Sept. 25, 2014 by Darius
Happy New Year to all my Jewish readers! In honor of Rosh Hashanah, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some other New Year’s celebrations around the world.
In China, the Lunar New Year (late January or early February) is celebrated with parades, lanterns, costumes, and firecrackers. It was one of my favorite events in the year when I was younger. 🙂 Tet, the Vietnamese New Year (made famous by the so-called Tet Offensive in 1968), is celebrated the same time as the Chinese Lunar New Year.
In Iran and a number of other countries near Iran, the New Year, known as Nowruz, is the first day of spring (about March 21). Nowruz is celebrated at the equinox. Depending on the country, Nowruz is celebrated over twelve days and involves visits with family and friends, new clothes, and special foods.
In Thailand, New Year’s is celebrated as the holiday of Songkran from April 13-15. Songkran is mainly celebrated by throwing water on other people in order to cleanse each other for the new year. Unfortunately for the Thai, statistics show that vehicle accidents double during Songkran festivities.
In Morocco, Algeria, and other North African countries, Berber communities celebrate their New Year about January 13. In addition to communal food sharing, Berber New Year’s celebrations have become a bit of a political statement, a way of reasserting pre-Arab Berber cultural traditions in a part of the world that has been dominated by Arabs for centuries.
In India, there are more than half a dozen New Year celebrations, observed largely based on region and religion. Some fall in the spring, while others fall in the autumn, including a few around the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali. So if you miss out on New Year’s in your country, head to India to catch it again!
Best wishes for the year ahead, wherever you are. 🙂