Get Global! New Year Celebrations from Around the World
Here in the United States, New Year’s Eve means the champagne is flowing, Auld Lang Syne sung at top volume and — if you’re lucky enough — a midnight kiss. While America’s New Year falls on January 1st, countries, religions and traditions from around the globe have their new year celebrations throughout the year. Looking to expand your cultural horizons? Why not try joining in the celebrations of these New Year’s traditions from around the world.
Japanese New Year – January 1st, 2017
Though Japan officially adopted the Gregorian calendar in the 1800’s, they originally celebrated New Year in accordance with the Chinese lunar calendar. However, they don’t limit their celebrations to just one day — traditional Japanese New Year celebrations start on January 1st and last for about 2 weeks. During that time, the Japanese visit temples to pray for the dead and good luck during the year, ring temple bells 108 times to scare off evil and feast on rice cakes called mochi.
Chinese New Year – January 28th, 2017
If you like a loud and colorful party, then Chinese “Yuan Tan” is definitely for you. Falling on January 28th, 2017 rings in the Year of the Red Fire Chicken, or Rooster. Celebrations generally continue for up to 15 days and include beating drums to drive away bad spirits, giving money in red envelopes for luck, visiting friends and eating lucky foods, such as fish, spring rolls, dumplings and noodles.
Vietnamese New Year – January 28th, 2017
In Vietnam, “Tet,” plays an important role in both the cultural and religious beliefs of the population. To set the year up for good luck, people will spend days cleaning their homes, decorating and preparing their ancestral alters with decorative fruits and flowers. New clothing is a must for the first day, as is settling any debts or arguments with friends and family. Essential dishes include Banh Tet, Gio Cha and Xoi (Sticky rice).
Thai New Year – April 13th – 15th, 2017
If you’re looking for the ultimate water fight with your celebration, Thailand is the place for you. Called “Songkran,” this celebration’s main activity is throwing water and soaking your friends, loved ones and neighbors. Symbolic of the hopes that the new year will bring good rains and prosperity, statutes of the Buddha are also cleansed with water for good luck. Kick back with some Pad Thai and sticky mango rice and watch the festivities from the comfort of your apartment.
Sri Lankan New Year – April 14th, 2017
Known as Aluth Avurudhu, New Year’s in Sri Lanka is celebrated by both Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Hindus. To prepare for the new year, Sri Lankan’s clean their homes from top to bottom, light the hearth, take herbal baths and prepare a feast for family and friends. Top dishes for the New Year’s table include Milk Rice (Kiribath) and Hath Maluwa (curry made with seven vegetables).
Ethiopian New Year – September 11th, 2017
Dancing, singing and celebrations are just some of the highlights of the Ethiopian celebration, otherwise known as “Enkutatash,” or the “gift of jewels.” Though not considered an exclusively religious holiday, it certainly is one of Ethiopia’s biggest parties. After going to church in the morning, families and friends gather together to feast on Ethiopia’s most famous flatbread, the spongy injera with “wot,” the national dish of Ethiopia.
How are you planning on celebrating your New Year? Do you have any traditions you follow? What did we miss? Let us know below!