How the World Celebrates the New Year
New Year's Eve is a day for families and friends to come together and celebrate the possibilities of the year ahead.
This sentiment stays true across most cultures, but the how and when the New Year is celebrated varies greatly from country to country.
Let's look at a few of these New Year traditions in the following selection of countries.
Celebrating the New Year in China
In 2024, the Chinese New Year will be celebrated on Saturday, February 10th.
February 10th is the first day of the Chinese Lunar Calendar in 2024, but this date changes from year to year. You can look it up by using the All Holidays search page.
The week-long Spring Festival celebration is China's longest and most important holiday.
In preparation for the event, people will give their house a "spring" cleaning and decorate the house with red items such as lanterns, toys, and various other types of decorations.
It's a common practice to visit your friends on New Year's Day to wish them a prosperous new year.
Later on, family and friends will get together for a special meal and exchange presents and stay up late to usher in the New Year together.
Large outdoor parades and spectacular fireworks displays are also characteristic of China's New Year's festivities.
How the New Year is Celebrated in Germany
New Year in Germany is happens on the same day as other western countries.
On December 31st, Germans celebrate the New Year with parties and fireworks displays all around the country.
Many people's evenings start with a family supper, and later on, some will head to church.
At midnight, people will start toasting their friends with champagne. Typically wishing each other a "Guten Rutsch" - a "good slide" into the New Year.
Fireworks and outdoor celebrations are also popular on New Year's Eve all across Germany.
The New Year in Japan is Called Oshogatsu
The celebrations begin on December 31st and continue to January 1st, which is called Oshogatsu. On the first day, families gather together for a large supper called osechi-ryori and after the meal, they exchange gifts.
At midnight, people will watch a special television program and eat soba noodles.
There are parties everywhere and fireworks are especially popular in Japan during this time of celebration.
Twelve Grapes and the New Year in Mexico
In Mexico, the New Year is known as Año Nuevo.
The celebrations usually begin with a large feast, where people will exchange gifts and best wishes for the New Year.
At midnight, people will watch a special television program and eat 12 grapes, one for each month of the upcoming year.
Fireworks are also tremendously popular on New Year's Eve all across Mexico.
It seems like a lot of countries really love their fireworks.
The New Year in Thailand and the Tradition of Water Fights
In Thailand, the New Year (Songkran) is celebrated on April 13th. The celebrations usually begin with a large meal followed by a gift exchange and personal blessings.
At midnight, people will usually gather in public spaces to watch traditional ceremonies and dance. Water fights are also popular on New Year's Eve in Thailand.
How the New Year is Celebrated in the USA
Young people will generally attend New Year's Eve parties at bars or clubs, with the majority of them charging a cover price to get in.
Older people will generally stay home and watch a special TV program broadcast from New York. In this program, a large metallic ball will drop, signifying the start of a new year.
Celebratory fireworks are, of course, very popular in many cities across America.
The Tradition of Orthodox New Year in Various Countries around the World
This traditional religious holiday crosses more than one country but is very widely celebrated, so I thought I would include it.
The Orthodox New Year is celebrated on January 14th. A date that is calculated by using the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian one.
This Christian holiday is celebrated in a Greece, Armenia, and many other countries. It begins with a large family meal.
The celebrations typically involve a large feast with family and friends. At midnight, people will gather in public spaces to watch special ceremonies and count down to the New Year.
Fireworks are, of course, also popular on the Orthodox New Year.
The Long History of the Jewish New Year
Here's another New Year's holiday that spans across many countries.
The day of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) is charted using a lunisolar calendar and as it has been for thousands of years. In practical terms, this means that the holiday generally happens in September or October.
For example, in the US in 2023, the holiday begins on September 16th. In 2024 in the US, it starts on October 3rd.
Rosh Hashanah is marked by getting together with loved ones and thinking back on the preceding 12 months. On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, loved ones gather for a special supper that traditionally includes apples and honey to represent a lovely new year. Honey, honey cakes, and challah are commonly shared.
It is customary for people to wish each other a "shana tova" (a good year) after the dinner.
And for the first time, fireworks do not seem to have a pivotal role in a celebration.
The New Year Ahead
So there we have it folks, lots of food with family and friends while fireworks burst overhead is the way most humans like to bring in the New Year, no matter what country they're from.
I hope that today is a good day for you and that you have a fantastic year ahead, even if today's not New Year's Eve.