9Many are celebrating the New Year but not all recognize January 1 as their traditional New Year’s date. Even though the dates vary in different cultures, all becomes similar in the way these days become the time to reunite with families and friends, worship, and hope for a better future. Here are the other kinds of New Year celebrated around the world.
The first three days of January are considered as the most important holidays for the Japanese and this holiday is called Shogatsu. During Shogatsu, people visit their families, and business and schools close for one to two weeks. However, it doesn’t stop shops from participating in a seasonal consumer tradition called “fukubukuro” where you can buy mystery fortune bags for an irresistible price.
Chinese New Year (China)
Also known as the Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year celebrates the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. Every Chinese New Year, usual cultural activities seen are the the dragon dances, lion dances, and firecrackers. Also, streets, houses, and buildings are decorated in red. The day varies from year to year between January to February.
Seollal falls on the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar. During Seollal, there is a 3-day consecutive public holiday period when people can travel back to their hometowns and spend time with their families. Families also spend the holiday by visiting royal palaces and folk villages.
Tết Nguyên Đán (Vietnam)
Tet Nguyen Dan, most of the time called Tet, literally translates to the first morning of the first day of the new period which is on the first day of the lunar calendar. The celebration, which lasts for three days, is the perfect time for families and friends to get together, buy new things, fill the streets with red, and eat.
Tsagaan Sar (Mongolia)
The Mongolian New Year celebration, Tsagaan Sar lasts fifteen days allowing families to get together and put a feast of sheep rump, cookies, airag (fermented mare’s milk), and dumplings.
Losar (Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal)
The Tibetan New Year called Losar is on the first day of the year based on the Tibetan calendar. Losar is focused in pacifying and removing the negativity from the old year and making sure everything is clean and good for the new one, from stories to food.
Chaul Chnam Thmey (Cambodia)
Chaul Chnam Thmey, the Khmer name for the Cambodian New Year, usually falls on the 13th or 14th of April, which is the end of the harvesting season. The holiday lasts for three days, each with its own name and activities like sharing gifts to family members and friends and a special bath for Buddha statues, monks, elders, and parents called “Pithi Srang Preah“.
Pi Mai Lao (Laos)
Pi Mai Lao, just like the Cambodian New Year, falls on the 14th of April. The day before the new year is the last day of the year and the day of renewal when Buddha images are washed, temples repainted, and homes cleaned from top to bottom.
Officially observed between the 13th and 15th of April, Songkran is famous for its friendly water fights and street parties that may last up to a week. Just like its neighbors, Thailand celebrates its new year with family reunions, temple visits, and house cleaning.
Thingyan is similar to the other festivities of Theravada Buddhist countries in Southeast Asia such as Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. During the festival, you won’t miss seeing people standing on bamboo stages erected along the streets to splash water on passersby, and water pipes dousing vehicles.
Pohela Boishakh (Bangladesh, West Bengal of India)
Pohela Boishakh is the Bengali New Year celebrated on the 14th of April. Being clean is essential during the festival so houses are thoroughly cleaned and prepared for the expected visitors like relatives, friends, and neighbors. Festival fairs selling food and handicrafts are also regularly present during this new year.
Aluth Avurudda (Sri Lanka)
Aluth Avurudda is the Sinhalese New Year, celebrated in the month of “Bak” or April if based on the Gregorian calendar. It gives importance to cleanliness which makes it customary to have a newly decorated house and a herbal bath for physical purification. People should avoid any kind of work and better spend time with their families instead.
Hijri New Year (Muslim countries)
The Islamic New Year, al-Hijra, is the day that marks the beginning of the new Islamic calendar year. It falls on a different day as the Islamic calendar is 11 or 12 days shorter than the internationally-recognized Gregorian calendar. Usual activities done during the New Year include fasting and visiting mosques and shrines with relatives.
Nepal Sambat New Year (Nepal)
Nepal Sambat is the national lunar calendar of Nepal and every New Year, it is usual to perform Mha Puja, a ritual to purify and empower the soul for the coming New Year. Outdoor celebrations include cultural processions, pageants, and rallies.