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CULTURE COLLECTIVE: New Year Celebrations Around the World

The year 2020 is coming to an end, and before we know it, it will be 2021! When you think about New Year’s celebrations, what comes to mind? Do you think about fireworks? Party hats? The Times Square ball drop?


Well, not everybody celebrates the New Year the same way. Different cultures commemorate the day in different ways. Here are a few different ways New Year’s Day is celebrated in different parts of the world.


Australia

New Year’s Eve falls during the summer in Australia, so this is the time of year that people head out to fun events such as parades, fairs, and carnivals. Sydney is known to have a large fireworks display every year to mark the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one.


China

The Chinese New Year always falls somewhere between late January and late February. Celebrations include parades with lots of dancing, firecrackers, and giving money to family and friends. Each year of the Chinese calendar is represented by a specific animal, which is always determined by a rotation of these animals: snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, pig, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, and dragon. The next Chinese New Year date is February 12, 2021… This year is going to be the year of the ox!


Denmark

People in Denmark listen to the Queen’s annual New Year’s Eve speech on this day as they wait for the New Year. For good luck, people also shatter dishes that haven’t been used before. Sometimes Danes even climb up onto chairs and jump into the air right when the clock strikes midnight.


Ethiopia

Ethiopia has a very different calendar system from most of the world. The country has a 13-month calendar, which includes 12 months that contain 30 days, and then an extra month that contains 5-6 days (depending on whether or not it is a leap year). Ethiopia also doesn’t celebrate the New Year at the same time that most countries do. Instead, the New Year is celebrated on September 11, which is the day of the event called Enkutatash, which means “gift of jewels.” On this day, families and friends come together, and children often receive small gifts.


Philippines

Before the clocks strike midnight, it is customary for people in the Philippines to leave all their windows, doors, and cabinets open so good luck can enter. Lots of noise is made with horns, yelling, music, whistles, and firecrackers in order to keep bad luck and evil spirits away.


Puerto Rico

The New Year is a holiday filled with tradition in Puerto Rico. In this territory, people get rid of evil spirits on New Year’s Eve by tossing buckets of water out the window. They also eat 12 grapes at midnight, which is a superstitious practice also done in Spain. Since New Year’s Day marks a new beginning, it is common for people to clean everything from their houses to the streets.



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