New Year Celebrations

It’s hard to believe that 2014 is right around the corner. Literally. In less than 24 hours, 2013 will officially be behind us and we will be in a new year. Of course, we’re only talking in terms of the Western calendar.  This calendar, which is widely used in North America and Canada, is based on the 365-day year; the one many of us know so well!

But not every culture uses the Western calendar. While we traditionally ring in our New Year on December 31 and January 1, many other cultures have already rung in their New Year, while some won’t ring theirs in until later in 2014 (based on our calendar, of course).

Which got us thinking – how many different  ‘New Years’ are there throughout the world?

The answer: A lot. But here are a few that we found interesting!

Pagan New Year: Many Pagans celebrate the ‘New Year’ on Samhain. On the traditional Western Calendar, this would be known as Halloween. Samhain is not the ‘universal’ New Year in Paganism; others celebrate it at Beltane, which is April 30th.

Chinese New Year: The Chinese New Year occurs between January 21 and February 21, depending on when the new moon of the first lunar month falls, and last 15 days. The 2014 Chinese New Year will be on January 31 and will be the year of the Horse.

Jewish New Year: Rosh Hashanah is celebrated the first two days of the seventh month of the Hebrew Calendar – typically in September (in 2013 it was September 4th – September 6th). For the Jewish, it is a time of introspection and a chance to look back over the past year at the mistakes that have been made. The day is spent in a synagogue as it is one of the holiest days of the year.

Thai New Year: Songkran 2014 will be held from Sunday April 13th to Tuesday April 15th. A traditional Thai New Year had the people of Thailand sprinkle water, out of respect and to pay Buddha respect, on the elders. Now, they have the Thailand Water Fight Festival, one of the most important to the people of Thailand.

Ethiopian New Year:  In 2013 and for 2014, it will fall on September 11.  Their new year is called Enkutatash, which means “gift of jewels”.  During this festival, there will be dancing, singing and a lot of celebrations.

Whether your New Year has come and gone, is happening tonight, or coming up – Happy New Year to all and I hope it is filled with all good things!

Sources:

1. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/panmankey/2013/11/happy-pagan-new-year/

2. http://bloomfield-mi.patch.com/groups/breast-cancer-awareness/p/5-97364391

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