Other New Years: Jan 1 is not a New Year for these culture
Not all countries and cultures celebrate New Year on January 1. Mostly, cultures follow the Gregorian calendar with 365 days, or 12 months in a year, and leap years. But there are several cultures that also celebrate New Year’s Day later in the year. These cultures follow lunar, solar, and other hybrid calendars to tell time. Let’s find out more about these cultures…
Chinese New Year
Also called the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year manifests the beginning of the spring harvest season. Red envelopes filled with money are presented to family and friends, and sweet treats like egg-filled mooncakes are shared. The city roads are decorated with colourful dragons and lantern displays. It’s mostly celebrated in the month of February
Korean New Year
The Korean New Year is also celebrated in the month of February. Many south-east Asian cultures follow the lunar calendar and in Korea the day is also called Seollal. In Korea, New Year’s marks a three-day holiday where families give thanks to a bountiful year past. Many dress up in colourful attire called hanbok, whilst others perform an ancient tea offering ritual called charye.
Balinese New Year
Balinese New Year marks the first day of the lunar-based Saka Calendar, which is followed by Balinese and Javanese cultures. It mostly falls in the month of March. Unlike other cultures that welcome the new year with fanfare, Nyepi is a day of self-reflection and rest. New Year’s Eve, however, is celebrated with large fire rituals throughout the city.
Iranian New Year
Also celebrating the commencement of Spring, Nowruz is celebrated by both Zoroastrian and Baha’i communities. The date itself coincides with the Northward Equinox, which falls in mid-March each year. The day is typically celebrated with trumpets to herald the new year, coloured eggs and pots of sprouting grains to signify growth, a hearty bowl of Ash-e Reshteh noodle soup, and most famously, with a good spring cleaning.
Sinhalese New Year
Also called Aluth Avurudda, the Sinhalese New Year coincides with Tamil New Year, and is celebrated by most people in Sri Lanka. Unlike other cultures, whose New Year’s Day welcomes harvest, Aluth Avurudda marks the end of the harvest season and hence is celebrated in the month of April. It also coincides with one of two instances when the sun is directly above Sri Lanka.
Indian New Year
As India is a country with diverse cultures and traditions, the New Year too is celebrated on different days by different communities. For example, in the North many people celebrate New Year in April with the start of the Vikram Samvath calendar. Marwaris and Gujaratis celebrate New Year a day after Diwali (also called Padwa), while the Tamil New Year, called Puthandu, falls in April. The southern Indian states of Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh celebrate Ugaadhi according to their lunar-based calendar.
Jewish New Year
Rosh Hashanah is a two-day holiday in October commemorating the end of the seven days of Creation from the Book of Genesis. The festival includes rituals that are both performed with fanfare and with quiet introspection. According to Jewish religion, in the days following the creation of the universe God was yet to determine the fate of mankind. Hence, through quiet observance Jewish people believe to allow God to decide their fate for the following year. Honey and apple are common additives in food around this time, with sweetness signifying positivity and all things good.
Islamic New Year
Islamic New Year or Raʼs as-Sanah al-Hijrīyah marks the first day of Muharram, the first month of the Muslim Calendar. It celebrates the emigration of Prophet Mohammed from Mecca to Medina, known as Hijra. What makes this New Year’s Day most unique is that according to the Muslim Calendar each day begins at sunset, with the New Year itself ushered by the first sighting of the moon.