New Year Celebrations All Year Round
When different cultures around the world celebrate the start of a new year
In our January edition I discussed about the background of the New Year’s Day celebrated on January 1 which is according to the Gregorian calendar. While most of the world runs on the Gregorian calendar, there are many cultures around the world who use lunar, solar and historical calendars to tell time.
With so many countries celebrating New Year’s Day in different months, you can keep the festivities going all through the year.
Below are some major New Year’s cultural celebrations that occur throughout the year.
- Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year: Predominantly celebrated in Asian cultures, the Lunar New Year begins on the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends 15 days later, on the first full moon of the lunar calendar. The dates vary each year, but always fall between 21 January and 20 February on the Gregorian calendar.
- Nowruz or Iranian New Year: Nowruz literally translates to ‘new day’ and marks the vernal equinox – the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Also known as the Persian New Year, Nowruz is the first day in the Iranian solar calendar. It’s one of the most ancient festivals in the world, celebrated for around 4,000 years by millions of people across Iran, Afghanistan and other parts of western and central Asia.
- Hindu / Buddhist New Year: Many countries in south and southeast Asia observe their New Year based on the sun’s entry to the constellation Aries, which usually happens around 14 April. Influenced by the Hindu calendar, these cultures follow the sidereal year, based on the movement of the sun in relation to the stars.
So, in Thailand it is celebrated as Sonkran, Thingyan in Burma, Pi Mai in Laos and Khmer New Year in Cambodia. Nepal celebrates Nepal Sambat and Sri Lanka the Aluth Avurudda (the Sinhalese New Year) and Puthandu (the Tamil New Year).
In India, there is a huge array of New Year’s celebrations falling around 14 April.The Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi, the people of Kerala celebrate Vishu, while the Bengalis celebrate Pahela Baishakh, also known as Bengali New Year.
- Rosh Hashanah or Jewish New Year: Jewish people around the world celebrate the new year in September or October during Rosh Hashanah, which means “Head of the Year.”
- Marwari & Gujarati New Year (Diwali): The Marwari and Gujarati communities in North India celebrate the beginning of their year in October or November, based on the Hindu lunar calendar. Diwali, the Festival of Lights, coincides with this new year, and major celebrations are held in India and around the world.
Here is a short video on How different religions and cultures celebrate the New Year.
Aditi Engel is an ardent student of Vedanta. She lives in Germany and has a keen desire to create awareness in the youth about different aspects of life.