The ancient Armenians had been celebrating the coming of the New Year on the 21st of March. That date is not only the first day of the spring, but also the birthday of the mythical God Vahangn, in whom believed the pagan Armenians about 10 thousand years ago. On this day the Armenians prepared huge feasts to welcome and celebrate the zenith of the nature.
In Australia they celebrate the New Year on January 1. This day is a public holiday and many people have picnics and camp out on the beach. They have parties that start on December 31 and at midnight they start to make noise with whistles and rattles, car horns and church bells. To ring in the New Year. In Australia New Year is a day for outdoor activities such as rodeos, picnic races and surf carnivals
In Austria 1691 Pope Innocent XII declared January 1 to be New Year’s Day. In Austria, New Year’s Eve is called Sylvesterabend which is the Eve of Saint Sylvester. They make a punch made of cinnamon, sugar, and red wine in honor of him. Taverns and inns are decorated with evergreen wreaths. Confetti, streamers, and champagne are also part of New Year’s Eve. Evil spirits of the old year are chased away by the firing of mortars called böller. Midnight mass is attended and trumpets are blown from church towers at midnight. People exchange kisses.
The people of Mesopotamia celebrate the New Year festival known as Akitu in the springtime. At this time they celebrate the arrival of the spring rains and the renewal of nature, as well as the renewal of the community. At the festival the story of the creation is read out to remind people of the order of the universe and how it had risen out of the struggle between Marduck the god of heaven and Tiamut goddess of the powers of chaos.
In Belgium New Year’s Eve is called Sint Sylvester Vooranvond or Saint Sylvester Eve. The réveillon or New Year’s Eve family parties are thrown. At midnight everyone kisses, exchanges good luck greetings, and drinks toasts to absent relatives and friends. The cities, cafés, and restaurants are crowded with people who bid farewell to the Old Year.
In Bengali they celebrate New Year on the 13th or 14th April, which is the first day of the month that they call Baisakh. They clean and decorate their houses in preparation for the New Year. They use flour to paint patterns on the ground out the front of their houses, in the middle of the design they place an earthenware pot, decorated with a red and white swastika which is a religious symbol, and filled with holy water and vermilion. Also inside the pot they place a mango tree branch which must consist of five twigs and a number of leaves. The pot symbolizes good fortune for the family.
In Britain the custom of first footing is practiced. The first male visitor to the house after midnight is usually supposed to bring good luck. Usually they bring a gift like money, bread, or coal, which is done to ensure the family, will have plenty of these things all the year to come. The first person must not be blond, red-haired or women as these people are supposedly bad luck. The Druids gave a gift of twigs from the mistletoe, as this was a plant that was sacred to them as a magic source of fertility. It would bestow on the recipient a fruitful year in the number of children, as well as the amount of cattle and the amount of crop.
The Chinese New Year “Yuan Tan” takes place between January 21 and February 20. The exact date is fixed by the lunar calendar, in which a new moon marks the beginning of each new month. For many families, it is a time for feasting, visiting relatives and friends, but in the city a spectacular procession takes place. The celebrations are based on bringing luck, health, happiness, and wealth till the next year. They clean their houses to rid them of lasts year’s bad luck before the celebrations begin.
In Europe the custom of first-footing is practiced. This is where the first person to enter the house after midnight must be male and is supposed to bring good luck to the household. The visitor is also supposed to bring a gift such as money, bread, or coal, this are suppose to ensure the family will have plenty of these in the coming year. Throughout the world the custom of making noise to ring in the New Year has not gone untouched as this was supposed to scare off any evil spirits. Today any noise is used such as clackers, toy trumpets, whistles, and bells are party favors given to guests to use when the New Year has rung in. In Macedonia bells ring in the New Year. In Europe the New Year was a time for superstition and fortune-telling
French New Year or Jour des Étrennes or Day of New Year’s Presents. In France dinner parties are thrown for the entire family. People exchange presents and greeting cards. People began sending fake gifts on April first which originally culminated in the New Year feast of course these gifts were only as a joke on those who previously had received their étrennes or New Year’s gifts, on that day.
In Germany people would drop molten lead into cold water and try to tell the future from the shape it made. A heart or ring shape meant a wedding, a ship a journey, and a pig plenty of food in the year ahead. People also would leave a bit of every food eaten on New Year’s Eve on their plate until after Midnight as a way of ensuring a well-stocked larder. Carp was included as it was thought to bring wealth
Anuary 1st is an important date in Greece because it is not only the first day of the New Year but it is also St. Basil’s Day. St Basil was one the forefathers of the Greek Orthodox Church. He is remembered for his kindness and generosity to the poor. He is thought to have died on this date so this is how they honor him. New Year is perhaps even more festive and important then Christmas as it is the main day for gift-giving and for stories of St Basil’s kindness to children and the stories of how he would come in the night and leave gifts for the children in their shoes.
Most people in India are followers of the Hindu faith although most of the modern calendar is used for normal everyday business there are various versions of the ancient Hindu calendar are still used to govern the religious festivals. The Hindu New Year is celebrated differently in the different parts of the country. The customs of the New Year vary from region to region. Celebration of the Hindu New Year varies based on geographic location. Most Hindus live in India, but many have different traditions. The Hindus of Gujarat, in western India, celebrate the New Year at the end of October, at the same time as the Indian festival of Diwali. For the Diwali celebration, small oil lights are lit all along the rooftops.
The Indian New Year festival is called Diwali and is a festival of lights. The festival is celebrated differently in the various districts of India. The Hindus of the north, Diwali is the end of the old year and the start of the new. For three days in late October early November every town and village shines and glows with thousands of lights. Their homes are decorated with little oil lamps known as diwa. These little lights are found in temples, houses, along window ledges and along garden paths. In cities electrical lights are used to light up buildings. These are used to drive out evil and is replace evil with goodness.
The Japanese New Year Oshogatsu is an important time for family celebrations, when all the shops, factories and offices are closed. The Japanese celebrate the New Year on January 1, but they also keep their beliefs from Shinto their religion. To keep out evil spirits, they hang a rope of straw across the front of their houses, which stands for happiness and good luck. When the New Year begins, the Japanese people begin to laugh, and this is supposed to bring them good luck in the New Year.
New Year in Pakistan is known as Nowrooz or New Day. This day begins in March and traditionally represents the rebirth of nature after the long winter. The New Year begins the instant the sun is no longer in the astrological sign of Pisces and enters Aries. It is celebrated as a time of renewal. One of the customs of Nawrooz is the practice of burning piles of wood. The bonfires are a symbol to destroy any remaining evil from the previous year.
In South Africa they ring in the New Year with church bells ringing and gunshots being fired. For those in the Cape Province New Year’s Day and Second New Year’s Day are full of a carnival atmosphere as there are carnivals where people dress in colorful costumes and dance in streets to the sound of drums.
The Tamil people rise early on New Year’s morning and gather around the household altar for a special religious ceremony. Ganesha a god worshipped at New Year is offered fruits, sweets and flowers. They have a feast of grains as New Year occurs at harvest time. In the afternoon they might go to the temple for prayers.
American New Years Customs such as Dance parties are thrown on New Year’s Eve to see in the year. Times Square in New York City has a ball drop hosted by the television celebrity Dick Clark. This is broadcast all over the United States. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve people will kiss or honk car horns. Paper blowers and whistles are blown. A soul food of black-eyed peas and rice called Hoppin’ John is eaten by some. Other foods that are eaten at New Year are cake and champagne. In the US they believe that black-eyed beans are lucky.