"What are your plans for this New Year Eve?" "Have you booked for a party or are you going somewhere out?" As 31st December approaches, such questions start pouring left, right and center. Out of competition, or sheer pressure we end up either making travel plans or reserve tickets for a party that has music, fun, entertainment and dance to welcome New Year; whether we like it or not.
But do the people all over the globe celebrate New Year in a similar manner?
Let's tell our children about the different customs and traditions, with which people welcome New Year around the world.
1. Which people on Earth are the first and the last to celebrate New Year
Kiritimati, or Christmas Island, located in the Indian Ocean, is the first inhabited place to the west of the International Date Line where the clock strikes 12 and the New Year celebrations begin.
However, the first major city to celebrate New Year is Auckland, New Zealand.
There are a few places that are the westernmost as far as the International Date Line is concerned and hence 1st January begins in the last in these places. These places are Honolulu in Hawaii islands; Adak in Alaska; Papeete, on Tahiti Island; and Pago Pago in Samoa. New Year begins there almost 15 hours (i.e. When we have around 3 o'clock afternoon) after we welcome it in India.
Many countries follow Unusual Rituals some of which are given below.
In Romania, Animal whispering is a common practice when New Year arrives. Farmers pretend to hear what their animals are whispering. This ritual signifies good fortune for the coming year.
In Ecuador, people perform a Suitcase walk. The Ecuadorian tradition says that if you dream of a holiday, take an empty suitcase and walk around in the street. It is believed that your dream will soon become a reality.
Grape eating - In Spain, people welcome New Year, by eating twelve grapes, one for each chime of the clock during the countdown. Each grape is to bring good luck for each month of the year.
2. New Year begins on a different date in different cultures
At present the world follows the same calendar which is the Gregorian calendar (also known as the Roman Catholic Calendar). This is followed for the ease of international trade and travel. But originally different cultures followed their own calendar. Even now, there are many countries where New Year is celebrated on a different date other than 1st January.
The Chinese New Year falls between Jan 21 to Feb 21. They follow the lunar calendar and their New Year begins on the new moon of the first Lunar Month.
In Thailand, New Year is celebrated from April 13 to April 15. And it is called ‘Songkran'.
In Ethiopia, New Year is celebrated on September 11 after the monsoon season.
Even in India, different states, different cultures and even different communities begin their New Year on a different date. Find out when the New Year begins in your region.
3. The Resolutions
It's a good habit to make resolutions. Do not get discouraged by other people's inputs on how these resolutions fall flat just 10 days into the New Year. Making a promise to ourselves is a good idea and trust me, once made, it remains at the back of our minds and we unconsciously tend to work on it. Children tend to imitate adult behavior. So, many new good habits can be gradually inculcated in them as a part of the New Year Resolution program.
How different can you celebrate this New Year's Eve?
Forget the pressing questions asked by people and welcome this New Year in your own style.Personalize and enjoy the last night of the old year the way you want it. Announce it to everybody that you will not attend any loud music party if you do not enjoy it. Instead, get together with a small group - your friends or family, be at home, play a few games with children or watch a movie. If a get together is not possible, then just cook and gift a sweet dish to your maid and her family on this eve. Give her a day off and see how children learn compassion.
Getting up early on 1st of January, without any hangovers, sets a better tone for the coming 12 months.
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