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New Year Traditions Around the World 12.31.2019 | Cultural Awareness International

Did you know that the New Year isn’t always at the same time depending on where you live? 

And we don’t mean just because of time zones – the common date is January 1st, if you follow the Gregorian calendar, that is. But the world doesn’t necessarily adhere to the same calendar, and New Year traditions are often rooted in culture that go far deeper than perspectives of time.

New Year Traditions Around the World

  • In the Jewish celebration of Rosh Hashanah, which takes place in the fall and represents the 1st of the High Holy Days, creation, new beginnings, and the New Year for Jewish culture.
  • China follows the Lunar Calendar, and celebrates the “Spring Festival” as the New Year beginning in January or February. A solid home cleaning, new clothes, lucky dishes, and so much more truly help set China apart in its traditional celebration. And it’s always a good idea to find out when it’s your year.
  • The New Year holiday in Thailand is Songkran. The month is brought in with more color and water than you could believe. Though the core celebration of water washing away sins and allowing for a fresh start are largely the same, you’ll find the New Year celebrated differently depending on what region you go to.
  • Fireworks, music, laughter and loudness traditionally permeate the idea of the New Year worldwide, but that isn’t always the case. In Bali, they celebrate Nyepi, also known as a “Day of Silence”, for people to reflect and meditate in the quiet and indoors – and it’s strictly observed. The day following Nyepi is traditionally celebrated as New Year’s Day.
  • Though perhaps not much needs to be said, the USA celebrates the New Year with a bang and New York City is the iconic place for it to happen, with people gathering in mass to watch the legendary ball drop.
  • In Russia (and among other areas that hold the Orthodox New Year) they hold the Julian calendar which marks January 14th (according to the Gregorian calendar) as the New Year. This is deeply rooted in tradition and religion, and is held more closely to home – celebrated with family and building on sentiment and history.

Have we missed any? Fill us in on interesting New Year Traditions that you know about.

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Written by Cultural Awareness International

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Cultural Awareness International is a pioneer in the Cross Cultural and Destination Services Industry, delivering customized global intercultural solutions and destination services in more than 400 locations worldwide.

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