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do people in
celebrate New Year?
celebrate New Year
at the same time,
nor in the same way.
because people in different parts of the world use different calendars.
Long ago, people divided time into days, months, and years. Some
calendars are based on the movement of the moon, others are based on the
position of the sun, while others are based on both the sun and the
moon. All over the world, there are special
about New Year.
ancient Egypt, New Year was celebrated at the time the River Nile
flooded, which was near the end of September. The flooding of the Nile
was very important because without it, the people would not have been
to grow crops in the dry desert.
New Year, statues of the god, Amon and his wife and son
were taken up
the Nile by boat. Singing, dancing, and feasting was done for a month,
and then the statues were taken back to the temple.
in what is now the country of Iraq. Their New Year was in the Spring.
During the festival, the king was
of his clothes and sent away, and for a few days everyone could do just
what they liked. Then the king returned in a grand procession, dressed
Then, everyone had to return to work and
each New Year, the people
made a new start to
a long time the Romans celebrated New Year on the first of March. Then,
in 46 BC, the Emperor Julius Caesar began a new calendar. It was the
calendar that we still use today, and thus the New Year date was changed
to the first day of January. January
is named after the Roman god Janus, who was always shown as having two
heads. He looked back to the last year and forward to the new one.
Roman New Year festival was called the Calends, and people decorated
their homes and gave each other gifts.
Slaves and their
masters ate and
drank together, and people could do what they wanted to for a few days.
Celts were the people who lived in Gaul, now called France, and parts of
Britain before the Romans arrived there. Their New Year festival was
called Samhain. It took place at the end of October, and Samhain means
Samhain, the Celts
to keep ghosts away, because they
believed this was the time when the ghosts of the dead returned
Jewish New Year is called Rosh Hashanah. It is a holy time when people
think of the things they have done wrong in the past, and they promise
to do better in the future.
services are held in synagogues, and an instrument called a Shofar,
which is made from a
ram's horn is played. Children are given new
clothes, and New Year
loaves are baked and fruit is eaten to remind
people of harvest time.
Muslim calendar is based on the movements of the moon, so the date of
New Year is eleven days earlier each year. Iran
is a Muslim country which used to be called Persia. The people celebrate
New Year on March 21, and a few weeks before this date, people put
wheat or barley in a little dish to grow. By the time of New
Year, the grains have produced
shoots, and this reminds the people of
spring and a new year of life.
Hindus live in India, but they don't all celebrate New Year in the same
way or at the same time.
people of West Bengal, in
Northern India, like to wear flowers at New
Year, and they use flowers in the colors of pink, red, purple, or white.
Women like to wear yellow, which is the color of Spring.
Southern India, mothers put food, flowers, and little gifts
on a special
tray. On New Year's morning, the children have to keep
their eyes closed until
they have been led to the tray.
Central India, orange flags
are flown from buildings on New Year's Day.
Western India, New Year is celebrated at the end of October,
and it is celebrated at the same time as the Indian festival of Diwali.
At the time of Diwali, small
oil lights are lit
all along the roofs of
New Year, Hindus think particularly of the
goddess of wealth, Lakshmi.
Vietnam, the New Year is called Tet Nguyen Dan or Tet
for short. It
begins between January 21 and February 19, and the exact day changes
from year to year. They believe that there is a god in every home, and
at the New Year this god
travels to heaven. There he will say how good
or bad each member of the family has been in the past year.
used to believe that the god traveled on the back of a fish called
carp, and today, they sometimes buy a live carp, and then let it go free
in a river or pond. They also believe that the first person to enter
their house at New Year will bring either good or bad luck.
Japan, New Year is celebrated on January 1, but the Japanese also keep
some beliefs from their religion, which is called Shinto.
To keep out
evil spirits, they hang a
rope of straw across the front of their
houses, and this stands for happiness and good luck.
moment the New Year begins, the Japanese people begin to laugh, and this
is supposed to bring them good luck in the new year.
Chinese New Year is celebrated some time between January 17 and February
19, at the time of the new moon, and it is called Yuan Tan. It is
celebrated by Chinese people all over the world, and street processions
are an exciting part of their New Year. The Festival of
Lanterns is the
street processions, and thousands of lanterns are used to light the way
for the New Year.
Chinese people believe that there are evil spirits around at New Year,
let off firecrackers to frighten the spirits away. Sometimes
seal their windows and doors with paper to keep the evil spirits
Year in the West
Year's Day processions with decorated floats and bands are a part of New
Year, and football is also played all over the United States on New
Europe, New Year was often a time for superstition and
and in some parts of Switzerland and Austria, people
dress up to
celebrate Saint Sylvester's Eve.
AD 314, there was a Pope called Saint Sylvester, and people believed
that he captured a terrible sea monster. It was thought that in the year
1000, this sea monster would escape and destroy the world, but since it
didn't happen, the people were delighted. Since then, in parts of
Austria and Switzerland, this story is remembered at New Year, and
people dress up in fantastic costumes, and are called Sylvesterklauses.
Greece, New Year's Day is also the Festival of Saint Basil. Saint Basil
was famous for his kindness, and Greek children leave their shoes by the
fire on New Year's Day with the hope that he will come and fill the
shoes with gifts.
Scotland, New Year is called Hogmanay, and in some villages
tar are set alight
through the streets.
Thus, the old year is burned up and the new one allowed to enter.
people believe that the first person to enter your house in the New Year
will bring good or bad luck, and it is very good luck if the visitor is
a dark-haired man bringing a gift. This custom is called
song, Auld Lang Syne is sung at midnight on New Year's Eve, and this
custom is now celebrated all over the world.
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