is much earlier than calendar new years.
For some more new years that didn’t actually start on the more generalized calendar new year of December 31 to January 1, ancient societies like the Greeks and Romans actually considered the new year to begin after the new moon in late June or at the beginning of March. In the Middle Ages, it generally was a new year in late March during a major feast for the time.
It can vary greatly how important the change of the year is for different cultural areas or individuals, because so many different folk see the New Year as something symbolizing transformation and important moments in our lives. It can be a great moment to reflect on our year, our overall lives so far, and to plan for the future since it is the turning of a whole calendar year. It also has religious significance for plenty of folk, which helps add diversity to New Year’s celebrations too. This list is just some of the many interesting ways that people around the world celebrate a New Year.