People have been ringing in the New Year in their own way since basically the beginning of organized calendars. We all share the collective consciousness that the New Year is significant, but the ways and times in which we celebrate are all unique and as different as our present-day cultures. We’re going to start with the traditions of celebrating the Chinese New Year. The next Chinese New Year Celebration will take place on January 25, 2020!
History of New Year Celebrations
In ancient times, the Greek’s began celebrating the New Year with the New Moon after June 21st. Before Julias Caesar, the Roman New Year used to begin on March 1st. The New Year for most ancient European civilizations was celebrated on the 25th of March, during the Feast of the Annunciation.
As we roll into the New Year, we all start thinking about our resolutions, how we want to spend the New Year and we begin celebrating in our own way. We find that around the world, people have their unique way of ringing in the new year. A lot of us see it as a chance to start again, a way to set new goals and intentions. But is that how everyone around the world will be ringing in 2020? Let’s find out. *** Note: We’ll be discussing unique New Year celebrations around the world, and while a lot are focused around the 1st of January, we’ll also be discussing New Year celebrations that happen during other times of the year. As mentioned above, not everyone celebrates the new year at the same time. So let’s find out when they celebrate and how.
Chinese New Year Celebrations
China celebrates the Lunar New Year in one of the most spectacular celebrations in the world. We all have known to love and celebrate the Chinese New Year, no matter where we live. However, nothing can compare to festivities in China. There, people gather in new clothes to carry their lanterns in a parade that follows the Silk Dragon, a symbol of strength in Chinese culture. The Chinese New Year will be celebrated on the 25th of January this year, and we’re welcoming in the Year Of the Rat!
The Jewish New Year: Rosh Hashanah + Yom Kippur
Celebrated by the Jewish communities around the world, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the holiest of days for the Jewish people. They believe that during this time, God opens the book of life for a period of ten days. They take this time to atone for their sins and wrongdoings to other people throughout the year. This period of time is celebrated with the cleansing of sins, the lighting of candles and traditional meals shared with family. It is celebrated in September/October every year.
The Thai New Year Celebrations : Songkran
I was lucky enough to travel to Thailand for the Thai New Year a few years ago. Songkran is a water festival in Thailand that rings in the New Year. You celebrate the streets with water gun fights, more food and music then your good ever imagine and parades of Buddha in the street. This water festival lasts for 3 days, generally taking place from the 13-15th of April. Other traditions include releasing fish back into the rivers and tying strings of good luck around each other’s wrists.
New York City, USA
For us, the celebrations for the New Year in New York are famous. Millions of Americans gather with their friends and family, in homes across the country to watch the ball drop in Times Square. And thousands of people travel from around the world to join the celebrations in New York. The official New Year celebrations always take place on the 31st of December, rolling right into the 1st of the New Year.
London, United Kingdom
The new year celebrations of the residents of the UK are very similar to those in the USA. While our largest and most well-known celebrations take place with the Ball Drop in New York, London has thrown its share of wild parties as well. Brits join from around the country to celebrate either in London’s famous Trafalgar Square or if they can’t make it, watching the festivities take place from home with friends and family.
Spain: New Year Celebrations
A fun and unique New Year’s tradition takes place in Spain. At the stroke of Midnight on the 1st of January, it’s customary to eat 12 grapes. Each of the grapes you eat represents luck going into the New Year. In the main squares of every city in Spain, people gather to share grapes and bottles of Cava while they ring in the New Year.
Colombia: New Year Celebrations
In Colombia, every year, to celebrate the New Year people empty out their suitcases and carry them around the block. This is done in hopes of a travel-filled New Year. As a group of avid travelers ourselves, I can see our entire team picking up this tradition as well.
Denmark: New Year Celebrations
In Denmark, the New Year gets messy! People smash plates and glasses against the doors of their friends’ and families’ homes. This banishes bad spirits in the home, but it’s a mess to clean up the next day! They’ll also take a leap off chairs to celebrate leaping into the New Year with the hopes of good luck.
Finland: New Year Celebrations
While people are busy making a mess smashing their old dishware in neighboring Denmark, people celebrate the New Year in Finland by throwing a piece of molten tin into a glass of water. The shape that the tin takes represents how your new year will be. (Finland banned the melting of tin in 2018. I’m sure they’ll find a more eco-friendly way to tell their fortunes for the New Year, we’ll have to keep an eye out for what’s next.) As you can see, people around the world come together to bring their New Year traditions to life. I know that I’ll be borrowing a few of other people’s traditions for my New Year celebrations next year. And make sure that today, you celebrate some of the incredible traditions of the Chinese New Year! Here at Unbound, we love learning about other cultures and how other people celebrate. To get our own New Year festivities started, we’ve decided to share with you a few of our favorite destinations to visit in 2020. Book your dream travels for the New Year with the new Unbound App. Let us know which of those 2020 destinations will be making the top of your list for the new year!
Jess is the CEO and Co-founder of Unbound. She is an entrepreneur, product builder, and world traveler.